20+ Differences Between Squash and Racquetball

Among the sports that require the use of a racket, squash and racquetball are quite popular among people. Unlike badminton and tennis, which have bigger courts and are played mainly outdoors, both squash and racquetball are played on indoor courts.

Both squash and racquetball look very similar as the players hit the ball on walls. But these are quite different from each other when it comes to the details like the type of gear used and the rules.

differences between squash and racquetball

Comparison between Squash and Racquetball

ParametersSquashRacquetball
OriginsSquash was developed in England in 1830 as a variant of ‘hard rackets.’Racquetball was invented in the US in 1949 as paddle rackets.
Managing BodyWorld Squash Federation manages and regulates squash.International Racquetball Federation manages and regulates racquetball.
Popularity20 million people play squash.5.6 million people play racquetball.
RacketsSquash rackets have longer handles and narrower stringed areas.Rackets for racquetball are shorter with shorter handles but larger and wider stringed areas.
BallsSquash balls are 1.6 in(40.5mm) in diameter.Racquetballs are 2.25 in(57mm) in diameter.
GlovesGloves are not worn.Gloves are worn by most players.
Size of The CourtsSquash courts is 32 feet X 21 feet X 18.5 feet(9.75 meters X 6.4 meters X 5.64 meters) in size.Racquetball courts are 40 feet X 20 feet X 20 feet(12.19 meters X 6.10 meters X 6.10 meters) in size.
ServesOnly one serve is allowed.Two serves are allowed to the players.
Bouncing Allowed in ServiceBouncing is not allowed while serving.Bouncing the ball once is a must while serving.
Out of Bounds ZoneTwo defined zones at the top and the bottom of the front wallNo defined zones, which makes hitting the ceiling a legal move.
ScoringAnyone can score in a rally. Each match is for 11 points. The best of five matches wins.Only the one who served can score. Each match is for 15 points. The best of the three matches wins.

Differences Between Squash and Racquetball

What is Squash?

Squash was founded in 1830 as an evolution from another sport called ‘hard rackets.’ Rackets were commonly played in the prisons of England. Some students at Harrow School noticed that a punctured ball ‘squashed’ when it made contact with the floor or the wall.

This led them to alter their rackets and the playing environment, and squash came into being. Today, squash is played on indoor courts and is also considered to be the best sport for fitness, especially cardiovascular health.

What is Racquetball?

Joseph Sobek created racquetball in 1949. Sobek used to play tennis and handball professionally. In his search for a game that was fast-paced and easy to learn, he created a game himself that had rules similar to tennis, handball, and paddleball.

Sobek also invented the first racquet for the game, which looked like a paddle in shape but had a bigger stringed surface. Initially, the game was called ‘paddle rackets’ but later became known as racquetball as it grew more popular.

what is squash and racquetball

Contrast Between Squash and Racquetball

Origins

  • SquashSquash took birth from an already existing game called ‘hard rackets.’ In 1830, some students found how a punctured ball ‘squashed’ whenever it hit hard surfaces. This changed the method of playing, leading them to modify their rackets, and squash was formed.
  • RacquetballRacquetball was invented in 1949 as ‘paddle rackets’ by professional tennis and handball player Joseph Sobek. Sobek was in search of a game that not only had the speed but was also easy to learn. So, he made paddle rackets that had unique rackets and rules inspired by tennis, handball, and paddleball.

The Governing Body

  • SquashThe World Squash Federation(WSF) is in charge of managing squash.
  • RacquetballRacquetball is administered by the International Racquetball Federation(IRF).

The Popularity of the Sport

  • SquashSquash is played all over the world by 20 million people, more or less.
  • RacquetballRacquetball is played worldwide by about 5.6 million people.
about squash and racquetball sport

The Shape of the Rackets

  • Squash The rackets used in squash are longer compared to the ones used in racquetball. The length of the rackets is 27 inches(68.6 centimeters) maximum, and the handle is longer as well. Moreover, the stringed area used for hitting the squash ball is also smaller than that of racquetball rackets.
  • RacquetballThe rackets in racquetball have a design similar to the paddle used in paddleball. The maximum length is 22 inches(56 centimeters), with the rackets having shorter handles. The stringed area in these rackets is larger as well as wider than the squash rackets.

