Racquetball Terminology and Vocabulary
Alley – the area along the court’s side walls, a Down the Line shot is targeted along this lane.
Appeal – the process allowed in official tournament play through which a player may challenge the ruling of a Line Judge.
Around-the-Wall Shot – a hard to return shot which travels from one side wall to the front wall, then the other side wall, before reaching the ground.
Failure to Move – a player does not move away from the ball’s path in order to give his or her opponent the opportunity to return a shot cross court or down the line.
Stroke Interference – a player moves or does not move in a way that prevents the opponent from taking a full swing when attempting to return the ball.
Moving into the Ball – stepping into the path of a ball being returned, preventing it from reaching its target..
Back Wall – the wall 40 ft from and running parallel to the Front Wall which players face away from during the serve; generally shots which intentionally reach or come close to the back wall are Defensive Shots.
Bye – a guaranteed pass into the next round of a tournament, usually awarded to the top ranked players to allow them to bypass the first round without having to play a game.
Ceiling Shot – when the ball hits the ceiling before it hits the front wall, it then hits the floor and takes a high bounce into the back court; generally a defensive shot used by highly skilled players to move their opponents from the safety of the Center Court position.
Center Court – the most desirable position to hold on court, midway between the side walls and just behind the Five Foot Line.
Cut-Throat – a racquetball variant for three players in which two players team up against the server, with players alternating at the server position.
Dead Ball – the ball at the end of a Rally; no longer playable until it is served again
Defensive Shot – a strategic shot intended to force an opponent out of his or her position at Center Court and into a more far-flung place such as a back court corner and perhaps set up a scoring opportunity on a later shot.
Donut – a shutout game in which one player loses without scoring for a final score of 15-0 (the zero sort of resembles a donut).
Draw – the positioning of players in a tournament bracket, also known as seeding.
Drive – an aggressively hit, fast moving ball.
Drive Serve – a hard and low serve, usually an attempt to get an Ace.
Drive service zone – line in the service area one on each end three feet from the side wall on each side designating areas restricted from entering when hitting a Drive Serve.
Short Serve – the ball lands on or in front of the Short Line.
Long Serve – ball strikes the Back Wall before hitting the ground.
Three Wall Serve – the ball strikes the Front Wall and both side walls before hitting the floor.
Foot Fault – the server steps over the line during the serve.
Out of Court Serve – ball bounces off the front wall and leaves the court area before bouncing off the floor.
Screen Serve – a served ball that rebounds so close to the server that is or her opponent is prevented from a fair chance at returning the serve.
Forehand – an essential stroke that moves from the racquet hand side across the body, the most common shot.
Forfeit – conceding a game to an opponent, whether voluntarily or involuntarily due to absence.
Grip – the manner in which the hand holds the racquet.
Half-Lob – a 10 ft high and slow moving serve intended to bounce just before the Five-foot line and rebound at the height of the opponent’s shoulder.
Hand-Out – See Half-Out.
High Lob Z – a slow-moving 15 to 18 ft high serve to the Front Wall near to a side wall which rebounds in a Z-shaped pattern.
Hinder – a situation that requires a replay because of interference or obstructed view; several situations result in a hinder call:
Court Hinder – called when the ball rebounds off an irregular or rough court surface, segments of the court may be designated as hinders.
Ball Hits Opponent – a return attempt hits the opponent before it hits the front wall, this is not considered a hinder if the ball, prior to hitting the opponent, does not appear to have the needed force or direction to reach the front wall.
Body Contact with Opponent – contact between the two players that prevents a return, incidental contact which has no effect on either player’s ability to return the ball is not ruled a hinder.
Lob Serve – A softly hit serve that rebounds high along the sidewall and heads slowly into a rear corner, it is often used as a second serve.
Long Serve – See Fault.
Match Point – the serving player or team needs to score only once more in order to win the match.
Out of Court Ball – a ball outside of the court’s boundaries.
Out Serve – a rules violation during the serve which immediately results in a loss of service or, in doubles, a Half-Out, these violations are:
Two Consecutive Faults – See Fault.
Missed Serve Attempt – a failed serve in which the swung racket completely misses the ball , the ball can, however be picked up by hand before the serve without a penalty.
Touched Serve – A rebounding serve makes contact with the server.
Fake Serve – an attempt to trick the opponent by pretending to serve, such as starting the swinging motion and then catching the ball before making contact; this is only an Out Serve if the referee rules it intentional.
Illegal Hit – hitting the ball more than once, carrying the ball with the racket, hitting the ball with the racket handle, the hand or anything other than the racket face.
Non-Front-Wall Serve – a serve striking any surface before hitting the Front Wall.
Crotch Serve – A serve hitting exactly the corner of the front wall, simultaneously striking the front wall and a side wall.
Out of Court Serve – a serve which hits the Front Wall and then rebounds outside of the court’s boundaries.
Overhead – a shot hit from above the shoulder, hard and fast in a downward direction toward the front wall.
Pass Shot –a shot hit near the side wall — it can be struck Down the Line or Cross Court – and should be outside of the reach of an opponent.
Pinch Shot – a hard and low shot aimed at a front corner, striking the side wall before the front wall.
Penalty Hinder – See Avoidable Hinder.
Plum – a set up opportunity for a great Offensive Shot, usually a shot which can be hit at knee level or lower.
Rally – an alternating series of shots that continues from the serve until a point is scored or a Side Out is achieved.
Ranking – a categorizing of players’ ability levels, often based on their placing in tournaments.
Rating – an evaluation of players’ ability levels, based on their success versus local opponents.
Receiving Line – the dotted line running parallel to and five feet behind the Short Line, running parallel to and 15 feet in front of the back wall.
Referee – the head officiator in charge of making decisions about rules.
Reverse Pinch Shot – a hard and low Offensive Shot which bounces from a sidewall to the corner opposite the hitter’s racquet hand.
Rollout – A perfect shot that hits the front wall at the Bottom Board so close to the floor that it rebounds without a bounce by rolling back into the court; virtually impossible to retrieve.
Safety Hinder – a halt in play caused by a situation that could lead to injury from the racket or the ball; the Rally is replayed.
Safety Zone Violation – entering the Safety Zone before the served ball bounces.
Screen – a rebounding ball that comes too close to the now defender, preventing the opponent from a fair chance to return the ball either because of limited physical space or visibility, this can be a Fault serve.
Serve – initial shot that begins play at the game’s beginning and after each Rally; a legal serve must be hit from inside the Service Zone and rebound off the Front Wall and then hit the floor behind the Short Line. See Fault.
Server – the player hitting the serve; the only player who can score.
Service Box – the box at each end of the court, parallel to the side wall and in between the Service Line and the Short Line; in Doubles the server’s partner must stand in this box until the served ball crosses the Short Line.
Service Line – the line parallel to the Front Wall 15 feet back, all serves must be hit from behind this line.
Service Return – The shot used to return the ball after the serve.
Short Serve – See Fault.
Short Hop – a shot returned quickly, just after the ball hits the ground – a low fast shot that takes skill to execute and is hard to return.
Singles – the standard game format, two players against each other.
Skip Ball – a too-low shot that hits the floor before it reaches the front wall.
Splat – An offensive shot hit from close to the side wall directly into the side wall at high speed, which then caroms at a sharp angle into the front wall at the Bottom Board.
Wallpaper Shot – a Down the Line shot that rebounds straight and sliding along a side wall, very difficult to return.
Z serve – a serve that rebounds off the front wall, then hits the side wall, followed by the floor, and then the other side wall near the back wall.