Rules Rule - December 2021

by Dan Horner, National Rules Commissioner

Headshot of Dan Horner in green shirt.


I hope that all of you had a chance last month to take time to appreciate the people and other blessings in your life that you are thankful for. I’m eagerly looking forward to a 2022 with a full slate of National Championships for the first time in three years!


Q1. We play in an enclosed court with a red line on the back wall. When the ball is played off the front wall and sails above the red line in the air, it is called out and the player that hit the ball loses this point.


However, what if the ball is played off the front wall, hits the floor in play, and then bounces above the red line. Is this ruled out also?


A1. Thank you for taking the time to learn the rules of the game.  


In USA Racquetball (USAR) rules, we don't use a red line on the back wall like the IRF (International Racquetball Federation) does.  


In USAR rules, the back wall is required to be at least 12 feet tall, but it can be as high as 20 feet, which is the full height of the court. If it is 20 feet high, then all 20 feet is in play. However, in answer to your question, if the back wall ended where the red line is, and then the ball sailed out of the court without bouncing on the ground first, then the person that hit the ball would lose the rally. If the ball did bounce prior to the ball leaving the court above the back wall, then the rally should be replayed if it was on the serve [Rule 3.8(c)] or if it was during the rally [Rule 3.14(a)(1)].


Q2. If the server bounces the ball outside of the service box is it a side out or is it second serve?  What if they don’t let the ball bounce and hit it out of the air?


A2. Either of these is a fault serve. A fault serve results in a second serve unless it already was second serve, in which case it would be side out.  


There are three types of defective serves. They are Dead-Ball Serves, Fault Serves, and Out Serves. To see a list of all of the different serves that are not legal and the categories they fit into, please see Rules Sections 3.7, 3.8, 3.9, and 3.10. Out Serves result in a side out on the first infraction; a combination of any two Fault Serves results in a side out; Dead-Ball Serves do not cancel any previous fault serve.  




Please send rules questions, including stories from the court that beg rules interpretations, to National Rules Commissioner Dan Horner at: You might see your question in a future issue of Serving Up The News!


View/download the Official Rules of Racquetball.

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