AARA Racquetball Rules

from 1996-97 AARA Rules of Racquetball


The complete official rules of racquetball can be found at USRA Official Rules of Racquetball. This shortened excerpt is taken from the 1996-1997 version and should suffice for play at the IMA. Sections on tournaments, officials, and modifications for people with disabilities have been deleted from this version for brevity.

Rulebook Index



Racquetball may be played by two or four players. When played by two it is called singles and when played by four, doubles. A non-tournament variation of the game that is played by three players is called cutthroat.

Racquetball is a competitive game in which a strung racquet is used to serve and return the ball.

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 player (or team in doubles) is unable to hit the ball before it touches the floor twice, is unable to return the ball in such a manner that it touches the front wall before it touches the floor, or when a hinder is called.

Points are scored only by the serving side when it serves an irretrievable serve (an ace) or wins a rally. Losing the serve is called a sideout in singles. In doubles, when the first server loses the serve it is called a handout and when the second server loses the serve it is a sideout.

A match is won by the first side winning two games. The first two games of a match are played to 15 points. If each side wins one game, a tiebreaker game is played to 11 points.


  1. 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.
  2. 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 of the change prior to the beginning of the match.


  1. Each entrant shall be entitled to participate in a minimum of two matches. Therefore, losers of their first match shall have the opportunity to compete in a consolation bracket of their own division. In draws of less than seven players, a round robin may be offered. See Rule 5.5 about how to determine the winner of a round robin event.
  2. Consolation matches may be waived at the discretion of the tournament director, but this waiver must be in writing on the tournament application.
  3. Preliminary consolation matches will be two of three games to 11 points. Semifinal and final matches will follow the regular scoring format.


The specifications for the standard four-wall racquetball court are:

  1. Dimensions. The dimensions shall be 20 feet wide, 40 feet long and 20 feet high, with a back wall at least 12 feet high. All surfaces shall be in play, with the exception of any gallery opening or surfaces designated as court hinders.
  2. Markings. Racquetball courts shall be marked with lines 1 1/2 inches wide as follows:
    1. Short Line. The back edge of the short line is midway between, and is parallel with, the front and back walls.
    2. Service Line. The front edge of the service line is parallel with, and five feet in front of, the back edge of the short line.
    3. Service Zone. The service zone is the five-foot area between the outer edges of the short line and service line.
    4. Service Boxes. The service boxes are located at each end of the service zone and are designated by lines parallel with the side walls. The edge of the line nearest to the center of the court shall be 18 inches from the nearest side wall.
    5. Drive Serve Lines. The drive serve lines, which form the drive serve zone, are parallel with the side wall and are within the service zone. The edge of the line nearest to the center of the court shall be three feet from the nearest side wall.
    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 from the back edge of the short line. The receiving line begins with a line 21 inches long that extends from each side wall. These lines are connected by an alternate series of six-inch spaces and six-inch lines. This will result in a line composed of 17 six-inch spaces, 16 six-inch lines, and two 21-inch lines.
    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 Rules 4.11 (k) and 4.12.


  1. The standard racquetball shall be 2 1/4 inches in diameter; weigh approximately 1.4 ounces; have a hardness of 55-60 inches durometer; and bounce 68-72 inches from a 100-inch drop at a temperature of 70-74 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Only a ball having the endorsement or approval of the AARA may be used in an AARA sanctioned tournament.


  1. A ball shall be selected by the referee for use in each match. During the match the referee may, on discretion or at the request of a player or team, replace the ball. Balls that are not round or which bounce erratically shall not be used.
  2. If possible, the referee and players should agree to an alternate ball, so that in the event of breakage, the second ball can be put into play immediately.


  1. The racquet, including bumper guard and all solid parts of the handle, may not exceed 21 inches in length.
  2. The racquet frame may be any material judged to be safe.
  3. The racquet frame must include a cord that must be securely attached to the player's wrist.
  4. The string of the racquet should be gut, monofilament, nylon, graphite, plastic, metal, or a combination thereof, providing the strings do not mark or deface the ball.
  5. Using an illegal racquet will result in forfeiture of the game in progress or, if discovered between games, forfeiture of the preceding game.

