Rules

Les règlements en français

Rule Changes/Additions
Part I - The Game
Part II - Courts and Equipment
Part III - Officiating
Part IV - Play Regulations
Part V - Tournaments
Multi Bounce
One-Wall & Three Wall
Instructions of Referees to Players & On Match
Racquetball Canada



Rule Changes/Additions
Effective December 6, 2006

Rule 2.4a - Racquet Length :
The racquet, including the bumper guard and all solid parts of the handle except the tether, may not exceed 22 3/8 inches (56.9 cm) in length.

Rule 2.4f - Illegal Racquet :
Using an illegal racquet will result in a technical against the offender. Asking for a measurement will result in a delay of game technical against the person asking for the measurement, if the measured racquet is legal.

Effective September 1, 2006

Additional Rule 6.0 Multi Bounce :
Racquetball Canada's standard rules governing racquetball play will be followed except for the modifications which follow.

Additional Rule 6.1 Basic Return Rule :
In general, the ball remains in play as long as it is bouncing. However, the player may swing only once at the ball and the ball is considered dead at the point it stops bouncing and begins to roll. Also, anytime the ball rebounds off the back wall, it must be struck before it crosses the short line on the way to the front wall, except as explained in Rule 6.2.

Additional Rule 6.2 Blast Rule :
If the ball caroms from the front wall to the back wall on the fly, the player may hit the ball from any place on the court including past the short line so long as the ball is still bouncing.

Additional Rule 6.3 Front Wall Lines :
Two parallel lines (tape may be used) should be placed across the front wall such that the bottom edge of one line is 3 feet above the floor and the bottom edge of the other line is 1 foot above the floor. At all times, any ball that hits the front wall (i) below the 3-foot line and (ii) either on or above the 1- foot line must be returned before it bounces a third time. However, if the ball hits below the 1-foot line, it must be returned before it bounces twice. If the ball hits on or above the 3-foot line, the ball must be returned as described in the basic return rule.

Additional Rule 6.4 Games and Matches :
All games are played to 11 points and the first side to win two games, wins the match.

Effective September 1, 2004

Revised Rule 2.4b Thong :
Change the word "thong" to "cord."

Added Rule 3.5a7 Warm up time:
Warm up time for singles shall not exceed (5) five minutes. Warm up time for doubles teams will be (5) five minutes for each team.

Revised Rule 3.5b Decisions:
Remove "On all questions involving judgement and" and add "The Referee-in-Chief may overrule the match referee at any time."

Revised Rule 4.1a Toss:
The server has two opportunities to put the ball into play. The player or team winning the coin toss has the option to either serve or receive at the start of the first game. The second game will begin in reverse order of the first game. The player or team scoring the highest total of points in games 1 and 2 will have the option to serve or receive first at the start of the tiebreaker. In the event that both players or teams score an equal number of points in the first two games, another coin toss will take place and the winner of the toss will have the option to serve or receive.

Revised Rule 4.1b Manner:
Remove and replace with "After taking a set position inside the service zone, a player may begin the service motion--any continuous movement which results in the ball being served. During the service motion, the ball may not be bounced anywhere but on the floor within the service zone. The ball must directly bounce on the floor in the service zone and on the first bounce be struck by the server's racquet so that it hits the front wall first and on the rebound hits the floor back of the short line, either with or without touching one of the side walls."

Revised Rule 4.1c Start:
Note, rule 4.1e was combined into rule 4.1c resulting in the following paragraph.
Games are started by the referee calling "time in". The server may not initiate the pre-service motion, from outside of the service zone, but may serve from any place in the service zone. Either foot or any wheel of a wheelchair may extend partially beyond the front line of the service zone. Stepping over the line (but not completely beyond it ) is permitted. Server must remain in the service zone until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called "foot faults" or "wheel faults".

Revised Rule 4.1d Readiness:
Once a rally has ended, the players are given a reasonable amount of time (according to the judgment of the referee) to return to their respective positions, and then the score is called. If the server or receiver is, in the referee's opinion, taking too much time in commencing play, that player will be assessed with a "Loss of point" penalty. (See Rule 4.16)
i) The 10 second rule applies to the server and receiver simultaneously. Collectively, they are allowed up to 10 seconds after the score is called to serve or be ready to receive. It is the server's responsibility to look and be certain the receiver is ready. If a receiver is not ready, they must signal by raising the racquet above the head or completely turning the back to the server. These are the only two acceptable signals.
ii) Serving while the receiving player/team is signaling "not ready" shall be replayed with no penalty and the server shall be warned to check the receiver. If the server serves a second consecutive time without checking the receiver, the referee will assess a fault serve.
iii) After the score is called, if the server looks at the receiver and the receiver is not signaling not ready, the server may then serve. If the receiver attempts to signal "not ready" after that point, the signal shall not be acknowledged and the serve becomes legal.

Deleted Rule 4.1f Dropping the ball:
This has been incorporated into rule 4.1b.

Revised Rule 4.5i Partner:
(a) In doubles if the server's partner is not in the service box with both feet on the floor and back to the side wall from the time the server begins the service motion until the ball passes the short line.
(b) A served ball that hits the doubles partner while in the doubles box results in a fault serve. In Open play (one serve), this fault may be replayed one time only, per service. The second instance, on the same serve, will result in a hand out or a sideout.

Added Rule 4.5k One Serve Play:
In one serve play, if a serve is called a screen, the server will be allowed one more opportunity to hit a legal serve. Two consecutive screen serves results in a side out.

Revised Rule 4.7f Dropping the ball:
Move to new rule 4.5l in fault serves

Revised Rule 4.11.6 Time Out:
Calling for a time out by either server or receiver after the service motion begins. Audible avoidable.

Revised Rule 4.11.11 Eye Protection:
Eye protection must be worn properly on the bridge of the nose. Failure to do so is an automatic avoidable hinder.

Revised Rule 4.12a Timeouts:
Increase timeouts to 60 seconds

Revised Rule 4.12b Injury:
Add at the end of the rule "Muscle cramps and pulls, fatigue and other ailments that are not caused by direct contact (such as with the ball, racquet, wall or floor) will not be considered an injury."

