Exciting Changes Coming to the Game of Racquetball

There are exciting changes being made to the sport of Racquetball in Canada following the recent announcements made by the International Racquetball Federation (IRF).

The IRF recently announced a move to a rally score system to make the sport more spectator friendly and exciting for athletes. They also announced changes to the format for international competition and rule changes that support the new scoring system. The goal is to improve the sport for all those involved, and to advance Racquetball in the Olympic chain of events.

Since Racquetball Canada has recently adopted the IRF rules, these changes will be implemented in Canada. They fall in line with findings of the Competition Review recently conducted nationally and will improve player’s competitive experience at national events including the upcoming National Championships.

Jen Saunders, Racquetball Canada’s High Performance Director said, “I’m excited to see our sport be pro-active in adopting these changes. Essentially, it’s a change in how we keep score – the rules of the game are not really changing.”

“The ultimate goal of the IRF is inclusion in the Olympics,” added Saunders. “But I also appreciate how this allows our sport to grow in other ways. There will also be many positive impacts on our game at home including the ability to add more matches to tournament play.”

“These changes are a step in the right direction to be recognized as an Olympic sport,” said Christine Keay who is the Athlete Representative on the Racquetball Canada Board of Directors. “We have the World Championships and Pan American Games, but any chance to get racquetball a step closer to being considered for the Olympics is exciting! The Team Events are especially fun for athletes as they bring the whole team together and Mixed Doubles is another opportunity to compete at an elite level.”

The significant changes include:

  • A change to rally scoring, where a point is earned at the end of each rally, regardless of whether the winner of the rally is the server or the receiver;
  • Matches will be the best of 5;
  • The first 4 games will be played to 15 points, win by one point.
  • If a fifth game is required, it will be played to 11 points, win by two points.

There are other minor rule changes mostly related to officiating and player safety.

The IRF also made changes to the competition format which will make competition more inclusive and provide better opportunities for athlete development. These include:

  • The return of the Team Events to the World Championships and inclusion in the Pan American Championships;
  • The addition of Mixed Doubles to international events;
  • A shift in the age categories for World Cup competition at the Junior World Championships to 21 & U, 18 & U and 16 & U. The 14 & U age category will now be part of the Esprit Cup competition, along with the 12 & U and 10 & U age categories.

For Canadian racquetball this means:

  • All tournaments being sanctioned by Racquetball Canada will use the new rules of play beginning with the Winter National Team Selection Event being held on February 25 and 26.
  • The format for singles at the National Championships planned for May 24to 28 will be pool play.
  • The National Team Selection Criteria now includes parameters for selecting a Mixed Doubles Team to represent Canada at international events.
  • The 2022 Junior National Championships will include the 21 & U age category.
  • The age categories for the team representing Canada at the Junior World Championships will be 21 & U, 18 & U and 16 & U.

Click here for our “Question and Answer Sheet”.

Click here for a “Cheat Sheet” that compares to IRF rules to rules previously used by Racquetball Canada.

Click here to read the communiqué from the International Racquetball Federation.

Click here for the Official IRF Rule Book with all the new changes.

For further information, contact:

Jen Saunders, High Performance Director

Jan Hanson, Director of Communications, Diversity & Safe Sport