Rule 2.5 APPAREL

  1. Effective September 1, 1995, lensed eyewear designed for racquetball, and which meets or exceeds ASTM F803 or Canadian (CSA) impact standards, is required apparel. This rule applies to all persons, including those who must wear corrective lenses. The eyewear must be worn as designed and at all times. A player who fails to wear proper eyewear will be assessed a technical foul and a timeout to obtain proper eyewear. A second infraction in the same match will result in immediate forfeiture of the match. [See Rule 4.18(a)(9)]. The current AARA Approved Eyewear list is published periodically in RACQUETBALL Magazine, and is available from the AARA's national office.
  2. Clothing and Shoes. The clothing may be of any color; however, a player may be required to change wet, extremely loose fitting, or otherwise distracting garments. Insignias and writing on the clothing must be considered to be in good taste by the tournament director. Shoes must have soles which do not mark or damage the floor.
  3. Equipment Requirements During Warm-up. Approved eyeguards must be worn and wrist cords must be used during any on-court warm-up period. The referee should give a technical warning to any person who fails to comply and assess a technical foul if that player continues to not comply after receiving such a warning.


Rule 4.1 SERVE
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.

Rule 4.2 START
The server may not start the service motion until the referee has called the score or "second serve." The serve is started from any place within the service zone. (Certain drive serves are an exception, see Rule 4.6.) Neither the ball, nor any part of either foot may extend beyond either line of the service zone when initiating the service motion. Stepping on, but not over, the lines is permitted. When completing the service motion, the server may step over the service (front) line provided that some part of both feet remain on or inside the line until the served ball passes the short line. The server may not step over the short line until the ball passes the short line. See Rules 4.10(a) and 4.11(j) for penalties for violations.

Rule 4.3 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. Once the service motion begins, the ball must be bounced on the floor in the zone and be struck by the racquet before it bounces a second time. After being struck, the ball must hit the front wall first and on the rebound hit the floor beyond the back edge of the short line, either with or without touching one of the side walls.

The service motion shall not begin until the referee has called the score or the second serve and the server has visually checked the receiver. The referee shall call the score as both server and receiver prepare to return to their respective positions, shortly after the previous rally has ended.

Rule 4.5 DELAYS
Except as noted in Rule 4.5 (b), referee may call a technical foul for delays exceeding 10 seconds.

  1. 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.)
  2. Serving while the receiving player/team is signalling not ready is a fault serve.
  3. After the score is called, if the server looks at the receiver and the receiver is not signalling 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.

There is a drive serve line 3 feet from each side wall in the service zone. Viewed one at a time, each drive serve line divides the service zone into a 3-foot and a 17-foot section. The player may drive serve between the body and the side wall nearest to where the service motion began only if the player, the racquet, and ball (until it is struck) starts and remains outside of that 3-foot drive service zone until the served ball crosses the short line. A drive serve involving "any continuous movement" (see Rule 4.3 Manner) beginning in one 3-foot drive service zone and continuing into the opposite 3-foot drive service zone, is a fault serve.

  1. The drive serve zones are not observed for cross-court drive serves, the hard-Z, soft-Z, lob or half-lob serves.
  2. The 3-foot line is part of the 3-foot zone and defines a plane that, if broken, is an infraction.
  3. The drive serve 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 an infraction.


  1. Order of Serve. Each team shall inform the referee of the order of service which shall be followed throughout that game. The order of serve may be changed between games. At the beginning of each game, when the first server of the first team to serve is out, the team is out. Thereafter, both players on each team shall serve until the team receives a handout and a sideout.
  2. Partner's Position. On each serve, the server's partner shall stand erect with back to the side wall and with both feet on the floor within the service box from the moment the server begins the service motion until the served ball passes the short line. Violations are called foot faults. However, if the server's partner enters the safety zone before the ball passes the short line, the server loses service.

Defective serves are of three types resulting in penalties as follows:

  1. Dead-Ball Serve. A dead-ball serve results in no penalty and the server is given another serve (without canceling a prior fault serve).
  2. Fault Serve. Two fault serves result in an out (either a sideout or a handout.)
  3. Out Serve. An out serve results in an out (either a sideout or a handout.)

