Our idea of racket spots is probably Simona Halep or Serena Williams slugging it off on the tennis lawn or, if we drift further badminton. But these are simply two of the most popular racket sports. There are a lot more games that you can play with a racket or a paddle such as pickleball, ping pong, table tennis, squash, and racquetball.
Racket sports enjoy wide popularity throughout the world. Some of these games can be played solo, but many of them will need at least two players. There are racket sports that require up to four people. A typical racket consists of a handle along with an open hoop that is enmeshed with a tightly stretched network of cord.
Racket sports are highly competitive, but they also offer you innumerable health and fitness benefits. They help boost your hand and eye coordination, your reflexes as well as agility and flexibility. They involve a lot of movement around the court and are therefore great for your physical fitness. They help strengthen the joints and muscles and is, in some instances, a team sport; they offer you plenty of opportunities to socialize with people who share your sporting interests and perhaps, a lot more.
Below is a look at some of the top sports that you can play with a racket or a paddle: –
This is probably the best-known racket sport. Players use tennis rackets to hit the ball back over a netting in the middle of the court. The tennis court has lines and boxes that set the boundaries of where the player should stand when hitting the ball and where the ball should land. The ball must bounce in the court before you hit it back.
There is a lot of strategies that go into winning a tennis match beyond just accurately hitting the ball back at your opponent. You have to get the footwork right, and you must have excellent court awareness. In tennis, you have to hit the ball in such a way that it will land in the right area in the opposite court. The ball should also land in such a way that your opponent should not be able to hit it right back at you once it has bounced inside the opposite side of the court. This is because you gain a point when your opponent fails to return the ball to your side once it has bounced.
Not only do you need to practice a lot to improve your skill, but you need the right equipment. Having good equipment will go a long way. This includes restringing your tennis racquet, having fresh tennis balls, and a proper racquet.
Tennis takes place over a much larger surface area than other racket sports such as badminton and has a different set of rules. However, there are certain tennis playing skills that may be transferable to other racket sports. Court awareness, wrist movements, and footwork, for example, will serve you well across the spectrum of these kinds of sports.
Pickleball looks like a mish-mash of badminton, ping pong, tennis, and table tennis. Pickleball is difficult to master, but once you get the grip, it is fairly easy to play. It is a paddleball sport that is played with an oversized paddle (like those used in ping pongs) rather than a racket. It is played by two or four players who use the paddle to hit a perforated polymer ball. The solid paddles are crafted out of wood, although some are made using composite materials. The perforated ball has a 26-40 round the holes and is hit over the net.
It has similarities with some of the other racket sports. For example, you hit the ball over the net like in a tennis court, and the court layout and dimensions are similar to those of a badminton court. The net and the rules used in pickleball are a bit similar to those used in tennis, although there are certain differences and modifications.
Many of you have probably never heard of racquetball. The name is quite descriptive, though. This is an indoor game that is played by two or four players enclosed inside a room. Both the serving and the point making areas are marked. Due to the indoor setup, the playing courts are typically costly to set up even though the playing equipment is relatively affordable.
The sport is similar to squash, and you play it by hitting the ball against a wall. The two games also share rules and point-scoring. Apart from the fact that it is fairly fast-paced, the only notable difference between racquetball and squash are the type of balls used and the shape of rackets. Racquetball rackets have bigger heads and short handle grips. The squash rackets, on the other hand, have smaller heads and a longer grip handle.
Besides, squash balls are bouncier than racquetball balls that are a bit heavier. In racquetball, too, you can hit the ball against any wall as opposed to just the wall in front of you like in squash. Racquetball is also less restrictive in its rules and grants you more freedom on where to stand and where to hit the ball. It also features larger court sizes than squash.
As we have seen above, squash has many similarities with racquetball, but there are distinct differences that set these two racket sports apart. Squash isn’t as popular as the other racket sports such as tennis, table tennis, badminton, and even racquetball, but it is an interesting, fast-paced game that requires speed and agility.
In squash, you hit a small and hollow rubber ball against the wall that is in front of you. Like racquetball, squash can be played in singles (by two players) or in doubles (by four players). It is played inside a four-walled court but unlike racquetball, you are only permitted to hit the ball against the wall in front of you.
Players alternate in hitting the ball using their rackets. The ball is hit onto the playable surfaces of the four walls that are inside the court. The walls and the court are demarcated with lines that determine where the player should stand and where the ball should hit.
Squash shares many similarities with racquetball but involves the use of smaller balls, smaller but long-handled rackets, and a smaller court.
Like the other racket sports above, badminton can also be played by either two or four players. It is an indoor game that is played using a shuttlecock instead of a ball. The choice of an indoor destination is obvious. The shuttlecock is too light, and if the game is played outside, then windy or draughty conditions might have a ‘say’ in the gameplay. To a score a point in badminton, you have to hit the shuttlecock over the net and land it on your opponent’s court.
Badminton is usually played in a badminton gym, or a multipurpose gym. It can still be played outside, but the experience will be different. Professional games are often always played indoors.
Badminton is similar to tennis except that in badminton, a bounce is not allowed. In tennis, the ball can bounce on the court once. It is a game that requires a superb degree of speed and agility. From a casual look, badminton looks a lot like tennis, but the two sports have glaring differences in almost every aspect.
The most obvious is that you play tennis with a ball, but badminton is played with a shuttlecock (or birdie). The badminton racket also has differences with tennis rackets. The badminton racket is long, light and skinny with an ovalish shape and slim handle. The shuttlecock used in badminton is made from goose feathers or synthetic plastic material. Some are also made with duck feathers. Professional badminton players exclusively use ‘birdies’ made from goose feathers as these have a very consistent flight.
The differences between badminton and tennis also extend to the rules and the scoring system, as well as in the types of standard shots. Due to the vast differences between these two games, they have totally different gameplay, and you will need different sets of skills to play these two games.