What is the difference between squash and British racketball?

Man and woman playing squash on a squash court

Squash and British Racketball, often referred to simply as "racketball," are two closely related racquet sports. While they share commonalities, they also have distinct differences that set them apart. Let's take a look at the key differences:

1. Ball

  • Squash: Squash uses a small, rubber ball, typically with a diameter of 4 cm. Squash balls are known for their speed, weight, and low bounce.
  • British Racketball: British Racketball uses a larger, bouncier ball, which is similar in size and characteristics to a standard racquetball. These balls are larger, softer, and have a higher bounce.

2. Racquets:

  • Squash: Squash racquets are designed for precision and control. They are longer, thinner, and have a smaller head size to accommodate the small ball and nuanced play-style.
  • British Racketball: British Racketball racquets are similar to squash racquets but often have a slightly larger head size to facilitate hitting the larger ball. They are still designed for control but with adaptations for the different ball.

3. Gameplay:

  • Squash: Squash is known for its strategy, precision, and agility. Players engage in long rallies with numerous shots and frequent changes of direction.
  • British Racketball: British Racketball has a more dynamic and aggressive style of play. Rallies are often shorter, and the focus is on powerful shots and taking opportunities to win points quickly.

4. Court Size:

  • Squash: Squash courts are typically smaller, with specific markings for singles and doubles play. The smaller court emphasises strategic placement and agility.
  • British Racketball: Racketball courts are larger, often comparable to a standard American racquetball court. The larger space accommodates the faster and more dynamic gameplay.

5. Scoring:

  • Squash: In squash, points can only be scored by the server. Games are traditionally played to nine points (or eleven in some cases), with the winner needing a two-point advantage.
  • British Racketball: In British Racketball, points can be scored by both the server and the receiver. Games are generally played to nine or eleven points with a two-point margin.

6. Accessibility:

  • Squash: Squash is often considered more challenging for beginners due to the smaller court and precision required.
  • British Racketball: British Racketball is generally more accessible to newcomers because of the larger court, larger ball, and more straightforward scoring system.

7. Rules and Governance:

  • Squash: Squash is governed by the World Squash Federation (WSF) and has a standardised set of international rules.
  • British Racketball: British Racketball has its own governing body and rules, distinct from those of squash.

Squash and British Racketball share common roots but have distinct differences in ball size, racquet design, gameplay style, court size, and scoring. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences, playing style, and skill level. While squash emphasises precision and agility, British Racketball offers a faster, more dynamic experience. Understanding these differences can help you select the sport that aligns best with your interests and abilities, ensuring an enjoyable and challenging experience on the court.