USA Racquetball Rules: 6 - Outdoor Racquetball
There are many rule variations in the outdoor game. Generally, the standard USAR rules also apply outdoors. Variations acknowledged by WOR are described below, but there may be local rule exceptions that supersede them. Tournament Directors are advised to put any local rule exceptions in writing and all participants are advised to ask about them prior to playing. Also, check with the Tournament Director about the rules being followed.
Outdoor courts vary in size and there is no “official court size.” Generally, outdoor courts either have no or an extremely limited ceiling. They usually have no back walls; however, some courts may have a non-connected back wall surface considered part of the playing area. Outdoor courts can be classified as one of two general types.
A one-wall court has no side walls that extend more than a few feet.
The front wall is usually at least 20 feet wide and at least 20 feet high. The side walls generally are at least 20 feet long and 20 feet high where they meet the front wall and are often tapered as they come toward the back court.
Generally, the markings are the same as the USAR’s standard rules, except that on an outdoor court, there is no receiving (5-foot) line. Since the size of outdoor courts may vary, the exact placement of other lines may also vary. Some outdoor courts may also have singles service lines to reduce the server’s advantage. These lines are usually placed 18 inches inside each sideline and run from the short line to the back line. These lines are only in force during the serve and are not used for doubles play.
Shirts are not required in the outdoor game.
(a) All divisions for the WOR are one serve only. Generally, a rally must be played for the receiver(s) to take possession of the serve.
(b) In doubles, the non-serving partner may take a position in the normal service box or outside the court beyond the back line or sideline. If the non-serving partner hinders the receiving team on the return of serve, the referee may call a penalty hinder. In one wall, the non-serving partner may not step onto the playing zone of the court until serve has passed the short line.
(c) On the return of serve, the receiver(s) may not break the plane of the short line and doing so results in a point for the server.
(d) If the ball bounces on a sideline or the back line on its first bounce, the ball is considered “in”. When the singles service line is used, a served ball that bounces on it is “in”. If the ball hits the beveled end of a side wall or the beveled top of the front wall or a side wall and remains in play, the shot is good. A ball that bounces over a side wall is legal; however, local rules may declare that such a shot is out when long-wall courts are used.
(e) Generally, there are no court hinders. Local rules, however, may designate a feature of the court as a court hinder. The elements of nature, such as sun, wind, rain, etc., may not serve as the basis for a hinder. A ball that strikes a light pole that is inside the playing area, but outside the “in” zone, without bouncing is considered out. However, if the ball first bounces “in”, and then hits such a light pole, it is a court hinder as soon as the ball touches the pole. A court hinder may also be called when a returned ball hits a light attached to the end of a side wall if the ball would have otherwise reached the front wall.
(f) A safety holdup (replay hinder) also includes consideration given to players on an adjacent court or any spectators who are not part of the stationary crowd. The player must be able to hit the ball prior to it reaching the stationary crowd. Any vehicle that enters the playing area can be grounds for a safety holdup. Parked vehicles are classified as part of the stationary crowd.
(g) Intentionally launching a ball following a rally is a technical foul for delay of game against the player who sent the ball sailing. This includes launching a ball prior to the referee or opponent confirming that it is broken.
(h) When line judges are in place, they will be used exactly like indoors except for calling side lines. The line judge will have the first call on sidelines, not the referee. If a ball is out, the line judge should say “OUT” and stop play. If there is an appeal on the line judge’s call on a sideline, the appeal will only go to the referee. If the referee disagrees with the line judge’s call, then the rally will be replayed. If the referee agrees or has no opinion, the call stands. The opposite sideline judge does not render an opinion.
Various Rule Modifications