Revised Rule 4.12g Bleeding:
Should any external bleeding occur, the referee must halt play as soon as the rally is over, charge an injury timeout to the person who is bleeding, and not allow the match to continue until the bleeding has stopped.

Added Rule 5.7 Tournament Conduct:
In all RC (Racquetball Canada) sanctioned tournaments the referee is empowered to default a match if an individual player or team conducts itself to the detriment of the tournament and the game. (See Rule 4.13).

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Part I - The Game
Rule 1.1 - Types of Games
Racquetball may be played by two or four players. When played by two it is called "singles," and when played by four, "doubles."

Rule 1.2 - Description
Racquetball, as the name implies, is a competitive game in which a racquet is used to serve and return the ball.

Rule 1.3 - Objective
The objective is to win each rally by serving or returning the ball so the opponent is unable to keep the ball in play. A rally is over when a side makes an error, or is unable to return the ball before it touches the floor twice or three times in wheelchair racquetball.

Rule 1.4 - Points and Outs
Points are scored only by the serving side when it serves an ace or wins a rally. When the serving side loses a rally, it loses the serve. Losing the serve is called an "side-out" in singles, and "halfdown" or "side-out" in doubles.

Rule 1.5 - Game, Match and Tie Breaker
The length of a game, match or tie-breaker is set by the tournament committee, chosen from game formats to 11, 15, 21 or 31 points. The winning margin shall be by 2 points in every game and every game format.

The committee may at its discretion, and upon providing mandatory advance announcement on the entry form, decide that a specific division (or divisions) will compete using only 1 serve per player. In the event that only 1 serve per player is chosen, the rules will then be interpreted and enforced in the same way as if each serve initiated by a player is the "second" serve in a two serve match.

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Part II - Courts and Equipment
Rule 2.1 - Courts
The specifications for the standard four-wall racquetball court are:
a. Dimensions: The dimensions shall be 20 feet (6.10 m) wide, 20 feet (6.10 m) high, and 40 feet (12.20 m) long, with back feet (3.65 m) high.
b. Lines and Zones: A racquetball court shall be divided and marked on the floor and the back wall with 1-1/2 inch (3.8 cm) wide red lines as follows:
  1. Short Line - The back edge of the short line is midway between and is parallel with the front and back walls dividing the court into equal front and back courts.
  2. Service Line - The front edge of the service line is parallel with and located 5 feet (1.5 m) in front of the back edge of the short line.
  3. Service Zone - The service zone is the space between the outer edges of the short and service lines.
  4. Service Boxes - The service boxes are located at each end of the service zone and designated by lines parallel with each side wall. The edge of the lines closest to center court are 18 inches (46 cm) from each side wall.
  5. Drive Serve Lines - The drive serve lines, which form the drive serve zones are parallel with the side walls and are within the service zone. The edge of the lines closest to center court are 3 feet (92 cm) from each side wall. (See Rule 4.3)
  6. Receiving Line - The receiving line is a broken line parallel to the short line. The back edge of the receiving line is five feet (1.5 m) from the back edge of the short line. The receiving line begins with a line 21 inches (53.2 cm) long that extends from each side wall: the two lines will be connected by an alternate series of six-inch (15.2 cm) spaces and six-inch (15.2 cm) lines (17 spaces and 16 lines). (See Rule 4.7 (a)).
    Diagram of Racquetball Court
  7. Safety Zone - The safety zone is the five-foot area bounded by the back edges of the short line and the receiving line. The zone is observed only during the serve. (See Rule 4.7 (a)).
  8. Out of Court Line - The upper edge of the out of court line is on the back wall parallel with and located 12 feet (3.65 m) above the floor.
Rule 2.2 - Ball Specifications
The ball shall be 2 1/4 inches (5.725 cm) in diameter; weigh approximately 1.40 ounces (39.2 gm) with a bounce at 67-72 inches (170-183 cm) from 100 inch (254 cm) drop at a temperature of 76oF (25oC).

Rule 2.3 - Ball Selection
The ball shall be selected by the referee for use in each match in all tournaments. During a game the referee may, at his discretion or at the request of either player or team, select another ball. Balls that are not round or which bounce erratically shall not be used.

Rule 2.4 - Racquet Specifications
a. Dimensions: The racquet, including the bumper guard and all solid parts of the handle except the tether, may not exceed 56.9 cm (22 3/8 inches) in length.
b. Cord: The racquet must include a cord that must be securely wrapped on the player's wrist.
c. Material: The racquet frame may be made of any material, as long as it conforms to the above specifications.
d. Strings: All kinds of strings are permitted as long as they do not mark or deface the ball.
e. Guard: A racquet normally equipped with a bumper guard may only be played with the guard or a reasonable substitute.
f. Using an illegal racquet will result in a technical against the offender. Asking for a measurement will result in a delay of game against the person asking for the measurement, if the measured racquet is legal.

Rule 2.5 - Apparel
a. Uniform: All parts of the uniform shall be clean. No insignia or lettering may appear on the uniform if in the referee's discretion it is offensive. Doubles partners shall wear approximately the same colors for identification purposes. The final decision on uniforms is up to the referee.
b. Each player shall have within easy access an extra shirt which they may be requested to put on, if in the judgement of the referee, excess perspiration is creating hazardous playing conditions and/or unnecessary delay in play.
c. Eye Protection: In all Racquetball Canada sanctioned tournaments all competitors, including those who require corrective lenses, must wear lensed eyewear as designed for racquet sports by the manufacturers. (See Rule 4.13 (8)). The player will be charged with a time-out to secure appropriate eyewear.

Rule 2.6 - Wheelchair
The wheelchair must be equipped with a functional roller bar or similar safety device under the foot platform. The "wheelchair bars" at the rear are optional. There should be no sharp edges anywhere on the outside part of the chair that could cause injury to yourself or opponent or scratch or otherwise damage the walls and floor of the court. The chair must be equipped with non-marking tires.

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Part III - Officiating
Rule 3.1 - Tournaments
All tournaments shall be managed by a committee or chairman, who shall designate the officials.

