Racquetball and squash have lots of similarities, and therefore many people tend to confuse the two. For example, they are both played using a ball and on an enclosed court. They also demand fitness and both games are fun and exciting to play. However, if you look closely, you will realize that the two have distinct differences that make them unique in their ways. From the game rules to the requirements, they have many variations, and in this article, we will look at the differences between squash and racquetball to help you make a sound decision if you are in a dilemma wondering which one you should join.
Even when it comes to administration and the governing bodies, the two are ruled different. For starters, racquetball is governed by the Racquetball Federation. This body is responsible for regulating the internationally sanctioned racquetball events and other smaller national organizations. Squash, on the other hand, is administered by Squash federation which oversees all the squash sports globally. It entails about 145 federations. However, due to the game similarities, some states have put them under one administration body.
The games’ history
The first difference comes in the history of these two games. Squash came to be back in the year 1830. Creative English students invented it at Harrow School, and it was an inspiration from rackets. The students found out that once you quashed a punctured ball against the wall, it bounced back in different ways. This made the game more challenging, and they discovered they could actually develop a game out of it.
Racquetball was invented in 1949, but the events that led to its invention are much similar to those in squash. The game was developed by Joe Sobek, who was a bit bored and wanted to try something different from the usual indoor sports. Due to his love for handball and tennis, he was able to come up with something that combined the two to come up with racquetball. This game took off and gained a lot of popularity in the 1970s and 80s.
The other significant difference to note in the two is in the balls used to play the games. The ball used in squash is made of rubber and is ideally 4cm in diameter. Racquetball, on the other hand, requires a bigger ball of about 6cm in diameter, which is also made of rubber, but in this case, it is more bouncy to fit the game’s requirements.
The play courts
Most individuals are not keen on this, and the high chances are that you have never noted they are different. They are both enclosed, but they have unique features that make them different. For example, the size and playing surfaces are different. The squash courts are much smaller with a surface area of 21x32x15 feet. Racquetball court, on the other hand, has a surface area of 20x40x20 feet, which is much bigger than the former. Also, when playing racquetball, every part of the court is counted as in-bound, including the ceiling, while in squash, players are not allowed to hit the ceiling. Racquetball entails fewer restrictions compared to squash on where the all should reach. With racquetball, there are two red lines on each side on the court. They mark how far the ball should go. The ball is allowed to bounce off and touch anywhere on the walls.
The serving rules in racquetball are way different from those in squash. For starters, in racquetball, the players can serve by standing anywhere behind the line. It involves bouncing the ball and hitting it ahead, but the ball is expected to bounce behind the box before hitting the back wall. The players get two serving chances for one point, which is more like in tennis. In squash, however, the players should have at least one foot in the service box and should hit the ball to the opposite corner on the front wall. They should not bounce the ball before hitting it, and one point is equal to one serve.
Racquet vs racket
This one is more obvious, especially from the names. The difference is that racquetball is played using a racquet, which is about 22 inches long. It also has a teardrop-shaped head. Squash, on the other hand, is played with a racket and this one has a head which is a bit narrow, but it is much longer. It is 27 inches. Just like tennis, squash does not have any protective equipment for players. In racquetball, however, players must put on protective sport gloves and eye-guards. This rule mainly applies to tournaments and recognized matches. You do not have to necessarily put on the protective gear if you are only playing casually with friends or just for fun.
The scoring is counted differently in these games. In squash, the points go up to nine points in the regular games and eleven in tournaments. To win the game, these two points must be indicated and also, just like in tennis, the points can be rewarded regardless of the server or receiver. In racquetball, on the other hand, the points go up to fifteen. However, the points are only rewarded to the server. The two points must be clear, though for the game to be won.
Squash is way more popular than racquetball with a popularity of 20 million globally, while racquetball has a popularity of 5.6 million globally. However, both games are rising in popularity as people find it more impressive over the years.
The difficulty levels
Although the differences here are less objective, they are worth noting too. It is believed that racquetball demands more physical fitness and involves lots of working out. Squash is more popular, and due to the high number of players, squash can be termed as more competitive as it entails more professional players. If you wish to reach a professionally competitive level, you have to work harder to keep up with them. Racquetball is generally harder and physically demanding even at the immediate and amateur level than squash which only becomes hard at the professional level.
What about the tin?
This difference takes us back to the court whereby, the squash court has a tin while the racquetball has none. This is a metallic strip located at the base of the front racket. If the ball bounces and hits the tin, the shot is counted out. By this, players should always shoot the squash shot to be above this mark. This is unlike in racquetball, where the players are only expected to shoot the ball just slightly above the floor.
These are the significant points that term the difference between squash and racquetball. With this information, you can easily decide which game to join. As much as the two games are similar in some ways, there are lots of features that differentiate them with some differences more significant than others. You can join both games and work on your skills. The two games require concentration, and you must be active to shoot the ball as needed to earn those points. If you are looking for a hobby or you wish to become a professional play, you now know where to get started. All the best! Have a good look on our guide to top listed squash racquets, just a good to go.