Rasketball is the fusion of Racquetball
. There are very few rules regarding physical contact. The game is simple in concept, yet full of strategy. Though the game has few rules, it thrives on tradition and many of the games traditions have come to be viewed as rules by some players. The game draws its structure from racquetball, and its physical nature from hockey.
The game developed in its current form in 2002. Originally created at the end of a traditional game of Racquetball at Roberts Wesleyan College, the sport followed in the tradition of Rugby by a player blatantly ignoring the traditional rules. The game quickly developed its own traditions and variations, as well as a small, but elite cult following. The games popularity has waned over recent years, but still maintains an affection among former players. The game has struggled to spread beyond its original locale.
A racquetball racquet
A racquetball court
A racquetball ball
A glove to be worn on the racquet hand
Protective Eyewear (goggles)
Basic Game Structure
The goal of a "rally" of rasketball is to obtain "possession" of the ball, then score a goal. Possession is determined by striking the ball so that it contacts the back wall. The player or team must then cause the ball to contact the door in the center of the front wall. Points are given to the player or team who maintained possession of the ball prior to it contacting the door, in accordance with the appropriate variation's scoring. This scoring system is similar to that of half-court basketball.
Before beginning the game, teams must be chosen (see variations and traditions).
After this is accomplished, the first server (or serving team) must be determined by the "Whack-Off". During the Whack-Off, each player takes a turn standing one arm-and-racquet's length away from the front wall. The player then bounces the ball on the ground and strikes the ball such that it is propelled towards the back wall, without bouncing on the floor. The player who gets their rebound off of the back wall to bounce closest to the dotted line is the winner. That player then has the option to serve or be served to at the initial jump ball.
The first serve of every game is a jump ball. All players stand with one foot within the box. The server throws the ball straight up into the air. All players attempt to gain possession of the ball at this point (see "Rally" section).
After a goal has been scored, the scoring team must serve the ball to the other team. The scoring team must serve the ball according the same method as the "Whack-Off". The receiving team must stand with one part of their body or racquet in contact with the back wall. As soon as contact is made with the ball, both teams may leave their positions. At this point neither team has possession of the ball. Should it strike the door, no goal is scored. The serving team may not make contact with the ball until the receiving team does first. Once the receiving team makes contact with the ball, it becomes live and any player may attempt to achieve possession.
The following rules apply during each rally.
1. Only a racquet may be used to propel the ball. Possession and goals only count when propelled by a racquet. (A player may not throw, kick, or otherwise use their body to direct the ball towards the wall or door).
2. A player may not use their non-racquet hand to inhibit another player.
3. No "blind" hits (body checking
A team or player has won the game when they have earned enough points.
Stops in play
An infraction has occurred in the following instances:
- During the serve, the ball bounces off the floor on its way to the back wall. This results in a re-serve. The receiving team may strike the ball towards the server in an attempt to hit them, but must make contact after only one bounce.
- A player uses their free hand to grab the ball or another player. The player is subject to an "execution," where the player or team that was fouled may stand one arm-and-racquet's length from the back wall with the offender at the door. The fouled player may strike the ball at the offender with intent to hit. The offender must stand motionless and accept their fate.
Ball leaving the court
If the ball leaves the court through an open viewing window, or other architectural anomaly, the player who last made contact must retrieve the ball. That player is then responsible for a jump ball. (see Wildman Variation for an exception.)
Generally, play does not stop for an injury until a goal is scored, unless all players are laughing too hard to continue. Should a restart (other than a post-goal serve) be necessary, the injured player will toss the ball for a jump ball.
There are several variations that have developed depending on the number of players.
Original - Rasketball is played by 3 players. Each player represents their own team. Each goal is worth one point. The game is played until one player has earned 5 points. Though this is the original form of the game, it is not played often because of the difficult nature of facing multiple opponents.
Team - When an even number of players are involved, the game is played with two equal sized teams (generally two or three person teams). Each team scores one point per goal. The game is played until one team has earned 5 points.
Wildman - With 5 players, two equal sized teams are formed (2 players each), with the extra player being deemed the "Wildman". The wildman is determined by a Whack-Off. The wildman rotates between each game (subject to a new whack-off, excluding previous wildmen). Each team scores one point per goal, but the wildman receives two points per goal. The game is played until one team or the wildman receives 6 points. Any stops in play, regardless of cause, will be restarted by a jump ball, tossed by the wildman.
Wildman 3000 - With 7 players, two equal sized teams are formed (3 players each), with the extra player being deemed the "Wildman". The wildman is determined by a Whack-Off. The wildman rotates between each game (subject to a new whack-off, excluding previous wildmen). Each team scores one point per goal, but the wildman receives three points per goal. The game is played until one team or the wildman receives 6 points. Any stops in play, regardless of cause, will be restarted by a jump ball, tossed by the wildman.
Part of the appeal of the sport, and in many ways, the reason its players are so committed to the game is the strong sense of tradition that has helped the game to develop. There are several noteworthy traditions that almost seem like rules.
Teams - When the game started, it was formed by a close group of friends, many of whom were also related. To start, teams were determined by familial relationships before any other team combinations were considered. After a set of games were completed (generally best of 5, though sometimes more), team combinations were determined by equipment brand (for instance, players using Head racquets vs. players using Ektelon raquets
- Once a wildman has been determined, that player must engage in a "wild" celebration. This may take any form, as long as the player remain clothed, and creativity is encouraged. No other player may be harmed, but they may be incorporated into the celebration as the wildman sees fit. Should the wildman get out of control, the other players attempt to "tame" him by striking the racquetball at him with intent to hit.
Dead Ball Pile - Though most traditional racquetball players prefer to keep the court free of obstacles, the rasketball community prefers to keep personal items in a pile in one corner near the front wall. Though this will sometimes cause the ball to stop its motion, the added challenge is embraced by the sport's players. Play does not stop when the ball does.
The writing on the wall - Should a player be injured at any time (which often happens) in such a way that blood is drawn, that player is encouraged to leave their mark on a wall (usually with their initials) in blood. Though this is considered disgusting by some, rasketball does not apologize for its traditions.
Postgame - Players will generally convene at an eating establishment of some sort at the end of the game to appease their appetites. Common choices include Nick Tahoe Hots, Wendy's, and Bill Gray's.
There are a number of strategy points that require experience in the game to fully develop and perfect. Though anyone can take up the game with some degree of success, the true Rasketball masters have devoted themselves to developing effective strategy. The most important strategic elements of the game include the serve, and passing (for team games). There is limited strategy in obtaining possession. Defense is perhaps the most difficult area of the game to learn strategy for. Players on defense must make choices about whether they value winning or health and must decide when to sacrifice their body to save a goal, since there is no goalie.
The Future of Rasketball
The Rasketball community hopes to see the sport grow and spread to more college campuses. Limited efforts have been conducted at Grove City College
. It is hoped that technology can be developed to assist in the scoring aspect of the game. The Rasketball community is pursuing sponsorship and hopes that the game may one day be added to the Summer Olympic Games