[Updated on 1 June 2020] The great debate of the best racquet sport continues to wage on, with Squash vs Racquetball having equally passionate sides. As we all know… it’s no contest! Squash is the clear winner! 🙂
But for those of you who may be new to the game or are trying to convince your other racquet friends, our comparison of Squash vs Racquetball will help you to convert even the most stubborn of your friends!
Squash vs Racquetball
Usually, when you are talking about two different sports it is easy to differentiate between the two. These two games are similar in several ways, including the use of a racquet, being played on an indoor court, and using a rubber ball.
To the untrained eye, they look like the same sport, but those familiar with the sports know that there are just as many differences as there are similarities. If you are looking to play either sport or simply want to be a spectator, there is a lot you need to know about each game.
Which Came First?
There is no question that Squash came first with its origins dating back to 1860s England and Racquetball only being invented in 1949. While purists may think that this makes Squash the more legitimate sport, it is important to note that Squash itself is a variation of a sport played in prisons in the 1700s.
Through the years, both sports had seen a lot of changes, so while Squash has Racquetball beat by almost a century, neither is the sport they were when they were first conceived.
What Are the Differences Between the Two?
The games have many similarities, but they have just as many differences. Even their differences can seem minimal at sometimes, but they are still important to distinguish.
In squash, a player wins when they reach 11 points with a two-point margin. In Racquetball the first player to 15 points wins, but you have to win at least two rounds to win the game.
Another important difference between scoring in each game is that in Racquetball only the serving player can score while in Squash, each player can earn a point no matter who serves.
The courts are a big point of differentiation. While they may look similar, they are far from the same. Squash courts measure 32 x 21 x 15 feet, while Racquetball courts measure larger at 40 x 20 x 20 feet. Traditional Squash balls are smaller than Racquetball, with the former measuring 4 centimeters in diameter and the later measuring nearly 6 centimeters in diameter.
The two courts have significant boundary differences. Squash is much more restrictive than Racquetball with designated out of bounds areas and serving boxes. Racquetball has a designated serving area between two lines, but after that, there are no restrictions on where the ball can bounce; even the ceiling is fair game.
Because squash courts are more restrictive, it allows for much longer points. In squash, a “kill shot” is not as prevalent and commonplace as in racquetball. In racquetball, the kill shot is aimed to hit the lowest part of the front wall and then bouncing twice (near the wall) to end a point.
In squash, that shot does not exist because of the tin. In squash, the closest equivalent to a kill shot is hitting the nick.
In Squash you are only allowed one serve for better or worse. In Racquetball you can replay the serve if it is considered faulty. A serve is considered faulty for several reasons including the ball bounces ahead of the short line on the floor, the ball touches any wall or the ceiling before landing on the floor and after hitting the front wall, the server leaves the service box before the ball lands on the floor, or the receiver is not ready.
In Racquetball the receiver must allow the ball to bounce once before playing it, unless it has passed the encroachment line. In Squash, the player can play the serve before it bounces. One more significant difference between the two is that while both games require the server to serve from a serving box, Squash also requires the ball to land in the service box after hitting the wall below the service line and above the tin line.
Aside from the court, the biggest physical difference between the two sports is the racket. Although racquetballs are bigger, the racquet is small, with a maximum length of 22 inches. These rackets usually have a closed neck and look more like a tennis racket.
Squash racquets more often have an open neck like a badminton racquet and can measure up to 27 inches in length.
Which is the Better Workout?
The simple answer is that the one you play harder is the better workout. While this is true, if you put the same two people against each other in both sports one of them has a slight advantage.
According to Livestrong.com a 155-pound person playing for 30 minutes stands to burn 422 calories. Healthfully.com says that 30 minutes of intense racquetball play burns 340 calories for a similarly sized person. The average racquetball player of that size is more like to burn closer to 235 calories in a 30-minute time span.
Squash’s major advantage comes from the strategy involved in moving your opponent off their spot in the court.
Is racquetball and squash the same thing?
While they are both a racquet sport played in an indoor court with a wall to hit at, that is where the similarities end. Both sports use a different ball, racquet and have completely different playing strategies.
Is racquetball easier than squash?
Loaded question! Squash burns more calories than racquetball, so you could say racquetball is an easier workout. This is primarly because the rallies in squash are longer and kill shots are not as common in squash.
Can you play squash on a racquetball court?
No you cannot play a game of squash on a racquetball court. The court dimensions prevent this from playing a proper game of squash.
Is Squash Better Than Racquetball?
There are surely people on both sides of this argument, but for my money, Squash is the superior game. Squash has more going for it in terms of history alone. It is a better workout and requires more thinking and strategy than Racquetball.
Racquetball is also considered the more dangerous of the two sports with facemasks and wrist tethers recommended for protection. Most schools will not even allow Racquetball because of the danger associated with the fast-moving ball.
When talking about squash vs. racquetball, we recommend keeping that conversation amongst your friends who you play with. No need to start any drama with those you know who play the other sport 🙂