Tennis is a sport that receives a fair amount of glamour in the sports world. With its fast-paced style and use of well-known racquets such as the Head TI-S6, tennis can be a very exciting sport to watch and play. However, other racquet sports have made their mark on recreational enthusiasts as well. Badminton, racquetball, and squash are in many ways very similar to tennis, but also are very different in many ways. Let’s examine these 3 sports and learn a little more about them.
This one is my favorite racquet sport by far. It is part of the curriculum for most high school gym classes, and enjoyed by many people. First conceived as a source of entertainment for British troops stationed in Africa in the mid 1800’s, badminton quickly became extremely popular. It is a hybrid of the old English children’s game, “battledore and shuttlecock” (say that one 5 times fast) which consisted of simply trying to keep a small object made of cork up in the air by getting as many hits as possible from all the participants. Once a net was added by a few British officers, the modern version of badminton that we all know and love was brought into being. Here are some facts about the game:
- Badminton consists of 4 players (2 on each side) occupying 4 separate squares on the floor
- The objective is to reach a score of 21 to win the match. Each time the shuttlecock (or the birdie, to most people) hits the ground, the rally is over.
- If the side that originally served loses the rally, the birdie is then passed to the left either to a teammate or to the player immediately opposite them if both players have already served.
- A badminton match is played in the “best 2 out of 3” format.
The objectives of badminton are somewhat similar to tennis in that the serving style is the same (serving diagonally) and the procedure of the rally is pretty much the same. Like tennis, badminton can also be played in singles or doubles, and the styles of hitting are exactly alike in both sports. However, even though tennis is physically demanding, it has been shown that badminton is much more so.
Fans of the ‘90’s sitcom Frasier will recall the pompous yet loveable title character’s affinity to this sport throughout the duration of the series, and many of you were probably curious as to what it actually was. I know I certainly was. Squash, I found out, is a sport played indoors using a four-walled court and a rubber ball. Here are some facts about the game:
- On the floor, there is a half-court line in the middle as well as a line separating the front and the back court.
- In addition to these main lines, there are 3 smaller boxes lined up one in front of the other, and these boxes are known as service boxes.
- The objective of the game is to hit the ball above the service line (a line drawn on the wall in front of the players) on every play until the player chooses to return it.
- Each time the ball is returned off the wall, a point is earned. Games are played to 11 and a player must win by 2 points.
Although some people may disagree with me, I don’t think that squash is very much like tennis at all. Instead of having a spot on the ground to shoot for each time, the players are aiming at a line on the wall. I suppose being good at that couldn’t hurt for tennis though-it certainly would make you better at controlling the ball. Squash has also been shown to have many health benefits as well, with Forbes magazine ranking it as the number one healthiest sport to play in 2003.
Aside from encountering some very dusty trophies in my dad’s office from way back in the day, I knew nothing of racquetball. So I did some digging. It appears to be similar to squash in more ways than one. Here are some quick facts about the game:
- Racquetball is played indoors
- It also incorporates the use of service lines, and the players are shooting at spots on the wall. However, instead of aiming for just lines, a player has to avoid hitting certain walls in a certain order when serving.
- Once the ball has hit the front wall, and also landed behind the short line, the ball is in play. At this point, the players can move wherever and it is their job to hit the ball off the wall as many times as possible.
- Like squash, the ball can only hit the ground once off the wall, or it goes out of play.
- Like badminton, however, only the server is able to score points. Games are played in the “best out of 3” format.
Postgame Wrap Up
Sure, tennis is considered more prestigious than any of these-I’m guessing that’s why we don’t see many badminton tournaments at Wimbledon- but no matter! Each of these sports has something unique that draws many amateur athletes to them every year. Now that I have reviewed these 3 racquet sports, it is my hope that you will give at least one of them a try. If you maintain that tennis is your sport, feel free to check out some of the hottest racquet choices here. Either way, get out there and start swinging a racquet today!