Sometimes squash players find it hard to get access to proper squash courts. In different parts of the world there may be other options like trying to play on a racquetball court.
But can you play squash on a racquetball court? You cannot play standard squash matches on a racquetball court. Racquetball courts are 8 feet longer than squash courts. Also they do not have a tin, which is a crucial feature in squash. However, players could still practise skills on a racquetball court.
For some, however, racquetball courts may be much more accessible than squash courts. Is there any way of using them to improve your game?
The answer to this question is most certainly yes. Read on to find out more.
Racquetball Courts V Squash Courts
The are of course similarities between squash and racquetball courts. Both are games played on an indoor enclosed court, and the general shape of the court is similar.
It is just the different sizes that differ quite a lot.
Racquetball courts are slightly larger, measuring 20 feet wide, 40 feet long, and 20 feet high.
Squash courts are wider but shorter, measuring 21 feet wide, 32 feet long, and only 15 feet high.
To summarize this means that squash courts are 1 foot wider, 8 feet shorter and 5 feet lower.
What Does This Mean In Reality?
The height is not really a massive issue. You can of course hit the ceiling in racquetball, but you can’t in squash. The only difference the height makes is that shots that would normally hit the ceiling don’t on a racquetball court, so you can hit higher.
In theory this means you could play lobs with even more height. Also mishits (which is the main reason it normally hits the ceiling) would arc higher upwards before dropping either in or out of court. In practical terms, this wouldn’t have a bit impact on the majority of rallies.
The width, again, is not a major issue. Being just 1 foot narrower, a racquetball court would be very similar to a squash court.
The main issue with size is the length of court. 8 feet is a big difference. This would mean much fewer shots would make it to the back wall.
Also, many more shots would bounce twice before the back wall.
Shots to the front would be affected too. It would probably be harder to return boasts and drops, as there would be more ground to cover to get to them.
In general, rallies would be shorter, and it would probably be a tactic to try to hit the ball before it hit the back wall. Drops and boasts would be more potent than usual.
Tin V No Tin
Another killer reason, if not the main reason, why it doesn’t really work to play squash on racquetball courts, is that there is no tin.
The tin is the metallic strip at the bottom of the front wall. If the ball hits any part of the tin then the shot is out.
The tin forces all shots to hit the front wall with a little bit of height. It stops the low kills that are a massive feature of racquetball.
Of course if that tin is removed then you have a very different type of game. Drop shots would be unplayable. Any sort of drop-shot that hit the wall near the floor would not bounce more than a couple of inches back up off the floor.
A good low kill, also, would be a winner every single time. The lower bouncing squash ball just wouldn’t make it back up off the floor.
Sliding V Non-Sliding
Another feature of racquetball that is not really seen in squash is the use of slides to retrieve balls.
Some racquetball surfaces are purposefully made to have plenty of slide in them. It is one of the most fun features of racquetball to see players sliding all over the place retrieving shots!
Sliding is almost never seen in squash. What is required is a surface that gives plenty of grip. Sliding for balls is not required, and also you don’t want your foot to ever be slipping and sliding, as that may result in injury.
A Quick Summary
It might be a good comedy game on a racquetball court, and a great way of testing out low kills and drops, but in reality it would be impossible to have a serious match.
So What Can You Do On A Racquetball Court?S
Having said all that, you can definitely use a racquetball court to improve your game.
The vast majority of solo squash drills can all be performed on a racquetball court. Playing on a racquetball court may for some be the cheapest and most efficient way of improving your game quickly.
Also many drills with another player will definitely be possible, and there are of course many drills for 3 or more players playing at the same time.
Some drills work better than others.
In general you don’t want to be doing drills that require a tin. Here are some examples:
Drills That Don’t Work
The shots to avoid are those that require either the back wall or the tin. That is, of course, quite a few! Some examples of drills to avoid are:
Playing drop shots – There is not much value in practising this without a tin. You want to play your drop shots quite close to the top of the tin, and aim at the nick of the sidewall.
One possible way around this problem is to have some sort of target to aim at on the wall. A piece of paper taped to the wall, for example, would provide a good target, and ingenuity can always overcome most problems.
Hitting drives off the back wall – Again, this is not completely without value. The only issue here is that you will be getting into a rhythm of the ball travelling much further than normal before hitting the back wall and bouncing back. Also your drives from the back will be travelling further before hitting the front wall.