Dead-ball serves do not cancel any previous fault serve. The following are dead-ball serves:

  1. Court Hinders. A serve that takes an irregular bounce because it hit a wet spot or an irregular surface on the court is a dead-ball serve. Also, any serve that hits any surface designated by local rules as an obstruction.
  2. Broken Ball. If the ball is determined to have broken on the serve, a new ball shall be substituted and the serve shall be replayed, not cancelling any prior fault serve.

The following serves are faults and any two in succession result in an out:

  1. Foot Faults. A foot fault results when:
    1. The server does not begin the service motion with both feet in the service zone.
    2. The server steps completely over the service line (no part of the foot on or inside the service zone) before the served ball crosses the short line.
    3. In doubles, 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. See Rule 4.7 (b).
  2. Short Service. A short serve is any served ball that first hits the front wall and, on the rebound, hits the floor on or in front of the short line either with or without touching a side wall.
  3. Three Wall Serve. A three-wall serve is any served ball that first hits the front wall and, on the rebound, strikes both side walls before touching the floor.
  4. Ceiling Serve. A ceiling serve is any served ball that first hits the front wall and then touches the ceiling (with or without touching a side wall).
  5. Long Serve. A long serve is a served ball that first hits the front wall and rebounds to the back wall before touching the floor (with or without touching a side wall).
  6. Out-of-Court Serve. An out-of-court serve is any served ball that first hits the front wall and, before striking the floor, goes out of the court.
  7. Bouncing Ball Outside Service Zone. Bouncing the ball outside the service zone as a part of the service motion is a fault serve.
  8. Illegal Drive Serve. A drive serve in which the player fails to observe the 17-foot drive service zone outlined in Rule 4.6.
  9. Screen Serve. A served ball that first hits the front wall and on the rebound passes so closely to the server, or server's partner in doubles, that it prevents the receiver from having a clear view of the ball. (The receiver is obligated to place himself in good court position, near center court, to obtain that view.) The screen serve is the only fault serve which may not be appealed.
  10. Serving before the Receiver is Ready. A serve is made while the receiver is not ready as described in Rule 4.5.
  11. Ball Hits Partner. A served ball that hits the doubles partner while in the doubles box results in a fault serve.

Rule 4.11 OUT SERVES
Any of the following serves results in an out:

  1. Consecutive Fault Serves. See Rule 4.10.
  2. Missed Serve Attempt. Any attempt to strike the ball that results in a total miss or in the ball touching any part of the server's body. Also, allowing the ball to bounce more than once during the service motion.
  3. Touched Serve. Any served ball that on the rebound from the front wall touches the server or server's racquet, or any ball intentionally stopped or caught by the server or server's partner.
  4. Fake or Balk Serve. Any movement of the racquet toward the ball during the serve which is non-continuous and done for the purpose of deceiving the receiver. If a balk serve occurs, but the referee believes that no deceit was involved, the option of declaring "no serve" and having the serve replayed without penalty can be exercised.
  5. Illegal Hit. An illegal hit includes contacting the ball twice, carrying the ball, or hitting the ball with the handle of the racquet or part of the body or uniform.
  6. Non-Front Wall Serve. Any served ball that does not strike the front wall first.
  7. Crotch Serve. Any served ball that hits the crotch of the front wall and floor, front wall and side wall, or front wall and ceiling is an out serve (because it did not hit the front wall first). A serve into the crotch of the back wall and floor is a good serve and in play. A served ball that hits the crotch of the side wall and floor beyond the short line is in play.
  8. Out-of-Order Serve. In doubles, when either partner serves out of order, the points scored by that server will be subtracted and an out serve will be called: if the second server serves out of order, the out serve will be applied to the first server and the second server will resume serving. If the player designated as the first server serves out of order, a sideout will be called. The referee should call no serve as soon as an out-of-order serve occurs. If no points are scored while the team is out of order, only the out penalty will have to assessed. However, if points are scored before the out of order condition is noticed and the referee cannot recall the number, the referee may enlist the aid of the line judges (if they are being used) to recall the number of points to be deducted.
  9. Ball Hits Partner. A served ball that hits the doubles partner while outside the doubles box results in loss of serve.
  10. Safety Zone Violation. If the server, or doubles partner, enters into the safety zone before the served ball passes the short line, it shall result in the loss of serve.


