Racquetball – A Fun and Effective Way to Stay in Shape

When I went away to college many years ago, I had never played racquetball. In fact, it had never even occurred to me to play racquetball. That changed one night, however, when a few of my buddies who lived on the same floor asked me to come along with them as they went to play themselves. Ever since that evening I have been hooked.

Racquetball is a game that is not only fun, but will also keep you in shape. If you play with any level of seriousness you can’t help but get a workout, because you’ll be running and changing directions continuously in an effort to chase down the ball. For those who aren’t familiar with racquetball, here is a link to the basic rules. To just give a brief synopsis of the rules, the basic idea is to hit the ball off the front wall so that your opponent can’t retrieve it before it bounces twice.  And since you’re playing in a high walled rectangle, you can use either of the side walls, or the back wall as leverage to get the ball to the front wall. This can result in some interesting strategy, and usually a serious workout!

Here in Topeka, you can find racquetball courts at the YMCA, Wood Valley Racquet Club, and the Hillcrest Community Center which is a part of the City of Topeka’s Parks and Recreation Services. Unfortunately, these facilities do all require a fee or membership to use, but the health benefits and enjoyment far outweigh the cost. And the need for equipment is fairly minimal. You will need a racket and goggles which both can be purchased for as low as $20 apiece, and a can of balls, which generally will run you a few bucks. Get those items, find a court, and you’re ready to play! If you don’t have a partner, most facilities can help to match you up with other members who play, while if you’re new to the sport many times there are classes or tutorials for beginners where you will play with others who are at the same skill level as you. Playing by yourself could also be an option.

Here are some books from our collection that pertain to racquetball. I encourage you to check them out and give racquetball a try!

Racquetball Fundamentals by Jim Winterton

Skills, Drills, and Strategies for Racquetball by David Walker

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I'm the Red Carpet Librarian and work to bring lifelong support services to the Topeka and Shawnee County area through outreach and programming. I also am a sports enthusiast, work closely with the library's sports collection, and provide programming to engage the community's sports fans.

  • Brian Herder

    I played racquetball at the local rec center growing up. I don’t think I was ever completely sure of the rules, but it’s a great way to get a good workout without really realizing it.

  • Mark Rustman

    I agree, Racquetball is a lot of fun, and a great workout. I’ve got to get myself in better shape so I can get back to it. Tennis is fun also, but you really have to be able to maintain a long rally to get anything close to the workout you get with racquetball. Something to keep in mind when playing racquetball–ALWAYS use Eye Protection–I scratched my cornea once playing without it–got to the emergency room quickly though, so healed up just fine!

  • Nate Hohl

    That’s a good point, Mark. I’ve heard of people who don’t want to wear eye protection because they think it looks weird. But I have also heard countless stories like yours, of people who have been hit in the eye because they weren’t wearing protective goggles. The ball moves so fast and sporadically at times when you’re playing racquetball that you can’t always get out of the way – even if you think you have quick enough reflexes. You should always wear eye protection when playing.