Rule 3.2 - Officials
The officials shall include a referee and two lines judges when designated. Additional assistants and a record keeper may be designated as desired.

Rule 3.3 - Qualifications
Since the quality of the officiating often determines the success of each tournament, all officials shall be experienced or trained, and shall be thoroughly familiar with these rules and with the local playing conditions.

Rule 3.4 - Rule Briefing
Before all tournaments, all officials and players shall be briefed on rules and on local court hinders or other regulations.

Rule 3.5 - Referees
a. Pre-Match Duties: Before each match commences, it shall be the duty of the referee to:
  1. Check on adequacy of preparation of the court with respect to cleanliness, lighting and temperature.
  2. Check on availability and suitability of all materials necessary for the match such as balls, towels, score cards and pencils.
  3. Check readiness and qualifications of lines judges.
  4. Explain court regulations to players and inspect the compliance of equipment with rules.
  5. Introduce players, toss coin, and signal start of first game.
  6. The referee shall have jurisdiction over the spectators, as well as the players, while the match is in progress.
  7. Warm up time: Warm up time for singles shall not exceed five (5) minutes. Warm up time for doubles teams will be five (5) minutes for each team.
b. Decisions: During games the referee shall decide all questions that may arise in accordance with theserules. If there is a body contact on the back swing or the player steps on an opponent's foot or is likely to strike his opponent with the ball or racquet, the player should immediately call for a hinder. (See Rule 4.10(b)). On all questions not covered by these rules, the decision of the referee is final. The Referee-in-Chief may overrule the match referee at any time.
c. Protests: Any decision not involving the judgment of the referee may, on protest, be decided by the protest committee composed of at least three (3) members designated by the referee in chief of the tournament.
d. Forfeitures: A match may be forfeited by the referee when:
  1. Any player refuses to abide by the referee's decision, or engages in unsportsmanlike conduct.
  2. After warning, any player leaves the court during a game without permission of the referee.
  3. Any player for a singles match, or any team for a doubles match fails to report to play. Normally, 10 minutes from the scheduled game time will be allowed before forfeiture. The tournament chairman may permit a longer delay if circumstances warrant such a decision.
  4. A third technical foul is assessed to anyone player or team during the course of a match. (See Rule 4.13).
Rule 3.6 - Scoring
a. Record: The referee shall keep a record of the progress of the game in the manner prescribed by the committee or chairman.
b. Announcement
  1. Manner - The referee shall announce the score before the first serve and shall announce "SECOND SERVE" before the second serve.
  2. Defective Announcement - When the referee announces a wrong score and a player protests immediately, the play shall be stopped. If, after the play, the referee states that he announced an incorrect score, then the game shall continue with the corrected score and no replay shall be awarded.
Rule 3.7 - Lines Judges
a. Number: There shall be two lines judges.
b. Position: In all cases the lines judges should have advantage points as different from the referee and each other as the court facilities permit.
c. Duties: Lines judges may not initiate any call at anytime. They are to give an opinion on an appeal directed to them by the referee or an appeal by a player, if the referee cannot make a call or if his call is appealed.
d. Decisions: In any match using lines judges, all calls may be appealed except technicals and game/match forfeitures.

e. Notice: The appealing player should attempt to signal the shot to be appealed at the time of the incident in a manner not to distract from the rally. The appealing player may abandon his appeal at any time, although it may then be taken up by the opposing player.
f. How to Appeal: An appeal by a player must be made directly to the referee immediately after the rally has ended. Any appeal directed to any other person will not be recognized and the appeal shall be forfeited. The referee will announce the appeal and simultaneously ask for the opinion of the lines judges. The referee will recognize a players appeal only if it is made before that player leaves the court for any reason including time-outs and game ending rallies or, if that player does not leave the court, before the score is called.
g. Responses: The lines judge will indicate his opinion by putting thumbs up if he agrees with the referee or thumbs down, if he disagrees. If the lines judge cannot make a decision for any reason, he signals by making a sidewards back and forth gesture with his hands, palms down.
h. Result:
  1. If one lines judge agrees with the referee, the appeal is completed and the referee's decision stands.
  2. If both lines judges disagree with the referee's decision, the call is reversed.
  3. If only the referee or one of the lines judges can make a call, that decision stands.
  4. If one of the referee or lines judges cannot make a call and the decision is not unanimous, the appealed decision is a "no call" and the rally is replayed.
i. Kill Shot Appeals: If the referee makes the call "skip"on a kill shot attempt and his call is reversed during an appeal, the referee must then decide if the shot could have been returned had play continued. If the shot was a kill or pass that the opponent could not have retrieved (in the referee's opinion), the side which originally lost the rally is declared the winner of the rally. The referee's judgment in this matter is final.
j. Short Serve Appeals: If the referee makes the call "short" on a serve, and his call is reversed during an appeal, the referee must then decide if the serve could have been returned had play continued. If the served ball was considered by the referee to be an ace, then a point shall be awarded to the server. The referee's judgment in this matter is final.
k. Appeals Limitation: A player or team may make three appeals per game. However, if either line judge disagrees with the referee's call, that appeal will not count against the three-appeal limit. In addition, the game ending rally may be appealed even if the three appeals limit has been reached.

Rule 3.8 - Removal of Referee and Lines Judge
A referee or lines judge may only be removed at the discretion of the referee in chief or his delegate. The referee in chief or his delegate may observe a match in progress to determine what, if any, action is to be taken.

