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Sport Overview

Played on an enclosed court with spectators watching through a glass back wall, racquetball is an aggressive, physical sport in which the athletes frequently dive, spin, jump and slide to make shots and score points. Men and women compete in singles, doubles and team competitions where agility and creativity feature prominently. After one of the competitors puts the ball in play with a serve, every surface in the court – including the floor and ceiling – is in play. This allows shots — some as fast as 240 kilometres per hour — to come from seemingly impossible angles and encourages both acrobatic defense and offense.

Racquetball has been contested at the Pan Am Games since the Mar del Plata 1995 Pan Am Games. Mexico owned the podium in racquetball in Guadalajara in 2011, winning five of six gold medals in the sport on home soil.

Canada, Mexico and the U.S. have dominated the men’s and women’s world championships, so the calibre of play within Pan American nations is the very best in the world.


Although originally called paddle rackets, racquetball’s roots date back to 1949 Connecticut when local tennis pro and squash and handball player, Joseph Sobek, looked for a way to make handball less hard on the hands. It wasn’t until 1968 when the sport became known as racquetball.

How it works

Racquetball is played in an enclosed court. Played as either singles, doubles or team event, the game begins with a serve. Serves must bounce on the floor once before hitting the front wall and bouncing back beyond the short line located 20 feet (6.1 metres) from the front wall. After the ball bounces behind the short line, it is in play and the opposing player(s) may hit it.

The objective is for players to alternate taking turns hitting the ball against the front wall. Unlike during the serve, a ball in play may touch as many walls, including the ceiling, as necessary before touching the front wall, as long as it only hits the floor once.

Points are scored by the player(s) serving the ball as a result of winning a rally.


Kill shot
A ball that hits the front wall three inches above the floor or lower and, as a result, is unable to be returned by the opponent.

Service box
Where a player must stand in order to make his/her serve.

Short line
The back edge of the short line is midway between the front and back walls.

Additional Information

Additional Information