Oct 172016
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Calling penalty hinders during a racquetball match plays an important part of keeping racquetball a fair and honest game. A penalty hinder does not necessarily have to be an intentional act. There are many types of penalty hinders, but the most common falls under Rule 3.15 (a) Failure to Move. It is not allowed to stand in front of your opponent’s shot either straight to the front wall or cross court. See below for more information on penalty hinders.

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  14 Responses to “The Rules for Penalty Hinders”

  1. Doubles is the most difficult hinder environment and more illustrations should be used to depict where receiving players should be located to avoid a hinder. Some players think that they must have the entire court for their shot. Do both platers have the right to see the ball? If the ball is closest the one player, the other player cannot call screen or hinder unless the ball passes the first receiving player. ?????

    • The hinder rules for doubles is the same as for singles. Offensive shots are straight to the front wall or cross court.
      The offensive player who is taking the shot has a right to see the ball, just as in singles.

      • Say the person returning is in the middle of the cross court. Does that person have a right to cross court left vs. right? Or both? Or does the other player only have to make sure the person returning has a chance at cross court on one side, either side?

        • If the offensive player is hitting from the the middle of the court, then they can hit straight into front wall or hit to either back corner (these are cross courts). The defensive player must be out of the way of the straight in shot and one of the cross court shots. In this case, the best position for the defensive player would be to stay directly behind the shooter and be in center court.

      • So odd scenario. I was standing behind my opponent when they were taking their shot. They however missed the ball, which I’ll mention was an easy clean shot, so it bounced past them toward me. I ducked but was in the way for them to try to get a second swing. They called a hinder. Can you call a hinder when you have already had a clear opportunity to hit the ball but missed and now the other player is in the way for a second swing?

        • Seems pretty darned cheap, and I wouldn’t call a hinder in that situation, but it probably is a hinder. If you prevented your opponent from having an opportunity to hit the ball, even on a second attempt, it fits the rule.

          Yesterday an opponent missed an easy shot against me and the ball hit me. His point.

  2. I’ve been playing the game for a long time, but recently have come up against a question of hinder rules.

    On several occasions I’ve been in a position while on offense to put my back against an opponent to effectively trap him against a wall or in a corner as I set up to take my shot. Of course that puts my opponent in a position where he can’t return my shot without running through me or taking a long route around.

    One of the guys I’ve been playing against recently calls a hinder every time I do that. While it’s true that I am impeding his line to return the ball, it’s his poor positioning before I take my shot that puts him in that situation. (And me taking advantage of it.) Really what’s happening, in my view, is that he’s placing himself in a position where he can’t get out of a corner before I take my shot. I can’t imagine that I should have to compromise my shot to let him out of a corner that he put himself into.

    In another instance this same opponent made contact with me while I was taking my shot. I didn’t call a hinder because I still had a good shot, but he DID call a hinder because he was knocked off balance and couldn’t reach the ball. I wouldn’t think that when the defender makes contact that he can then call a hinder.

    Is there a specific rule that covers this situation?


    • In the first case, your opponent has chosen to remain in a poor court position. If you make a good x-court passing shot or a front corner pinch that he can not get to, then he cannot call a hinder. If you leave the ball up and and fail to move, then he has the right to call a hinder.

      In the second case, any time a player makes contact with you while you are taking an offensive shot, you can stop play and call for a penalty hinder on his/her part. If you do not stop play, then you cannot later call for a hinder. The player who made the initial contact while you were taking your shot cannot call for a hinder unless you failed to move after your shot. They caused themselves to be “off balance” so no hinder!!!

      • Thanks player, The group I play with is casual, and we don’t call penalty hinders at all. Any hinder is a replay of the point, so in the second case it would be to my disadvantage to call a hinder when I have a great shot. I believe the official rules even say it’s not a hinder if it gives the offensive player an advantage.
        I play racquetball among a friendly group and about the only time I’ll call a hinder is if there’s a risk of hitting my opponent with the ball or racquet. But I admit that it bugs me a bit when a player fails to position himself correctly and then calls a hinder based on that. Still, I love the game and don’t want to spoil it with arguments about hinders.

  3. I have been playing racquetball for forty years and was called for a hinder because I yelled at myself for my bad placement of a shot while my opponent was making a shot. In thousands of games I have never had anyone call this type of hinder. I certainly was not intentionally trying to distract him. In most racquetball games there is quite a lot of noise. This is not golf or even tennis where quiet is expected during the play.

    • Yes, yelling while your opponent is hitting the ball is a hinder as it interferes with their ability to hit the ball. It does not matter whether the interference was intentional.

  4. In figure 1 it shows the offensive player has a shot straight to the front wall or a cross-court shot to the middle of the front wall. Does the offensive player have an option to hit the far right corner? This would require the defensive player to jump up over the shot or move out of the center court. Does an offensive player have permission to hit the ball anywhere as long as it would have eventually hit the front wall without bouncing?

    • Hey Darrel:
      The offensive player can take any shot he wants to take, there is no restriction at all. But the defender must only be out of the way for a straight-on shot or that angled shot to the back corner. If you’re on offense you can hit the ball off the back wall if you wish, off the ceiling, or off either side wall. Just bear in mind that the defender may not be able to get out of the way of any and all shots you may wish to take, but is obligated to yield the two shots mentioned.

    • In figure 1, the defensive player does not need to move from their position in center court. They have allowed both straight-in and cross court shots. You can hit to the right front corner, and probably hit your opponent (they will not like that). Hitting your opponent would be a replay hinder.

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