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Part IV - Play Regulations
Rule 4.1 - Serve Generally
a. Toss: The player or team winning the coin toss has the option to either serve or receive at the start of the first game. The second game will begin in reverse order of the first game. The player or team scoring the highest total of point in game 1 and 2 will have the option to serve or receive at the start of the tiebreaker. In the event that both players or teams score an equal number of points in the first two games, another coin toss will take place and the winner of the toss will have the option to serve or receive.
b. Manner: After taking a set position inside the service zone, a player may begin the service motion -- any continuous movement which results in the ball being served. During the service motion, the ball may not be bounced anywhere but on the floor within the service zone. The ball must directly bounce on the floor in the service zone and on the first bounce be struck by the server's racquet so that it hits the front wall first and on the rebound hits the floor back of the short line, either with or without touching one of the side walls. The server has two opportunities to put the ball into play.
c. Start: Games are started by the referee calling "time in". The server may not initiate the pre-service motion from outside of the service zone, but may serve from any place in the service zone. Either foot or any wheel of a wheelchair may extend partially beyond the front line of the service zone. Stepping over the line (but not completely beyond it) is permitted. Server must remain in the service zone until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called "foot faults" or "wheel faults".
d. Readiness: Once a rally has ended, the players are given a reasonable amount of time (according to the judgment of the referee) to return to their respective positions, and then the score is called. If the server or the receiver is, in the referee's opinion, taking too much time in commencing play, that player will be accessed with a "Loss of Point" penalty. (See 4.16)
i) The 10 second rule applies to the server and receiver simultaneously. Collectively, they are allowed up to 10 seconds after the score is called to serve or be ready to receive. It is the server's responsibility to look and be certain the receiver is ready. If the receiver is not ready, the receiver must signal so by raising the racquet above the head or completely turning the back to the server. These are the only two acceptable signals.
ii) Serving while the receiving player/team is signaling "not ready" shall be replayed with no penalty and the server shall be warned to check the receiver. If the server serves a second consecutive time without checking the receiver, the referee will assess a fault serve.
iii) After the score is called, if the server looks at the receiver and the receiver is no signaling not ready, the server may then serve. If the receiver attempts to signal "not ready" after that point, the signal shall not be acknowledged and the serve becomes legal.


Rule 4.2 - Serve, in Doubles
a. Server: At the beginning of each game in doubles, each side shall inform the referee of the order of service, which order shall be followed throughout the game. Only the first server serves the first time up and continues to serve throughout the game. When the first server is out, the side is out and this applies in each game throughout the match. Thereafter both players on each side shall serve until a handout occurs. It is not necessary for the server to alternate serves to their opponents.
b. Partner's Position: On each serve, the server's partner shall stand erect with his back to the side wall and with both feet on the floor within the service box until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called "foot faults". For wheelchair racquetball, the server's partner musthave at lease one rear wheel in the service box until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called "wheel faults".

Rule 4.3 - Drive Serve Zones
The drive serve lines are three feet from each side wall in the service zone, dividing the service area into two 17-foot service zones for drive serves only. The player may drive serve to the same side of the court on which he is standing so long as the start of the service motion takes place outside the three-foot line. The call, or non-call, may be appealed.
a. The drive serve zones are not observed for cross-court drive serves; hard-Z and soft-Z serves; lob and half-lob serves.
b. The racquet may not break the plane of the 17-foot zone while making contact with the ball. Violation is a "fault".
c. The three-foot line is not part of the 17-foot zone. Dropping the ball on the line or standing on the line while serving to the same side is a fault.

Rule 4.4 - Dead Ball Serves
Dead ball serves do not cancel any previous illegal serve. They occur when an otherwise legal serve:
a. Court Hinders: Hits any part of the court that under local rules is a dead ball.
b. Broken Ball: If the ball has broken on the serve where no return is possible. (See Rule 4.9 (g)).
c. Wet Ball: A wet ball serve as per Rule 4.9 (f).

Rule 4.5 - Fault Serves
The following serves are faults and any two in succession result in a side-out.
a. Foot and Wheel Faults: A foot or wheel fault results when a part of either foot or any wheels of a wheelchair of the server or his partner extends beyond either line of the service zone before the ball passes the short line.
b. Short Serve: Any served ball that first hits the front wall and on the rebound hits the floor in front of the back edge of the short line either with or without touching one side wall.
c. Three-Wall Serve: Any served ball that first hits the front wall and on the rebound hits two side walls on the fly.
d. Ceiling Serve: Any served ball that touches the ceiling after hitting the front wall either with or without touching one side wall.
e. Long Serve: Any served ball that first hits the front wall and rebounds to the back wall before touching the floor.
f. Out of Court Serve: Any served ball going through any opening in a side wall without a bounce on the floor.
g. Missed Ball: Any attempt to strike the ball on the first bounce that results either in a total miss or in touching any part of the server's body other than his racquet.
h. Illegal Drive Serve: A drive serve in which the player fails to observe the 17-foot service zone outlined in Rule 4.3.
i. Screen Balls: Passes too close to the server or the server's partner to obstruct the view of the returning side. Any serve passing behind the server's partner and the side wall is an automatic screen. The receiving player shall be given the option of playing the serve off the back wall even if it is a screen serve. On a serve to an area where a screen serve may be questionable, the receiver should indicate that he wants the screen to be called but still continue with the play.
j. Partner: (a) In doubles, if the server's partner is not in the service box with both feet on the floor and back to the side wall from the time the server begins the service motion until the ball passes the short line.
(b) A served ball that hits the doubles partner while in the doubles box results in a fault serve. In Open play (one serve), this fault may be replayed one time only per service. The second instance, on the same service, will result in a hand out or side out. k. One serve play: In one serve play, if a serve is called a screen, the server will be allowed one more opportunity to hit a legal serve. Two consecutive screen serves results in a side out. l. Dropping the ball: The ball may not be bounced anywhere but on the floor within the service zone.

Rule 4.6 - Out Serves
Any one of the following serves results in a side-out:
a. Non-front Serve: Any served ball that strikes the server's partner, or the ceiling, floor or side wall, before striking the front wall.
b. Touched Serve: Any served ball that on the rebound from the front wall touches the server, or touches the server's partner while any part of his body, or the rear wheel in wheelchair racquetball, is out of the service box, or the server's partner intentionally catches the served ball on the fly. (See Rule 4.9 (d)).
c. Out-of-Order Serve: In doubles, when either partner serves out of order. Any points which may have been scored during an out-of-order serve will be automatically void with the score reverting to the score prior to the out-of-order serve.
d. Crotch Serve: If the served ball hits any crotch in the front wall, it has not hit the front wall first, therefore it is an out. A crotch serve into the back wall is good and in play.
e. Intentional Foot or Wheel Fault: If the server or his partner intentionally foot or wheel faults, it shall be deemed a side out.
f. Out of Court Serve: Any served ball from the front wall above the 12 foot line.