  1. Receiving Position
    1. The receiver may not enter the safety zone until the ball bounces or crosses the receiving line.
    2. On the fly return attempt, the receiver may not strike the ball until the ball breaks the plane of the receiving line. The receiver's follow-through may carry the receiver or the racquet past the receiving line.
    3. Neither the receiver nor the racquet may break the plane of the short line, except if the ball is struck after rebounding off the back wall.
    4. Any violation by the receiver results in a point for the server.
  2. Defective Serve. A player on the receiving side may not intentionally catch or touch a served ball (such as an apparently long or short serve) until the referee has made a call or the ball has touched the floor for a second time. Violation results in a point.
  3. Legal Return. After a legal serve, a player on the receiving team must strike the ball on the fly or after the first bounce, and before the ball touches the floor the second time; and 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 must touch the front wall before touching the floor.
  4. Failure to Return. The failure to return a serve results in a point for the server.
  5. Other Provisions. Except as noted in this rule (4.12), the return of serve is subject to all provisions of Rules 4.14 through 4.16.


  1. Outs. A server is entitled to continue serving until:
    1. Out Serve. See Rule 4.11.
    2. Two Consecutive Fault Serves. See Rule 4.12 (c).
    3. Avoidable Hinder. Player or partner commits an avoidable hinder which results in an out. See Rule 4.16.
  2. Sideout. In singles, retiring the server is a sideout. In doubles, the side is retired when both partners have lost service, except that the team which serves first at the beginning of each game loses the serve when the first server is retired. See Rule 4.7.
  3. Effect of Sideout. When the server (or serving team) receives a sideout, the server becomes the receiver and the receiver becomes the server.

Rule 4.14 RALLIES
All of the play which occurs after the successful return of serve is called the rally. Play shall be conducted according to the following rules:

  1. Legal Hits. Only the head of the racquet may be used at any time to return the ball. The racquet may be held in one or both hands. Switching hands to hit a ball, touching the ball with any part of the body or uniform, or removing the wrist thong results in a loss of the rally.
  2. One Touch. The player or team trying to return the ball may touch or strike the ball only once or else the rally is lost. 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.)
  3. Failure to Return. Any of the following constitutes a failure to make a legal return during a rally:
    1. The ball bounces on the floor more than once before being hit.
    2. The ball does not reach the front wall on the fly.
    3. The ball caroms off a player's racquet into a gallery or wall opening without first hitting the front wall.
    4. A ball which obviously does not have the velocity or direction to hit the front wall strikes another player.
    5. A ball struck by one player on a team hits that player or that player's partner.
    6. Committing an avoidable hinder. See Rule 4.16.
    7. Switching hands during a rally.
    8. Failure to use wrist thong on racquet.
    9. Touching the ball with the body or uniform.
    10. Carrying or slinging the ball with the racquet.
  4. Effect of Failure to Return. Violations of Rules 4.14 (a) through (c) result in a loss of rally. If the serving player or team loses the rally, it is an out. If the receiver loses the rally, it results in a point for the server.
  5. Return Attempts. The ball remains in play until it touches the floor a second time, regardless of how many walls it makes contact with -- including the front wall.
    1. In singles, if a player swings at the ball and misses it, the player may continue to attempt to return the ball until it touches the floor for the second time.
    2. In doubles, if one player swings at the ball and misses it, both partners may make further attempts to return the ball until it touches the floor the second time. Both partners on a side are entitled to return the ball.
  6. Out of Court Ball
    1. After return. Any ball returned to the front wall which, on the rebound or the first bounce, goes into the gallery or through any opening in a side wall shall be declared dead and the server shall receive two serves.
    2. No Return. Any ball not returned to the front wall, but which caroms off a player's racquet into the gallery or into any opening in a side wall either with or without touching the ceiling, side wall, or back wall, shall be an out for the player failing to make the return, or a point for the opponent.
  7. Broken Ball. If there is any suspicion that a ball has broken 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 the ball will be replaced and the rally replayed. The server will get two serves. The only 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.)
  8. Play Stoppage
    1. If a foreign object enters the court, or any other outside interference occurs, the referee shall stop the play immediately and declare a dead-ball hinder.
    2. If a player loses any apparel, equipment, or other article, the referee shall stop play immediately and declare an avoidable hinder or dead-ball hinder as described in Rule 4.16 (i).
  9. Replays. Whenever a rally is replayed for any reason, the server is awarded two serves. A previous fault serve is not considered.