Playing boasts from the back – This is not really going to work. The problems here are the angle you play the boast will be unrealistic, and also the ball will have to travel much further to get to the front wall. You will probably find that when you move to squash court your boasts would be too high and too narrow. Avoid the boasts!
Playing kill shots – Again, this one is not impossible, but will take a bit of ingenuity. The problem again is the lack of a tin. The way to work round this is once again have some sort of target on the wall to aim at. Measure to what would be above the tin if there was one there, and tape a piece of A4 paper there.
A squash tin is 19 inches (48 centimetres) high. Add another six inches on that (so 25 inches) and stick the paper there. You never want to play kills just above the tin, as this result in a lower percentage of successful shots. Always play with a bit of caution where possible. Squash is a game of percentages.
Playing lob shots – Again this is isn’t really going to work, and you might end up grooving a shot that won’t even land inside a squash court.
The problem is that you can hit the shot with much more height than normal (you have an extra 5 feet to play with going up!). Also the court is a whopping 8 feet longer. You could maybe mark a point on the sidewall where you want to strike (approximately 12 feet away from the backwall). You wouldn’t want your lobs going anywhere near the back because in a squash court they would either be out or bouncing back towards the middle of the court.
Even a bit of ingenuity might be a bit beyond reality for this one. I probably just wouldn’t bother.
Serves – Again, serves are not really going to work, as all your target areas for the different serves are going to be completely different. Serves are going to be much longer on a racquetball court, and hit at different angles.
One to avoid.
Drills That Will Work Well
Right, so you can see that although somethings are a definite no, other skills can be practised with just a bit of imagination.
Now let’s go on to the some skills and drills that will work fine on a racquetball court – and there are many of these.
Volleying – This should mostly work fine. The majority of volleys that you play in games are going to aiming well above the tin, somewhere around the middle of the wall in height. Practising volleying back and forth down the line from different lengths will work brilliantly. Just be aware not to go too far back, and avoid going in the back eight feet of the court, as this would not exist on a squash court.
Simple drives – Again, as a great beginners drill, simple forehand or backhand drives up and down the wall will work fine. These will be aiming well above where the tin would be so there is no issue there. This simple drill is a good warm-up, and is also great for grooving the basics of this shot.
Figures of eights – This is a harder drill for beginners, but if you can play this then this should work fine on a racquetball court.
In this drill you stand roughly in the middle of the court (you may have to adjust where to stand through trial and error). You then hit the ball about halfway up the front wall, very close to the corner. The ball hits the edge of the front wall first, before hitting the sidewall and bouncing back to where you are standing. You then hit it to the other side of the front wall, and it bounces back again. Repeat.
The harder way of doing this drill is to volley every shot.
The easier way is to let the ball bounce.
Just see which works for you. You will never actually play this shot in a match, but it is a good way for you to warm your reactions up, and develop good racket skills.
Side to sides – This is one of the best solo drills. You simply stand on the T in the middle of the court. You aim to hit the sidewall in this drill, not the front wall as with most other drills.
Simple aim at the sidewall, and the hit the ball so that it loops back straight over your head and hits the other sidewall on the full. The ball should then bounce back towards you, and you simply hit it straight back at the wall and over your head again. Repeat.
You will find that you are playing a forehand on one side and backhand on the other. This is possibly the best drill for learning to hit straight, a key skill in squash.
Straight drives taking the ball before the back wall – As long as you avoid the back eight feet of the court then these will be fine. Stand approximately twelve feet from the backwall, and hit drives to yourself down the line. Take the ball before it goes towards the backwall. Aim to hit long and tight to the wall. A great way of grooving these shots.
For many, racquetball courts may be the most effective and cost-efficient way to practice. If you are a bit imaginative and keep a few things in mind, then this can be a great way to train.
Just bear in mind that the dimensions of the court are a bit different, and think about the implications of this when practising shots.
However, in general practising on racquetball courts will do you much more good than harm, so if this is the only option, get out there and give it a go!
Is racquetball and squash the same thing? No, squash and racquetball are two similar but different sports. They are played on differently sized courts. They also use a different ball, the racquetball ball being much bouncier. There are also differences in equipment, scoring and technique.
Can you use a racquetball racquet to play squash? You cannot use a racquetball racquet to play squash. The dimensions are different, most noticeably in that the handle is much shorter for a racquetball racquet, and the head is wider.
Can you use a racquetball ball to play squash? No, you can’t use a racquetball ball to play squash. Racquetball balls are much bouncier than squash balls. They are also larger, and produce a much different type of game and technique.