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Squash Vs Racquetball Vs Handball

You know the sports of squash, racquetball, and handball, but do you know how they compare to each other? How did these sports originate individually, and are there differences between the three types of sports? How do they compare in terms of popularity and difficulty? What equipment is used to play each sport, and are the rules and playing areas different?

There are some similarities between squash, racquetball, and handball, but all three sport types are very different in their own way, have different rules, are played on different court sizes, use different types of equipment, and originated at different times and in different countries.

Squash, racquetball, and handball are three different types of sports. Although there are some similarities, there are differences in origin, court sizes, rules, scoring, equipment, and popularity. Let’s look at these differences to make a fair comparison between the three sports types.

Squash Compared To Racquetball And Handball

Squash and racquetball are similar sports in that both are played indoors and on enclosed courts with four walls. Both sports are played with a small, hollow rubber ball, a racket in squash, and a racquet in racquetball. Handball is played indoors or outdoors and can be played with one, three, or four walls. The players use their hands to play with various sizes of hi-bouncing rubber balls.

How Did Squash, Racquetball, And Handball Originate?

Squash was invented by a group of creative school kids in a posh school in Harrow, England, during the 1830s. The school kids noticed that a punctured ball squashed on impact with a wall, which provided a wider variety to the game. This is where the game derived its name from. Some references claim it goes back to the 1700s, coming from a game of rackets created in Fleet Prison.

Racquetball is a cross between squash, handball, tennis, and a Spanish game called jai alai. The roots of racquetball originated in prisons during the 1800s, but Joseph G Sobek, an American from Connecticut, invented the game in 1950. He was unhappy with the racket sports available then and developed the game further, becoming known as racquetball.

Handball originated as a form of hand tennis played in England and Ireland during the 1800s. The Irish had their version of alley-handball games, and the Eton Fives was first played in England in 1877. Although the game was popular in Europe, the sport developed and started taking shape in New York City during the Great Depression. The sport is better known today as Wallball or American Handball.

How Rules Differ In Squash, Racquetball, And Handball

Squash is a fast-paced sport played with a racket and a small hollow rubber ball in a four-walled enclosed court. The sport can be played by two players (singles) or four players (doubles). Once a player has served the first ball by hitting the rubber ball with a racket against the playable surface of the wall, the opposition has to return the ball before it touches the ground twice.

Racquetball is played between two players (singles) or four players (doubles) in a four-walled enclosed court. The court dimensions are generally larger than a squash court. Players play with a racquet and a slightly bigger ball than the squash ball. Each player hits the ball toward the front wall before it bounces twice. The ball may connect any wall area, including the ceiling.

Handball is played between two, three, or four players on a court with either one, three, or four walls. Unlike squash and racquetball, the ball is struck with a player’s hands (wearing handball gloves), and various balls are used. The object is to bounce the ball once before it makes contact with the wall. The non-serving player must allow the ball to hit the wall and then bounce once before returning it.

Squash And Racquetball Equipment Compared To Handball

Squash balls and racquetballs are hollow rubber balls, but there is a slight difference in size. The diameter of a squash ball is 1.58 inches, and a racquetball is 2.36 inches. A squash ball is punctured, which creates almost no bounce on impact, making the game more challenging to hit. A racquetball is bouncier. Handball is played with a hi-bounce rubber ball and varies in size.

Squash is played with a racket with a stringed surface and is up to 27 inches long. A racquetball is played with a racquet with a teardrop stringed surface and can be up to 22 inches, making it shorter than a squash racket. The stringed surface of the squash racket is narrower than the surface of the racquet in racquetball. In handball, players use their hands with protective gloves to strike the ball.

Handball Courts Vs Squash And Racquetball

The courts of all three sports types are different. A typical squash court contains four walls (or three walls and a glass wall at the back for spectator value). The diameter of a squash court is 32 feet (length) x 21 feet (width) x 18.5 feet (height). A squash court will have out-of-court lines along the top of the walls and a tin sitting at the bottom of the front wall.

A racquetball court is like a squash court, but the dimensions are slightly bigger. The diameter of a racquetball court is 40 feet (length) x 20 feet (width) x 20 feet (height). Unlike squash, a player can hit any part of the wall surface, including the ceiling.

The diameter of a standard four-wall handball court is typically 40 feet (length) x 20 feet (width) x 20 feet (height) with a back wall of 12 to 14 feet high. The diameter of a one-wall court is 34 feet (length) x 20 feet (width) x 16 feet (height). The four-wall court has a ceiling, while the three-wall or one-wall courts may not have a ceiling. The courts are marked with a service line, a court line, and a service zone.

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Scoring In Squash Compared To Racquetball, And Handball?

In order to score and win shots in squash, the server must have at least one foot in the service box and hit the ball to the opposite corner on the front wall without bouncing it before hitting it. The players get one serve per point and can score whether they serve or return. In tournaments, eleven points (with a two-point difference), and the best out of five games wins the match.

In racquetball, the players can only score on serving. The first player to reach fifteen points wins with a margin of two points difference in the score. In a three-game match, the winner must win two games. The serving player must stand anywhere behind the service line, bounce the ball, and hit it anywhere on the front wall. The ball must bounce back behind the service box before hitting the back wall.

When serving the ball in handball, the ball must pass the short line, not pass the long line, and must be inside the boundary lines. Points are scored one at a time and won only on serving. A player or team wins the game when either seven, eleven, or twenty-one points are scored.

Squash Vs Racquetball Vs Handball – Which Is More Popular?

Squash is the most popular sport of the three, with more than 20 million players worldwide. Racquetball is played by approximately 5.6 million players in the world. Although handball is popular worldwide, the sport has a different attraction than squash or racquetball. However, the popularity of these three sports types is continuously increasing as the number of players is growing in other countries.


How does one compare squash vs racquetball vs handball? While there are some similarities in all three sports, they are different in many ways. Each sport originated at different times and in different countries. They all have their own unique set of rules, regulations, and equipment. Even the court sizes are different, and each of these sports types is popular in its own way.

If one compares these sports types to determine which one is better, more challenging, or more enjoyable, the answer would be that it is a matter of choice. Each of them is enjoyable and challenging in its own right.


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