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What's the Best Racquet Game?

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by Jonathan Phoon (subscribe)
I love trying new food and new restaurants. My other passions are Origami and Pokémon
Published August 21st 2015
Squash, racquetball, badminton and tennis are the racquet games that I've tried and squash is my favourite. Being an indoor game, squash can be played the whole year round in all weather conditions. The squash court has four walls and a floor surface with a natural wood finish. The singles court is 9.75 metres by 6.4 metres (doubles court is 7.62 metres wide).

 Racket Games, Squash Courts
Squash Court, Image by Henry M. Trotter at English Wikipedia (Wikimedia Commons)

Singles is the format preferred by most players. Training and practice can be done without a partner because squash involves hitting the ball against the front wall so there is no need to have another person (or machine) to feed the balls. There is no net separating the players so for social players, the court is also a place for socialising in between hits. Playing squash does not require too much strength because it is played with a small rubber ball. There are generally four types of balls available – Pro, Competition, Progress, and Intro. Pro is the official standard size and the least bouncy of the four. The Competition is also standard size but with a 10% longer hang-time (more bouncy) to that of the Pro. The Progress is 6% larger than standard with a 20% longer hang-time than the Pro. It helps to get someone to warm the ball up for you if you are a beginner because the ball is heavy and does not bounce well when it's cold or you could use the bouncy Intro ball to start with.

Racket Games, Squash Rackets
Squash Rackets and Ball

Playing squash can provide an intense cardiovascular workout. In a high intensity match a player could burn up to 4,000kJ in just an hour. Squash SA is the body that promotes and administers squash activities in South Australia. If you are interested in trying out squash, you can use the court finder function on their website, rent a court at $20 - $25 an hour and try it out with a friend. According to Squash SA, there are about 40 available venues. Some fitness clubs like Next Gen has an Ace member package that includes unlimited use of their squash and tennis courts. Regular players usually end up becoming members of a club and some participate in squash competitions that are held the whole year round. These competitions cater for players of different competencies. You can watch short clips of squash games played at professional levels on the PSA World Tour On YouTube.

Racquetball is quite similar to squash as the game is also played on a standard squash court, but unlike squash, you play with a bigger and bouncier blue ball, a less bouncy black ball is also available. The racquetball racquet has a larger head quite similar in size to a tennis racquet but with a shorter handle. Some say that racquetball is easier to pick up if you haven't played any racquet sports before. However it's a faster-paced game with more bounce than squash, and like squash it involves lots of twisting and pivoting, requiring great flexibility around the whole core. Squash SA says it is an excellent fat-burner as the nature of the game encourages longer rallying, resulting in sustained aerobic activity. If you have tried squash or tennis before but they both don't seem to fit then racquetball may be a good compromise for you. Squash SA is also the body that promotes and administers racquetball activities in South Australia.

Racket Games, Racquetball Rackets and Ball
Racquetball Rackets and Ball

Badminton is also an all-weather game as it is played in a marked rectangular indoor court – 13.4 metres by 5.18 metres for singles matches; and 13.4 metres by 6.1 metres for doubles matches. The game involves hitting a shuttle cock over a net to your playing partner. Beginners in badminton often hit the shuttlecock into the net making it difficult to get a flowing game. I usually find myself missing the shuttlecock if I have not played the game for a while. This is probably because the shuttlecock is light so you have to hit it pretty quickly. Badminton SA is the state association for badminton and similar to Squash SA, their website provides information about badminton courts available for hire. Rates vary from $19 - $26 an hour for non-club members.

Racket Games, Badminton Rackets and Shuttlecocks
Badminton Rackets and Shuttlecocks

Tennis can only be played in dry weather because it is played outdoors on grass, clay or hard courts. It requires good arm strength as the court is pretty long - 24 metres by 11 metres wide, with the width reduced to 8.2 metres for singles matches. To learn tennis, you would need someone (or a ball machine) to feed you the balls so you can practise. Otherwise, you will probably be spending more time chasing and picking up the ball instead of hitting it. Tennis SA's website appears to be more comprehensive than that of Squash SA and Badminton SA. Perhaps that is an indication of the popularity of the sport here. Tennis courts are available for use free of charge in some suburbs if you just want to have a go and see if you like the game.

Racket Games, Tennis Rackets and Ball
Tennis Rackets and Ball

I have tried all four games but my favourite is still squash. What is your favourite racquet game and where do you play the game?
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I like badminton best. I never enjoyed playing tennis, and I have never tried squash before, although my parents both used to play.
by Bastion Harrison (score: 4|12626) 2548 days ago
Great Question. I think racquet ball is awesome because of the size of ball and racquet. However, would lacrosse fall into this category?
by Sherry (score: 2|478) 2547 days ago

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