Rule 4.7 - Return of Serve
a. Receiving Position
  1. The receiver(s) must stand behind the receiving line. Neither the receiver(s) nor (their) racquet(s) may enter into the safety zone until the ball bounces or crosses the receiving line.
  2. The receiver may not strike the ball on the fly until the ball passes the receiving line. The call, or non-call, may be appealed. Any violation by the receiver(s) results in a point for the server.
b. Defective Serve: To eliminate any misunderstanding, the receiving side should not catch or touch a defectively served ball until called by the referee or it has touched the floor twice or three times in Wheelchair Racquetball.
c. Fly Return: In making a fly return, the follow-through may carry the receiver or his racquet past thereceiving line.
d. Legal Return: After the ball is legally served, one of the players on the receiving side must strike the ball with his racquet, either on the fly or before the ball touches the floor twice or three times in wheelchair racquetball, in order to return the ball to the front wall either directly or after touching one or both side walls, the back wall or the ceiling, or any combination of those surfaces. A returned ball may not touch the floor before touching the front wall. It is legal to return the ball by striking the ball into the back wall first, then hitting the front wall on the fly or after hitting the side wall or ceiling.
e. Failure to Return: The failure to return a serve results in a point for the server.

Rule 4.8 - Changes of Serve
a. Side-out (Half down in Doubles): A server is entitled to continue serving until:
  1. Out Serve - He makes an out serve under Rule 4.6,or;
  2. Fault Serves - He makes two fault serves in succession under Rule 4.5, or;
  3. Hits Partner - He hits his partner with an attempted return during the rally.
  4. Return Failure - He or his partner fails to keep the ball in play by returning it as required by Rule 4.9.
  5. Avoidable Hinder - He or his partner commits an avoidable hinder under Rule 4.11.
b. Effects: In singles, retiring the server retires the side. In doubles, the side is retired when both partners have been put out except on the first serve as provided in Rule 4.2(a). When the server or the side loses the serve, the server or serving side shall become the receiver; and the receiving side, the server; and so alternately in all subsequent services of the game.

Rule 4.9 - Rallies
Each legal return after the serve is called a rally. Play during rallies shall be according to the following rules:
a. One or Both Hands: Only the head of the racquet may be used at any time to return the ball. The ball must be hit with the racquet in one or both hands. The use of any portion of the body is an out.
b. One Touch: In attempting returns, the ball may be touched only once by one player on the returning side. The ball may not be carried. (A carried ball is one which rests on the racquet long enough that the effect is more of a sling or throw than a hit.) In doubles, both partners may swing at, but only one may hit, the ball. Each violation of either (a) or (b) results in the offending player losing the rally.
c. Return Attempts
  1. In singles - if a player swings at but misses the ball in play, the player may repeat his attempt to return the ball until it touches the floor for the second time or for the third time in wheelchair racquetball.
  2. In doubles - if one player swings at but misses the ball both he and his partner may make further attempts to return the ball until it touches the floor twice or three times in wheelchair racquetball. Both partners on a side are entitles to return the ball.
  3. Hinders - If in a player's attempting to return the ball, there is an unintentional interference by an opponent, it shall be a hinder unless it is the referee's opinion that without the interference the returner could not have made a play on the ball. (See Rule 4.10).
d. Touching the Ball: Except as provided in Rule 4.10 (a)(2), any touching of a ball before it touches the floor twice, or three times in wheelchair racquetball, by a player other than the one making a return results in the offending player losing the rally.
e. Out of Court Ball
  1. After Return With A Bounce: Any ball returned to the front wall which after its first bounce on the floor goes above the out of court line or through any openings in a side wall shall be declared dead and the rally replayed.
  2. After Return Without A Bounce: Any ball returned to the front wall which on the rebound without bouncing on the floor, goes above the out of court line shall be an out or a point against the offending player. If the ball goes through any opening in a side wall it shall be declared dead and the rally replayed.
  3. No Return: Any ball not returned to the front wall, but which caroms off a player's racquet above the out of court line or into any opening in a side wall either with or without touching the front, ceiling, side or back wall, results in the offending player losing the rally.
f. Wet Ball: Before serving, the server has to see that the ball is kept dry. The ball may be inspected by the referee at any times during a game. Wetting the ball deliberately shall result in an avoidable hinder. (See Rule 4.11(9)). At the discretion of the referee, any wet ball serve shall be considered a dead ball serve. (See Rule 4.4 (e)). During a rally a suspected wet ball is in play until the rally is over.
g. Broken Ball: If there is any suspicion that a ball has broken on the serve or during a rally, play shall continue until the end of the rally. The referee or any player may request the ball be examined. If the referee decides the ball is broken or otherwise defective, a new ball shall be put into play and the rally replayed. (See Rule 4.4 (d)). The proper way to check for a broken ball is to squeeze it by hand. Checking the ball by striking it with a racquet will not be considered a valid check and shall work to the disadvantage of the player or team which struck the ball after the rally.
h. Play Stoppage
  1. If a player loses their eye protection or, foreign objects enter the court, or any outside interference occurs, the referee shall stop the play. (See Rule 4.10 (a) (6) and Rule 4.11 (7) and Rule 4.11 (11)).
  2. If a player loses any part of his equipment, except his eye protection, time should not be called until the rally is over, providing the piece of equipment does not strike an opponent or interfere with ensuing play. If it interferes, the call is an "avoidable hinder" to the offending player. (See Rule 4.11 (8)).
  3. Wheelchair racquetball - If a player, during the serve or the rally, alters the speed or direction of the chair with any part of their lower extremities, the referee shall stop the play and the call is an "avoidable hinder" to the offending player (See Rule 4.11 (10)).
Rule 4.10 - Dead Ball Hinders
Hinders are of two types - "dead ball" and "avoidable". Dead ball hinders as described in this rule result in the rally being replayed. Avoidable hinders are described in the Rule 4.11.
a. Situations: The following are dead ball hinders:
  1. Court hinders - There will be no court hinders allowed except for specific areas of a particular court which have been designated IN ADVANCE of the start of the game by the local tournament committee, or the referee in chief, or the referee of the game.
  2. Hitting Opponent - Any returned ball that touches an opponent on the fly before it returns to the front wall, unless in the referee's opinion the return clearly would not have reached the front wall. A player who has been hit by the ball can stop play and make the call, though the call must be made immediately and acknowledged by the referee.
  3. Body Contact - Any body contact with an opponent that interferes with seeing or returning the ball.
  4. Screen Ball - Any ball rebounding from the front wall close to the body of a player on the side which just returned the ball, to interfere with or prevent the returning side from seeing the ball. (See Rule 4.4 (b)).
  5. Straddle Ball - A ball passing between the legs of a player on the side which just returned the ball, if there is no fair chance to see or return the ball. A straddle ball is NOT an automatic dead ball hinder.
  6. Other Interference - Any other interference which prevents an opponent from having a fair chance to see or return the ball.
  7. Backswing Hinder - Any body or racquet contact, on the backswing or en route to or just prior to returning the ball, which impairs the hitter's ability to take a reasonable swing. This call can be made by the player attempting the return, though the call must be made immediately and is subject to the referee's approval. Note the interference may be considered an avoidable.
  8. Safety Holdup - Any player about to execute a return who believes they are likely to strike their opponent with the ball or racquet may immediately stop play and request a dead ball hinder. This call must be made immediately and is subject to acceptance and approval of the referee. (The referee will grant a dead ball hinder if they believe the holdup was reasonable and the player would have been able to return the shot, and the referee may also call an avoidable if warranted.)
b. Effect: The referee's call of hinder stops play and voids any situation which follows, such as the ball hitting the player. The only hinders that may be called by a player are described in rules (2), (7) and (8) above, and all of these are subject to the approval of the referee. A dead ball hinder stops play and the rally is replayed. The server receives two serves.
c. Avoidance: While making an attempt to return the ball, a player is entitled to a fair chance to see and return the ball. It is the duty of the side that has just served or returned the ball to move so that the receiving side may go straight to the ball and not be required to go around an opponent. The referee should be liberal in calling hinders to discourage any practice of playing the ball where an adversary cannot see it until too late. It is no excuse that the ball is "killed," unless in the opinion of the referee the ball could not be returned. Hinders shall be called without a claim by a player, especially in close plays and on game points.
d. In Doubles: In doubles, both players on a side are entitled to a fair and unobstructed chance at the ball and either one is entitled to a hinder even though it naturally would be his partner's ball and even though his partner may have attempted to play the ball or that he may already have missed it. It is not a hinder when one player hinders his partner.

