Squash Vs Racquetball – What is the Difference?

Squash and racquetball are two racket sports that are very similar. They are both played with stringed rackets, a rubber ball, and inside an enclosed court. On the surface, they seem to be no different from each other. But if you’ll examine them carefully, you’ll learn the differences between the two.

Squash vs racquetball – what is the difference? Racquetball involves wider rackets, bigger and bouncier balls, and more powerful shots. Squash involves narrower rackets, smaller balls that don’t bounce as high, and more finesse shots. In racquetball, you can hit the ball on all parts of the wall and the ceiling. In squash, you can only hit the ball in one of the two service boxes, and not touch the ceiling.

Squash is the more popular sport between the two, played by an estimated 20 million people worldwide. Racquetball is played by an estimated 5.6 million people worldwide.

Read on to learn more about squash vs racquetball including the small differences between the two sports.

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Squash Vs Racquetball

While squash and racquetball share some of their game features, they tend to have more differences that set them apart. Here is a table that shows the fundamental differences between these two sports.

FEATURES:SQUASH:RACQUETBALL:
Size of Court:21x32x15 feet 20x40x20 feet
Total Length of the Racket:27 inches (long handle than racquetball rackets, but narrower string-surface)22 inches (shorter handle than squash rackets, but wider string-surface)
Size and Properties of the Ball:4 cm; Made of rubber 6 cm; Made of rubber but with more bounce
How to Serve:One service per point. The server has to hit the ball in one of the two service boxes. Two services per point. The player can hit the ball in any part of the wall.
How to Play:Players need to hit the ball before it bounces off the floor. Players need to hit the ball after it bounces off the floor.
How to Score:9 points in regular games and eleven points in championship games. You can win points whether you are serving or not. Requires two clear points to win the game.15 points in all games. Points can only be won if you are serving. Requires two clear points to win the game.
Level of Popularity:Played by 20 million people across the globe. Played by 5.6 million people all over the world.
Style of Play:Graceful and more control Less finesse
Administration:The Squash Federation International Racquetball Federation

The below video by YouTube channel Improve Squash discusses racquetball vs squash and covers many of the key differences between the two sports:

Main Differences Between Squash and Racquetball Explained

1. Differences in Court Size

Squash and racquetball are both played in an enclosed court with four walls. The differences come in the sizes of each court. 

  • Squash – The size of a squash court is 21x32x15 feet. Players are allowed to hit the walls and the floor but not the ceiling.
  • Racquetball – The size of a racquetball court is larger at 20x40x20 feet. Players are allowed to hit every surface of the court, including its ceiling. Therefore, the playing surface of racquetball is higher than that of squash.

2. Size of Racket and Features

The racket used in squash is longer than the one used in racquetball. It is 27 inches or five inches bigger than the 22-inch ball used in racquetball.

But these rackets have the same general shape similar to badminton rackets. Both racket heads have tear-drop shapes. The wider surface area of racquetball rackets allows players to conveniently hit the ball, which is larger than the ball used in squash.

3. Ball Size and Features

Squash sport balls are only 4 cm in diameter, while racquetballs measure 6 cm. That means racquetballs are bigger by 2 cm compared to squash balls. While both balls are made of rubber, racquetballs are bouncier than squash balls. Both balls are also hollow inside.

4. How to Serve the Ball

Squash players can only earn a point with just one service. Racquetball players, on the other hand, are allowed to give two services to get one point. So, the latter has a similar service rule as tennis.

A player is only allowed to serve the ball in squash by hitting one of the two service boxes. In racquetball, a player can serve the ball by hitting it on any part of the wall.

5. How to Play the Ball

In squash, you need to hit the ball after your opponent serves it and before it bounces off the floor. On the other hand, you can only hit the ball in racquetball after your opponent serves it and after it hits the floor.

6. How to Score a Point

There are a total of 9 winning points in a regular game of squash. For squash championship games, you’ll need 11 points to win. You can get points whether you are serving the ball or not. A player can only win the game with two clear points.

The total winning points required in racquetball is 15. A player scores a point if he is serving the ball. A player with two clear points against his opponent at the end of the game wins.

7. Playing Style

Squash is a more graceful sport, wherein the player needs to be in total control of himself. Generally, squash players are also better when it comes to physical shape. There’s also a lot of moving and running around in this game. Racquetball has less finesse compared to squash.

8. Difference in Administration

Another difference between squash and racquetball is the body that governs the rules of the sport. In squash, it is the Squash Federation that sets the rules of the game. This body is composed of 145 member federations.

The International Racquetball Federation is the international body that sets the rules of racquetball. However, due to their similarities, both squash and racquetball are governed by a single body in some countries.