A rally is replayed without penalty and the server receives two serves whenever a dead-ball hinder occurs.

  1. Situations
    1. Court Hinders. The referee should stop play immediately whenever the ball hits any part of the court that was designated in advance as a court hinder (such as a door handle). The referee should also stop play:
      1. When the ball takes an irregular bounce as a result of contacting a rough surface (such as court light or vent) or after striking a wet spot on the floor or wall.
      2. When, in the referee's opinion, the irregular bounce affected the rally. A court hinder is the only type of hinder that is appealable. See Rule 3.7 (a).
    2. Ball Hits Opponent. When an opponent is hit by a return shot in flight, it is a dead-ball hinder. If the opponent is struck by a ball which obviously did not have the velocity or direction to reach the front wall, it is not a hinder, and the player who hit the ball will lose the rally. 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. If body contact occurs which the referee believes was sufficient to stop the rally, either for the purpose of preventing injury by further contact or because the contact prevented a player from being able to make a reasonable return, the referee shall call a hinder. Incidental body contact in which the offensive player clearly will have the advantage should not be called a hinder, unless the offensive player obviously stops play. Contact with the racquet on the follow-through normally is not considered a hinder.
    4. Screen Ball. Any ball rebounding from the front wall so close to the body of the defensive player that it prevents the offensive player from having a clear view of the ball. The referee should be careful not to make the screen call so quickly that it takes away a good offensive opportunity.) A ball that passes between the legs of any player who has just returned the ball is not automatically a screen. It depends on the proximity of the players. Again, the call should work to the advantage of the offensive player.
    5. Backswing Hinder. Any body or racquet contact, on the backswing or on the way 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 hinder. See Rule 4.16.
    6. Safety Holdup. Any player about to execute a return who believes that striking the opponent with the ball or racquet is likely, 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 it is believed the holdup was reasonable and the player would have been able to return the shot, and the referee may also call an avoidable hinder if warranted.)
    7. Other Interference. Any other unintentional interference which prevents an opponent from having a fair chance to see or return the ball. Example: When a ball from another court enters the court during a rally or when a referee's call on an adjacent court obviously distracts a player.
  2. Effect of Hinders. 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), (5), and (6) 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.
  3. 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 responsibility of the side that has just hit the ball to move so the receiving side may go straight to the ball and have an unobstructed view of the ball. In the judgment of the referee however, the receiver must make a reasonable effort to move towards the ball and have a reasonable chance to return the ball in order for a hinder to be called.

An avoidable hinder results in the loss of the rally. An avoidable hinder does not necessarily have to be an intentional act and is the result of any of the following:

  1. Failure to Move. A player does not move sufficiently to allow an opponent a shot straight to the front wall as well as a cross-court shot which is a shot directly to the front wall at an angle that would cause the ball to rebound directly to the rear corner farthest from the player hitting the ball. Also when a player moves in such a direction that it prevents an opponent from taking either of these shots.
  2. Stroke Interference. This occurs when a player moves, or fails to move, so that the opponent returning the ball does not have a free, unimpeded swing. This includes unintentionally moving in a direction which prevents the opponent from making an open, offensive shot.
  3. Blocking. Moves into a position which blocks the opponent from getting to, or returning, the ball; or in doubles, a player moves in front of an opponent as the player's partner is returning the ball.
  4. Moving into the Ball. Moves in the way and is struck by the ball just played by the opponent.
  5. Pushing. Deliberately pushes or shoves opponent during a rally.
  6. Intentional Distractions. Deliberate shouting, stamping of feet, waiving of racquet, or any other manner of disrupting one's opponent.
  7. View Obstruction. A player moves across an opponent's line of vision just before the opponent strikes the ball.
  8. Wetting the Ball. The players, particularly the server, should insure that the ball is dry prior to the serve. Any wet ball that is not corrected prior to the serve shall result in an avoidable hinder against the server.
  9. Apparel or Equipment Loss. If a player loses any apparel, equipment, or other article, play shall be immediately stopped and that player shall be called for an avoidable hinder, unless the player has just hit a shot that could not be retrieved. If the loss of equipment is caused by a player's opponent, then a dead-ball hinder should be called. If the opponent's action is judged to have been avoidable, then the opponent should be called for an avoidable hinder.