Rule 4.11 - Avoidable Hinders
An avoidable hinder results in the offending player losing the rally.
  1. Failure to Move - Does not move sufficiently to allow opponent his shot.
  2. Blocking - Moves into a position effecting a block, on the opponent about to return the ball, or, in doubles, one partner moves in front of an opponent as his partner is returning the ball.
  3. Moving into Ball - Moves in the way and is struck by the ball just played by his opponent.
  4. Pushing - Deliberately pushes or shoves opponent during a rally.
  5. Audible Interference - Deliberate noise which interferes with opponent's ability to play his shot; for example, shouting, stamping feet, hitting racquet on wall, etc.
  6. Time Out - Calling for a time out by either server or receiver after the service motion begins. Audible avoidable.
  7. Equipment - At the discretion of the referee, deliberate throwing off of equipment while ball is in play. (See Rule 4.9 (h) (2)).
  8. The loss of any equipment which interferes with the play of the ball or safety of the players. (See Rule 4.9 (h) (2)).
  9. Wetting the Ball - The server has the responsibility to see that the ball is kept dry at all times. Wetting the ball deliberately shall result in an avoidable hinder. (See Rule 4.9 (f)).
  10. Touching the floor - In wheelchair racquetball, altering the speed or direction of the chair with any part of their lower extremities. (See Rule 4.9 (h) (3)).
  11. Eye protection - Eye protection must be worn properly on the bridge of the nose. Failure to do so is an automatic avoidable hinder.
  12. View Obstruction - A player moves across an opponent's line of vision just before the opponent strikes the ball.
Rule 4.12 - Rest Periods
a. Time Outs: During a game each player in singles, or each side in doubles, may request a "time out" for a towel, wiping glasses, change or adjustment of a glove or uniform. Each "time out" shall not exceed 60 seconds. For each singles player or each side in doubles, no more than 4 "time outs" shall be granted in a game to 31 points; no more than 3 "time outs" shall be granted in a game to 21 points; no more than 2 "time outs" shall be granted in a game to 15 points; and no more than 1 "time out" shall be granted in a game to 11 points except if the game is an 11 point tiebreaker, then 2 "time outs" shall be granted.
b. Injury: No time out shall be charged to a player who is injured during play. An injured player shall not be allowed more than a total of fifteen minutes of rest. If the injured player is not able to resume play after total rests of 15 minutes, the match shall be awarded to the opponent(s). On any further injury to same player, the referee in chief or his delegate, after c player will be allowed to continue. Muscle cramps and pulls, fatigue and other ailments that are not caused by direct contact (such as with the ball, racquet, wall or floor) will not be considered an injury.
c. Maintenance Delay
  1. A time out may be called by the referee, at the request of a player and after substantiation by the referee, because of faulty equipment or uniform. Two minutes are to be allowed for any uniform adjustment needed and 30 seconds for any equipment adjustment.
  2. Wheelchair - Such delay must be requested by a player and allowed by the referee for any malfunction of a wheelchair, prothesis or assistance device. The delay shall not exceed five minutes and only two delays of this kind per match may be granted to a player. If, after using both maintenance delays, a player still experiences difficulties, he has the following options: the use of his remaining "time outs", the replacement of the broken equipment and finally, the defaulting of the match.
d. Between Games: In matches played with games to 11 points, only a one minute rest period is allowed between games. In the case of a tiebreaker, a two minute rest period is allowed before the game. In matches played with games to 15 points and matches played with games to 21 points, a two minute rest period is allowed between the first and second games. A five minute rest period is allowed between the second game and the tiebreaker game.
e. Delays: If a player or team fails to report to play following the time out or rest period, the referee shall call against the offender a time out or further time out until such time as the offender is ready or has used all allotted time outs. (See Rules 3.5 (d) and 4.13 (6)).
f. Postponed Games: Any game postponed by referee shall be resumed with the same score as when postponed.
g. Bleeding: Should any external bleeding occur, the referee must halt play as soon as the rally is over, charge an injury timeout to the person who is bleeding, and not allow the match to continue until the bleeding has stopped.