9. Level of Popularity

If the numbers are considered, squash seems to be more popular than racquetball. There are approximately 20 million people who are playing squash around the world, but only around 5.6 million people are playing racquetball. However, both games tend to increase their popularity across the globe.

Squash – Important Things You Need to Know

Squash is a sport played by two individuals inside a closed four-walled court. They each use a racket and take their chances to serve and hit a small and hollow rubber ball. A player’s goal is to hit the ball so that his opponent will not be able to hit it and play it in return.

It is a game where you need talent, strategy, and agility, including physical and mental strength. If you play this game, your overall health will improve as Forbes Magazine has voted it as one of the world‘s healthiest sport.

differences between squash and racquetball
Squash sport vs racquetball

How to Play Squash

Squash is played either in singles or doubles. Once a player serves the ball, the other player must hit it in return. Both players also take turns in hitting the ball. They are allowed to hit it below the out line, above the tin, and against the front wall.

The ball is only allowed to bounce off the floor once. It may hit the back or side walls anytime during a game, as long as it hits below the out line. Players are also allowed to move anywhere within the court.

There are five games allowed in a squash match. The first player who wins three games wins the match. A player needs to make 11 points to win a game. If the score is tied at 10, the game has to continue until a player gets two clear points against his opponent.

Both players can score points by PAR or point-a-rally—the server who wins a rally scores a point and retains the serve. But if the receiver wins the rally, he scores a point and gets to serve.

racquetball vs squash
Squash Explained

There Should Be No Interference

Each player should be free from any interference from his opponent. A player must be given clear and unobstructed access to the incoming ball. His opponent must give him enough space so that he can completely swing at the ball and hit any front part of the wall.

If a player feels that the opponent is interfering with his shot, he can continue playing or stop the play and call out “let.” A player can do this if there is a possible collision with his opponent. The game is then replayed as a “let.” But, if the interference is when the ball cannot be played, a “stroke” will be awarded, and the player wins the point.

Squash Winning Strategy

The players’ objective is to dominate the T. It is the center section of the court where the red lines intersect each other. A player always tries to get to the T after hitting the ball. From this section, a player can access any part of the court quickly to retrieve the ball hit by his opponent.

Racquetball – Important Things You Need to Know

In racquetball, all areas inside the court are legal playing surfaces. These areas include the four walls, ceiling, and floor. It is a relatively young sport, which was developed only in the 1900s.

Racquetball is a synergy of four different sports, namely jai alai, squash, tennis, and handball. Racquetball can also be played in singles and doubles. Some racquetball games involve three players and are called “cut-throat.” 

what is the difference between squash and racquetball
Squash sport vs racquetball

How to Play Racquetball

A play starts with a serve. The player serving the ball must bounce the ball on the floor first before hitting the front wall. He should also make the ball hit the floor after the short line. If not, it will be deemed a faulty serve.

The ball should only hit the wall once before it hits the floor. If it hits both sidewalls, that is also a fault. If he serves the ball onto the front wall, and it rebounds to the wall at the back without first hitting the floor, it is also a fault.

Once the ball bounces and passes the receiving line or behind the short line, it is in play. The players can now take turns in hitting the ball and start their rallies. The objective of a racquetball player is to win these rallies. He needs to serve and return the ball so that his opponent will not be able to keep the ball in play.

A Server Is Allowed Two Serve Balls

In racquetball, the server is allowed to serve two balls. If the first one is a fault, he serves the next ball. If that is still a fault, his opponent gets to serve. Once the ball is in play, it can hit the walls or the ceiling, as long as it reaches the front wall and not strike the floor.

There Should Be No Hindrances

Like squash, racquetball players are required to give their opponents full access to the ball that is being played. When a hinder is called, the rally will be over.

A rally can also be over when a player is unable to return the ball, wherein it hits the front wall first before hitting the floor. When the ball bounces twice before the player hits the ball, the rally will also be over. 

Which Is Better for Workouts?

Due to its nature, squash seems to be the better choice, that is, if you are after a physical workout. It is better than racquetball because it entails a lot of running and strategizing. Thus, it is suitable for both physical and mental health.

Conclusion – Squash Vs Racquetball

So to revisit our initial question: Racquetball vs squash – What are the differences? One of the main differences between squash and racquetball is in the way the ball is played. 

In racquetball, you can only strike the ball once it bounces from the floor. You will get a foul ball in squash if you don’t hit the ball before it bounces off the floor. Also, in racquetball, you can hit the ball in all parts of the wall. However, you can only hit the ball into one of the two service boxes in squash.

Their other differences include:

  • Court size
  • Size of racket and features
  • How to serve the ball
  • Ball size and features
  • Scoring
  • Playing style
  • Difference in administration
  • Level of popularity