The Size of the Balls

  • Squash – The balls used in squash are smaller in size, with a diameter of about 1.6 inches(39.5 millimeters to 40.5 millimeters). The bounciness, i.e., the dynamic level, can vary, but at the professional level, squash balls are less bouncy.
  • Racquetball – Racquetballs are a little larger in size. They have a diameter of 2.25 inches(57 millimeters) maximum. The dynamic level in racketballs is more, meaning they are meant to bounce more than the squash balls used at the professional level.

Gloves

  • SquashPlayers in squash do not wear gloves.
  • RacquetballThe gloves are not mandatory to wear, but most racquetball players choose to wear them for an extra grip on the rackets.

The Size of the Courts

  • SquashThe indoor courts used for playing squash are of dimensions 32 feet X 21 feet X 18.5 feet(9.75 meters X 6.4 meters X 5.64 meters). The overall size, when compared to a racquetball court, is smaller.
  • RacquetballRacquetball can be played on squash courts and vice-versa. However, the racquetball courts are larger, having dimensions of 40 feet X 20 feet X 20 feet(12.19 meters X 6.10 meters X 6.10 meters).
gear and courts of squash and racquetball

The Number of Serves Allowed

  • SquashIn a rally of squash, a player is allowed one serve for one point. 
  • RacquetballIn a rally of racquetball, a player is allowed two serves for one point.

The Area Assigned for Service

  • SquashThe players stand in a service zone, with the left side for one player and the right side for the other player. Once the service is done, the players are free to move on both sides but within the service box.
  • RacquetballThere is a service box in racquetball as well, but players can serve from anywhere within the box. Even in a doubles game, the doubles partners stand in the doubles zone at the time of service only.

Serving Style

  • SquashThe player stands in his area and hits the ball towards the opposite corner so that the other player receives it on his side. The ball must be hit directly on the wall and within the allowed area on the front wall.
  • RacquetballThe player stands in the service box but must bounce the ball once and then hit the front wall. The other player then receives the ball once the ball crosses the short line, whether bounced or not. 

Out of Bounds Area

  • SquashIn squash, there are two marked zones that are out of bounds. One is the tin, a metal area of about 50 centimeters high at the bottom of the front wall, which works like a net. The other line is the outline, which separates the upper part and the ceiling, making them out of bounds.
  • RacquetballRacquetball does not have any area that is called out of bounds. The players can also bounce the balls on the ceiling, allowing more variety to the overall gameplay.

Scoring and Winning

  • SquashA squash player need not be serving to score the point in a rally. The player can score even when the opponent is the server. The game point to score is 11 for every play, and the winner is the one who wins the best of five.
  • RacquetballTo score a point in a racquetball game, you have to be the one serving the ball. This rule generally stretches the game. However, the winner is the one who wins the best of three matches, the third usually being a tie-breaker match. The game point to score per play is 15.
difference in gameplay of squash and racquetball

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Why is squash called the best sport for staying fit?

The reason squash is called the best fitness sport is that it provides a full body workout – including the upper body, the lower body, and the midsection.

One hour of squash game allows your body to burn 600-1000 calories and hence can be a great substitute for regular cardio.

Q2. Can seniors play racquetball?

Yes. Racquetball can be played by seniors, and it is actually helpful for their overall health.

Like squash, racquetball also provides good full-body cardio and also improves overall hand-eye coordination and agility. Moreover, it is also a stress buster.

Q3. Is squash more difficult than tennis?

The answer is a bit subjective, depending on how fast a player catches the other sport. Both players have to get accustomed to the environment. But tennis players often manage to start a rally in squash instead of the other way around.

Q4. What if the racquetball hits my partner when I serve?

When serving, if your ball hits your partner, and your partner is in the doubles area, then it is a fault. However, if the served ball hits your partner when he is outside the doubles box, it will be a loss.

Q5. Are Squash and Racquetball a part of the Olympics?

No. Neither of the sports is a part of the Olympics. A number of applications have been sent for squash to be included in the Olympics, but it stays as excluded for now.


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