Stay Fit and Have Fun with Racquetball

by Paula Sperling, AMPRO/IPRO Certified Professional Racquetball Instructor

How do you stay fit and have fun at the same time? Racquetball is a sport that you can play without being the “world’s greatest athlete”. In fact, with a basic understanding of the safety rules and the rules of the game, you can be playing and having fun within an hour.

First, let’s talk about SAFETY: The game is played on a court that is 20’x40’—so it is a fairly confined area. Each player is required to wear protective, impact-resistant eyewear, as the ball may travel up to 90 m.p.h.! The second safety item is a tether that is attached to the end of the racket, which goes around your wrist so that if you should let go of the racquet it will not fly across the court and possibly strike your opponent. Lastly, do not compromise safety just to win a point. If you feel that your opponent is too close to you or might be in front of you, do not take a swing at the ball. When in doubt, play the point over.

Now, let’s get to the FUN part: The objective of the game is to hit the ball so that it travels to the front wall before it hits the floor; all you have to do is strike the ball before it has bounced off the floor a second time. The idea is simple, but the game can be challenging because the ball may strike the side wall, back wall or even the ceiling before it has to hit the front wall. So, how do you figure out how to play a ball that can do all those things? Watch the ball travel to where you think it might take a second bounce off the floor, and hit it before it does. Think of the court as a big pool table (the angles are the same); here’s your chance to put the geometry and physics skills you learned in high school to good use!

Finally, racquetball is an enjoyable way to improve your fitness; a lot more fun than running on a treadmill for 30 minutes. Did you know a 140-pound person can burn 326 calories in 30 minutes of fast and furious racquetball? Compare that to 252 calories running a 12-minute mile on the treadmill. Racquetball will get your heart pumping and you won’t even notice because you are having so much fun. People of all fitness levels and ages can play racquetball, so don’t be afraid to give it a try today.