Racquetball vs. Squash: What’s the Difference?

Squash vs Racquetball

It is quite common to confuse racquetball and squash as the sports are relatively similar in appearance and style. In order to make the differences of these two games more obvious we have created a guide as to how to play both of these games so that the next time someone tells you they are playing squash when they are actually playing racquetball, you can tell them that they are wrong.

Ball & Racquet Size

There is a reason why many people confuse these two games. Both of these games are played using racquets and they are also played on closed courts. The largest differences in these two games are the size of the ball that is used as well as the size of the racquet. Most squash rackets are typically larger and more wide than average recreational racquetball racquets.  Other differences in the two games include the size of the court as well a couple different rules that we will cover later on in the article.

Squash

In the game of squash, you can play this game in doubles or a game of one on one. Squash is played in a four wall court with a very small hallow rubber ball. In this game players have to switch who hits the ball against the wall and the ball must be above the tin and below the outside line otherwise it does not count. The ball is allowed to hit off the side walls as well as the front wall at any time so long as you hit it within the allowed parameters. After the ball hits off of the front wall of the court it is allowed to bounce one time off of the floor before a player must return it. It is important to remember that in the game of squash you are allowed to move anywhere around the court so long as you aren’t accidentally or deliberately obstructing the other player stopping them from being able to return the ball.

Scoring & Types of Shots

Getting into the specifics of the game normally the game goes to a total of 21 points. If both players end up tying at 20 points it is the same as tennis and the game will go until one player gets ahead by two points. There are several types of shots in the game of squash and each of them have their own unique names. A straight dive or a good length shot is when the ball is hit close to a side wall and goes deep into the back of the court.

A boast shot is when the ball is hit off of the side or the back wall followed by the front wall before landing in the court. A drop shot is when the ball gently hits the wall then falls slowly to the floor. A lob shot is when the ball is hit high in the air off the front wall and falls in the back of the court. A kill shot is when you hit the ball hard and low so that it travels less than half of the length of the court before bouncing. These are just a few of the most common shots available and if you get into this game you will surely find that some people have their own names for different shots.

Racquetball Scoring & Protective Eyewear

Meanwhile in the game of racquetball you score points by being unable to hit the ball before it bounces twice or you are unable to return the ball. Each game is played until one team reaches 11 points. In order to win the entire game you have to win two games. In order to play the game the server must drop the ball in the service area and hit it after it bounces. If they fail to serve twice in a row or do one out serve then they lose the serve and the opponent gets to serve. In this game you are allowed to hit any walls that you like so long as the ball makes contact with the front wall at some point in time before it makes contact with the floor.

The average game of racquetball takes about 20 minutes in length and is a pretty high intensity game. There is actually a rule in this game that if you think you are going to injure the other player, either by means of your racquet or a collision you can stop play and redo the last rally. Due to the danger of the speed of this game it is normally mandatory to wear both eye wear as well as have a wrist tether on your wrist so that you don’t accidentally let go of your racquetball racquet and accidentally injure yourself or your opponent.

Court Size

Touching on the differences in the specs of the games a racquetball court is played on a surface that is 20 by 40 feet in length, while a squash court is much smaller at just 21 feet by 32 feet in length. For both sports it’s necessary that you wear indoor court specific shoes. You will also notice a difference in ceiling height with a racquetball court being 20 feet high while a squash court is only 15 feet high. The size difference of the racquets in these two games is fairly substantial. You will notice that a squash racquet is about 27 inches while a racquetball racquet is only 22 inches long. The head of a racquetball racquet is wider in order to allow you to hit the larger 6 cm ball of the two games; a squash ball only sits at 4 cm.

Final Thoughts & Wrap Up


Hopefully after reading this guide you have a much better idea as to what the differences are in a squash and a racquetball game. If you haven’t had the chance to try out one of these games before, and you just read this article to learn about the differences; I highly recommend that you try it out! These sports have become much more popular in recent years and they have become extremely competitive in some areas even sporting things like tournaments and large events in some places. Keep your eyes peeled and you will surely be able to find somewhere local to play. Best of luck in your squash and racquetball games and hope you try these games out if you haven’t given them a shot already!

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