Rule 4.13 - Technical Foul
The referee is empowered to deduct one point from a player's or team's score without change in service when, in the referee sole judgement, the player is being overtly and deliberately abusive. The actual invoking of this penalty is called a "Technical Foul". If the player or team against whom the technical was assessed does not resume play immediately, the referee is empowered to forfeit the match in favour of the opponent. A third technical foul called upon any one player or team during the course of a match shall result in the automatic immediate forfeiture of that match. On game winning rallies technicals will apply to that game. After the players leave the court on a game ending rally, any technicals will then apply to the next game.
Examples of actions which may result in technical fouls are:
  1. Profanity - Profanity is an automatic technical and should be invoked by the referee whenever it occurs.
  2. Excessive arguing.
  3. Threat of any nature to opponent or referee.
  4. Excessive or hard striking of the ball between rallies.
  5. Slamming of the racquet against walls or floor, slamming the door, or any action which might result in injury to the court or other players.
  6. Delay of game - Examples include
        (i) taking too much time to dry the court,
        (ii) excessive questioning of the referee about the rules,
        (iii) exceeding the time allotted for a timeout (when no timeouts are left) or between games,
        (iv) repetitive instances of serving when the opponent is signalling "not ready"
  7. Anything considered to be unsportsmanlike behaviour.
  8. Failure to wear eye protection designed for racquet sports is an automatic technical (See Rule 2.5 (b)).
Rule 4.14 - Age Group Division
a. Age Categories
  1. 8 and under
  2. 10 and under
  3. 12 and under
  4. 14 and under
  5. 16 and under
  6. 18 and under
  7. Open - all age groups
  8. Veteran - 30 and over
  9. Senior - 35 and over
  10. Veteran Senior - 40 and over
  11. Master - 45 and over
  12. Veteran Master - 50 and over
  13. Golden Master - 55 and over
  14. Senior Golden Master - 60 and over
  15. Veteran Gold Master - 65 and over
  16. Open Wheelchair Event - all age groups
b. Age Eligibility
  1. Age eligibility effective date for groups 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 are as of January 1st.
  2. All other age group divisions age eligibility is determined as of the first day of the tournament.
c. Doubles Teams
  1. Age group divisions apply as per (a) with the addition of "Mixed Doubles".
  2. Age eligibility applies as per (b).
  3. A doubles team shall consist of two players who meet either the age requirements or player classification requirements to participate in a particular division of play. A team with different skill levels must play in the division of the player with the higher level of ability. When playing in an adult age division, the team must play in the division of the younger player. When playing in a junior age division, the team must play in the division of the older player.
  4. A change in playing partners may be made so long as the first match of the posted team has not begun. For this purpose only the match will be considered started once the teams have been called to the court. The team must notify the tournament director or their delegate of the change prior to the beginning of the match.
d. Wheelchair Event Participants
  1. Any individual with significant permanent neuro muscular skeleton disability (spinal cord disorder, poliomyelitis, amputation, etc.) who will benefit through the opportunity to compete were it not for the wheelchair adaptation, is eligible.
  2. The participant may wear an appliance that is medically prescribed providing it does not jeopardize the safety of others, and that he does not use it to any unfair advantage.
  3. The participant may secure any portion of his body to the wheelchair.
Rule 4.15 - Team Competition
  1. Where team competitions is involved, coaches or representatives of such teams are bound by the same rules as players as far as Rule 4.13 is concerned to be charged against their player.
  2. No coaches or representatives are allowed in the courts at any time during a match. Failure to observe this is a technical foul and shall be charged against their player.
Rule 4.16 - Loss of Point Penalty
If the server or the receiver is, in the referee’s opinion, taking too much time in commencing play, that player will be accessed with a "Loss of Point" penalty. The "Loss of Point" penalty is similar in application to a technical but differs in that it is not counted as a technical, hence the player’s number of allowed technicals is not decremented.

If a player is seen to abuse this penalty (ie. Not seeming to care if a loss of point occurs, and continually committing this infraction, as they may be leading and in control), the referee has the discretionary power to apply a technical to that player for unsportmanship behavior.

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Part V - Tournaments
Rule 5.1 - Draws
If possible, all draws shall be made at least two days but preferably more before the tournament commences. If doubt exists about the correct seeding method of drawing, consult the Racquetball Canada (RC) office. For national tournaments the National Ranking Commissioner shall be consulted regarding draws.

Rule 5.2 - Scheduling
a. Preliminary Matches: If one or more contestants are entered in both singles and doubles, they may be required to play singles and doubles on the same day or night with little rest between matches. This is a risk assumed on entering both singles and doubles. If possible the schedule should provide at least a one hour rest period between all matches.
b. Final Matches: Where one or more players have reached the finals in both singles and doubles, it is recommended that the doubles match be played on the day preceding the singles. This would assure more rest between the final matches. If both final matches must be played on the same day or night, the following procedure is recommended:
  1. The singles match be played first.
  2. A rest period of not less than ONE HOUR be allowed between the finals in singles and doubles.
Rule 5.3 - Notice of Matches
After the first round of matches, it is the responsibility of each player to check the posted schedules to determine the time and place of each subsequent match. If any change is made in the schedule after posting it shall be the duty of the chairman or his designate to notify the players of the change.

Rule 5.4 - Third Place
In championship tournaments; nationals, regional, provincial, etc., the loser in the semi-finals shall play for third place.

