The Official Racquetball Rules

Official racquetball rules differ slightly from those of recreational play. One reason for this is that the purpose of the game is different. While recreational racquetball can be quite competitive, it is ultimately a social way to get exercise. The official rules are meant to govern racquetball tournaments as well as USA Racquetball.

Official racquetball rules state that a racquetball game may be between two players or four (known as doubles). There is also a non-tournament version of the game called cut-throat, which involves three players.

Points can only be scored by the serving player. In singles play, when the server loses the serve it's called "sideout." In doubles play official racquetball rules, when the first player loses the serve it's known as a "handout." The sideout is when the second player loses the serve.

Games are played to 15 points, with the winning team having a minimum lead of 2 points. A racquetball match is the best out of three games. If a tiebreaker is necessary, that game is played only to 11 points.

The player who will serve is determined by a coin toss. The winner of the official racquetball rules coin toss has the option of either serving or receiving the ball. While a server usually has two attempts to put the ball into play during recreational play, during Open Division she is given just one opportunity. The server may not cross the short line until the ball has crossed the short line.

A fault serve occurs when the server touches the floor outside of the service zone, steps beyond the service line before the ball crosses the short line, hits the front wall and then hits the floor without touching a side wall or hits three surfaces before touching the floor. A fault serve is also called if the ball this the ceiling or if the ball hits the front wall and then the back wall without touching the floor.

The receiver can't cross the receiving line with either his racquet or body until the ball bounces into the safety zone or crosses the receiving line. However, he may cross the receiving line on the follow through (but not the short line). Any fault by the receiver scores the server a point.

In official racquetball rules, a technical foul may be called by the referee if a player takes longer than ten seconds to play the ball. 

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