Rule 4.17 TIMEOUTS

  1. Rest Periods. Each player or team is entitled to three 30-second timeouts in games to 15 and two 30-second timeouts in games to 11. Timeouts may not be called by either side after service motion has begun. Calling for a timeout when none remain or after service motion has begun, or taking more than 30 seconds in a timeout, will result in the assessment of a technical foul for delay of game.
  2. Injury. If a player is injured during the course of a match as a result of contact, such as with the ball, racquet, wall or floor, an injury timeout will be awarded. While a player may call more than one timeout for the same injury or for additional injuries which occur during the match, a player is not allowed more than a total of 15 minutes of rest during a match. If the injured player is not able to resume play after total rest of 15 minutes, the match shall be awarded to the opponent.
    1. Should any external bleeding occur, the referee should 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.
    2. Muscle cramps and pulls, fatigue, and other ailments that are not caused by direct contact on the court will not be considered an injury.
  3. Equipment Timeouts. Players are expected to keep all clothing and equipment in good, playable condition and are expected to use regular timeouts and time between games for adjustment and replacement of equipment. If a player or team is out of timeouts and the referee determines that an equipment change or adjustment is necessary for fair and safe continuation of the match, the referee may award an equipment timeout not to exceed 2 minutes. The referee may allow additional time under unusual circumstances.
  4. Between Games. The rest period between the first two games of a match is 2 minutes. If a tiebreaker is necessary, the rest period between the second and third game is 5 minutes.
  5. Postponed Games. Any games postponed by referees shall be resumed with the same score as when postponed.


  1. Technical Fouls. The referee is empowered to deduct one point from a player's or team's score when, in the referee's sole judgment, the player is being overtly and deliberately abusive. If the player or team against whom the technical foul was assessed does not resume play immediately, the referee is empowered to forfeit the match in favor of the opponent. Some examples of actions which may result in technical fouls are:
    1. Profanity.
    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 damage to the court or injury to other players.
    6. Delay of game. Examples include:
      1. To much time to dry the court
      2. Ecessive questioning of the referee about the rules,
      3. Eceeding the time allotted for timeouts or between games
      4. Clling a timeout when none remain, or after the service motion begins
      5. Tking more than ten seconds to serve or be ready to receive serve.
    7. Intentional front line foot fault to negate a bad lob serve.
    8. Anything considered to be unsportsmanlike behavior.
    9. Failure to wear lensed eyewear designed for racquet sports [See Rule 2.5(a)] is an automatic technical foul on the first infraction, plus a mandatory timeout (to acquire the proper eyewear) will be charged against the offending player. A second infraction by that player during the match will result in automatic forfeiture of the match.
  2. Technical Warnings. If a player's behavior is not so severe as to warrant a technical foul, a technical warning may be issued without point deduction.
  3. Effect of Technical Foul or Warning. If a referee issues a technical foul, one point shall be removed from the offender's score. If a referee issues a technical warning, it shall not result in a loss of rally or point and shall be accompanied by a brief explanation of the reason for the warning. The issuing of the technical foul or warning has no effect on who will be serving when play resumes. If a technical foul occurs between games or when the offender has no points, the result will be that the offender's score will revert to minus one (-1).


In general, the AARA's standard rules governing racquetball play will be followed except for the modifications which follow.

Rule 7.1 ONE-WALL
There are two playing surfaces the front wall and the floor. The wall is 20 feet wide and 16 feet high. The floor is 20 feet wide and 34 feet to the back edge of the long line. To permit movement by players, there should be a minimum of three feet (six feet is recommended) beyond the long line and six feet outside each side line.