Rule 5.5 - Regional Tournaments
a. Canada is divided into two regions: Western and Eastern for purposes of the Annual Regional Tournaments. The Western comprises British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba and Yukon and Northwest Territories while the Eastern includes Ontario, Quebec, New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, P.E.I. and Newfoundland. Players from Manitoba have the option of competing in the Eastern Region if the distance happens to be less in a given year.
b. A player may compete in only one regional tournament per year.
c. A player must participate in the region of his permanent residence (unless residing temporarily in another region as in the case of attending school, temporary job transfer, etc.).
d. A player can participate in only two events in a regional tournament. Doubles if chosen will count as one event.
e. Awards and remunerations to subsequent championships will be noted on entry blanks, if applicable. The number and categories of qualifying players will also be noted.

Rule 5.6 - Tournament Management
In all RC sanctioned tournaments, the tournament chairman and/or the RC national representative in attendance may decide on a change of courts after the completion of any tournament game if such a change will accommodate better spectator conditions.

Rule 5.7 - Tournament Conduct
In all RC sanctioned tournaments the referee is empowered to default a match if an individual player or team conducts itself to the detriment of the tournament and the game. (See Rule 4.13).

Rule 5.8 - Racquetball Canada Eligibility
Any paid-up C.R.A. member in good standing may compete in any RC sanctioned tournament.

Rule 5.9 - Canadian Championships
a. Since 1975 an Annual Canadian Championships is held for which only Canadian residents or citizens are eligible.
b. Depending on court availability, the tournament committee has the right to restrict entries in any given category, however every attempt must be made to accommodate as many players as possible. Out of town players should have priority and local players would play off in advance for available spots if necessary.
c. If special funds are available to offset travel and/or other expenses, notification will be given and either qualifying competitions will be held in each province to nominate official teams or these teams will be chosen by the RC provincial representative based on performance during the given year.
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Multi Bounce

Additional Rule 6.0 Multi Bounce :
Racquetball Canada's standard rules governing racquetball play will be followed except for the modifications which follow.

Additional Rule 6.1 Basic Return Rule :
In general, the ball remains in play as long as it is bouncing. However, the player may swing only once at the ball and the ball is considered dead at the point it stops bouncing and begins to roll. Also, anytime the ball rebounds off the back wall, it must be struck before it crosses the short line on the way to the front wall, except as explained in Rule 6.2.

Additional Rule 6.2 Blast Rule :
If the ball caroms from the front wall to the back wall on the fly, the player may hit the ball from any place on the court including past the short line so long as the ball is still bouncing.

Additional Rule 6.3 Front Wall Lines :
Two parallel lines (tape may be used) should be placed across the front wall such that the bottom edge of one line is 3 feet above the floor and the bottom edge of the other line is 1 foot above the floor. At all times, any ball that hits the front wall (i) below the 3-foot line and (ii) either on or above the 1- foot line must be returned before it bounces a third time. However, if the ball hits below the 1-foot line, it must be returned before it bounces twice. If the ball hits on or above the 3-foot line, the ball must be returned as described in the basic return rule.

Additional Rule 6.4 Games and Matches :
All games are played to 11 points and the first side to win two games, wins the match.

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One-Wall & Three-Wall
Basically racquetball rules for one-wall, three-wall and four- wall are the same with the following exceptions:

One-Wall
Court Size: Wall shall be 20 ft. in width and 16 ft. high, floor 20 ft. in width and 34 ft. from the wall to the back edge of the long line. There should be a minimum of 3 feet beyond the long line and 6 feet outside each side line to permit movement area for the players.
Short Line: Back edge 16 feet from the wall.
Service Lines: Lines at least 16 inches long, their back edge is parallel to and midway between the long and short lines, extending in from the side lines. The imaginary extension and joining of these lines indicates the service line.
Service Zone: Floor area between the outer edges of the short, side and service lines.
Receiving Zone: Floor area in back of short line bounded by and including the long and side lines.

Three-Wall
Serve: A serve that goes beyond the side walls on the fly is played or side out. A serve that goes beyond the long line on a fly but within the side walls in a "long serve.".
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Instructions of Referees to Players
  • Introduce yourself to players and toss coin to determine first service. Mark on scorecard the first service for all games. In doubles, mark the order of first and second servers for each team.
  • Alert players to any local court rulings.
  • Ask players for their aid in calling skip-in and double and triples bounces. Be sure they understand that the referee will make ALL calls and his decision will be final.
  • Inform players on the rest periods between games and the amount of time out(s) allowed per game.
Instructions to Referees on Match
  • Have ample supply of towels for time-outs and possible wet floor.
  • If you are uncertain of a play regarding double bounce or skip-in, call it as you see it. DO NOT CALL ANYTHING YOU DO NOT SEE, even if it appears that the player might not have picked up the ball. If such player did not get the ball it is his obligation to call it on himself. NEVER ASK FOR THE OPINION OF THE SPECTATORS.
  • Referee calls all hinders except:
    1. if the player holds up his swing to avoid hitting his opponent. If the player has an opportunity to hit the ball but did not for safety reasons, it is a hinder.
    2. if both players agree that a hinder has occurred that the referee has not seen, such as bumping or stepping on a foot.
  • If a player is hit by a racquet because he did not give his opponent a full backswing and follow through ("crowding") it shall be an avoidable hinder.
  • Remember, in doubles both players must be given a fair and unobstructed chance at the ball.
  • No "warnings" should be given during a match. Warn players before the match.
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Racquetball Canada
The Racquetball Canada is an affiliate member of the following agencies:
  • International Racquetball Federation
  • Pan American Racquetball Confederation
  • Canadian Olympic Association
  • Canadian Wheelchair Sports Association
  • Coaching Association of Canada
  • Sports Federation of Canada
The International Racquetball Federation is officially recognized by the International Olympic Committee and is a member of the General Association of International Sports Federation.

The Racquetball Canada is represented at the provincial level through the following affiliated associations:
  • British Columbia Racquetball
  • Association
  • Alberta Racquetball Association
  • Racquetball Saskatchewan
  • Manitoba Racquetball Association
  • Racquetball Ontario
  • Quebec Racquetball Association
  • New Brunswick Racquetball Association
  • Racquetball P.E.I.
  • Nova Scotia Racquetball Association
  • Newfoundland Racquetball Association
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Reproduction of this material in whole or in part without the expressed written consent of the Racquetball Canada is prohibited.
Racquetball Canada Revised edition, September 2004