It is easy for the inexperienced player to assume that racquetball and squash are similar. However, this is certainly not the case.
They are different from one another, with different courts, different equipment, and different rules. However, racquetball vs. squash is a topic that people like to discuss.
The main differences between racquetball and squash are the equipment, the courts, and the rules. For squash, you have a narrower racquet, and the ball tends to be slightly smaller, and the court features a variety of lines in which the ball needs to stay. Racquetball gives the player some additional functionality.
Since many believe that racquetball and squash share similar traits, we need to dive into these two sports and look at some of their essential differences of them.
The article aims to look at the differences that set racquetball and squash apart and give you a better understanding.
You might also enjoy reading: Top 14 Sports Ranked By Difficulty.
Squash Vs. Racquetball: What Are They?
Before we dive into the main differences, we should look at each sport individually and determine its origin and purpose.
The main idea is to look at how racquetball and squash came to be while focusing on the main differences for players to understand quickly.
What Is Squash Sport?
Squash is a racquet sport generally played by two players (or four players for doubles) on a four-walled court with a rubber ball. When playing squash, players alternate in hitting the ball with their rackets. The game’s objective is to hit the ball, so the opponent cannot play a valid return.
Developed in the 1830s in Harrow, England, squash is much older than racquetball, and some even suggest that it was created as early as the 1700s in Fleet prison.
The game was easy to play due to no nets needed and the ball needing to hit the wall before the other player could hit it. Bear in mind a few rules were used back then.
What Is Racquetball?
Racquetball is a sport where each player or team uses a strung racquet to take turns serving and returning the ball within a court. The objective of racquetball is to win each rally by serving or returning the ball, so the opposing players cannot keep the ball in play (Source: United States Olympic & Paralympic Committee)
American Joseph Sobek initially created racquetball back in 1950 (Source: New York Times). The sport was a combination of handball, squash, and tennis, which made the game more interesting for certain players.
Racquetball started as a mess between the various rules of the three sports. However, it developed into the sport we see today through numerous trials and errors.
Main Differences Between Racquetball And Squash
With some basic history under your belt, you should know some of the differences between these two sports. However, it goes much deeper than this, and this section’s main purpose is to look at each aspect of the game and explain the key differences.
You will notice just how many differences there are between squash and racquetball:
1- Use Of The Terminology
A basic difference is in the way some of the terminologies are written. The word racquet is an older form of writing; nowadays, many people simply write it as a racket.
Since racquetball was adopted during the time of the older English, it remained the same. You will still use a “racquet” when playing racquetball.
Squash might be older, but the game has modernized significantly over the years. Squash is often referred to as using a “squash racket,” which works better with the modernization of the word.
In England, many players of racquetball would also refer to it as “racketball.” Using either can be fine, depending on where you are.
Another vital difference between squash and racquetball is the courts and the designs of the courts. Bear in mind that the courts are very similar, and players can use the same court for both sports.
The only difference will arise when you look at the professional level of the game and official rules or guidelines. According to official guidelines, here are the dimensions of both courts when looking at professional parameters:
- Squash Court: 18.5 x 32 x 21 feet (intersection at 17.85ft from front wall)
- Racquetball Court: 20 x 40 x 20 feet (Service box located 15ft from front wall)
Since squash has a few more rules, you will find “out of bounds” lines located along the walls and a tin or unplayable area right in front of the wall.
Most racquetball courts do not have these due to the easier nature of the court design.
In the world of squash, you can find a variety of balls, and each of these will be built slightly differently. The size and dimensions of the ball will vary depending on how bouncy it should be.
However, the World Squash Federation has imposed a few rules stating that the ball should weigh between 23 and 25 grams and the diameter should be between 39.5 and 40.5mm.
Racquetball is much more simplified, and the balls have a diameter of 57mm. The balls rarely change in size. However, they do change in bounciness with different colors allowing you to distinguish how fast the ball would be. They also vary in durability, which is commonly indicated by the various colors available.
One of the biggest differences between racquetball and squash is the equipment or gear players use to play each sport.
Each of these two sports has the same gear items, but some of their dimensions and sizes would significantly vary depending on which sport you want to be playing.
The main difference is when it comes to the rackets of each sport. The squash racket tends to be slightly longer, and it has a narrow design. This deals with the smaller ball and ensures the player does not have too big of a sweet spot.
Alternatively, the racquetball racket is slightly wider and shorter due to the nature of the ball.
Both sports require you to wear comfortable clothing and shoes that will ensure you can optimally play the game.
Some players also prefer goggles, which help prevent possible eye injuries from the ball. This might sound ridiculous, but with such a small ball coming at such speeds, it could cause some damage.
The rules are another one of the biggest differences, and I can keep you reading for the rest of the day by citing the full rulebook.
Since most players like myself prefer just playing the game casually, only a few people and judges have taken note of all the rules. It is much easier to just look at a brief overview of the main differences in rules.
For both squash and racquetball, the player would start inside the service box or behind the service line. The ball is played against the wall and should be hit as it returns.
The ball can be played through the air or after bouncing once. Keep in mind that the ball is only permitted to bounce once before it needs to be played.
If the ball bounces two times, the player who let the ball bounce will give up a point to the other player. In squash, you will need to race to 11-points to win the game. Alternatively, racketball will be a race for 15-points to win the game. You will continue serving if you win a point until you lose a rally.
One of the key differences between squash and racquetball is how you can use the court. In squash, you have a few set lines and rules that you need to maintain. These lines are drawn across the walls and the floor.
Alternatively, a game of racquetball gives you more freedom, and the ball can even touch the ceiling as long as it also touches the front wall.
In both games, the main point where the other player is activated lies around the front wall. If a ball comes off the front when player one hits the ball, the second player should be the one to hit the ball next.
Frequently Asked Questions
To help you fully understand these two sports, we have found a few questions that many people might need answers to. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions:
Can You Play Squash On A Racquetball Court And Vice Versa?
Since these two sports are so similar, it should be no surprise that you can play both of them on the same courts. You can adjust for this by creating your lines with only a few rule changes. It is a great way to ensure that you can play other games. However, you might not be able to use the same gear for playing them.
Is Squash Or Racquetball Harder?
Both of these sports have their challenges, and depending on your skill level, you might find one harder than the other.
However, fitness is one of the main determining factors for both of them, and since they are so similar, the pros in one will also be good in the other. It might take a few slight adjustments, but squash is slightly more complicated in terms of the complexity of the rules.
If you have a passion for indoor sports, both squash and racquetball should be great options for you to consider. Both these sports are fun and will challenge you physically and your fitness as well.
I would love to know which one you prefer and why. Let us know in the comment section if you are better at squash or racquetball.