  1. Short Line. The back edge of the short line is 16 feet from the wall.
  2. Service Markers. Lines at least six inches long which are parallel with, and midway between, the long and short lines. The extension of the service markers form the imaginary boundary of the service line.
  3. Service Zone. The entire floor area inside and including the short line, side lines and service line.
  4. Receiving Zone. The entire floor area in back of the short line, including the side lines and the long line.

The front wall is 20 feet wide and 20 feet high. The side walls are 20 feet long and 20 feet high, with the side walls tapering to 12 feet high. The floor length and court markings are the same as a four wall court.

The court is 20 feet wide, 20 feet high and 40 feet long. The side walls may taper from 20 feet high at the front wall down to 12 feet high at the end of the court. All court markings are the same as a four wall court.

A serve that goes beyond the side walls on the fly is an out. A serve that goes beyond the long line on a fly, but within the side walls, is a fault.


Apparel 2.5
  • Appeal Limit,Loss
  • 3.6
  • Outcome of Appeals
  • 3.8
  • What May be Appealed
  • 3.7(a)
    Blocking 4.16(c)
    Body Contact 4.15(a)(3) and 4.15(a)(5)
    Broken Ball
  • During the Rally
  • 4.14(g)
  • On Return of Serve
  • 4.12(e)
  • On the Serve
  • 4.9(b)
  • During the Rally
  • 4.14(b)
  • On the Serve
  • 4.11(f)
    Delays 4.5; 4.17; and 4.18(a)(6)
  • Blocking
  • 4.16(c)
  • Change in Partners
  • 1.6
  • Order of Serve
  • 4.7(a)
  • Out-of-Order Serve
  • 4.11(i)
  • Partner's Position During Serve
  • 4.7(b) and 4.10(a)(3)
  • Return Attempts
  • 4.14(e)(2)
  • Team Classification
  • 1.6
    Drive Serve Rule 4.6
    Eight and Under Multi-Bounce Modifications6
    Eyeguards 2.5(a); 2.5(c); and 4.18(a)(9)
    Five-Foot Rule 4.12(a)
    Foot Faults 4.10(a)
    Hinders - Avoidable 4.16
    Hinders - Dead-ball
  • Generally
  • 4.15
  • Court Hinders
  • 4.15(a)(1)
  • Safety Holdup
  • 4.15(a)(6)
  • Screen
  • 4.15(a)(4)
    IRT -- Men's Professional11
    Legal/Illegal Hits 4.11(f); 4.14(a); and 4.14(b)
    Line Judges 3.6
    Loss of Apparel/Equipment 4.16(i) and 4.14(h)(2)
    Out-Of-Court Ball 4.10(f) and 4.14(f)
    Postponed Games 4.17(e)
    Profanity 4.18(a)(1)
    Professional Modifications 11
    Racquet Specifications 2.4
    Return of Serve 4.12
  • Appointment and Removal
  • 3.3
    Return of Serve 4.12
    Rule Interpretations 3.9
    Safety Holdup 4.15(a)(6)
    Safety Zone Violation by Server4.11(j)
  • Changes of Serve
  • 4.13
  • Dead-Ball Serves
  • 4.9
  • Drive Serves
  • 4.6
  • Doubles
  • 4.7
  • Fault Serves
  • 4.10
  • Order (Who Serves First)
  • 4.1
  • Out Serves
  • 4.11
  • Screen Serves
  • 4.10(i)
    Technical Fouls and Warnings 4.18
    Ten-Second Rule 4.4 and 4.5
  • Regular
  • 4.17(a)
  • Equipment
  • 4.17(c)
  • Injuries
  • 4.17(b)
    Tournaments 5

    The AARA Official Rules are copyright 1996, all rights reserved, and may not be reproduced, either in whole or in part, without written permission of the publisher. For information about reprint rights and fees, please contact:

    The American Amateur Racquetball Association
    1685 West Uintah
    Colorado Springs
    CO 80904-2921
    Tel: 719/635-5396
    Fax: 719/635-0685

    Back to Top

    Click here to return to the main document