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The History Of Racquetball

By Edited Aug 6, 2014 0 0

Racquetball was originally created by a man named Joe Sobek. Joe came up with the sport at the Greenwhich YMCA in a handball court. Sobek played both tennis as well as handball but was looking for an extremely fast paced sport that mostly anybody could easily pickup without a large learning curve for the rules.

In 1952 Joe founded the IPRA, The International Paddler's Racquets Association. Solidified the rules and created the very first official rule book. Sobek continued promoting the sport which was easy for most to pickup since over 40,000 handball courts exist across America.

Joe named this sport, 'Paddle Rackets' which eventually was renamed 'Racquetball' by professional tennis player Bob McInerny . Soon afterwards in 1969 Robert W. Kendler created the IRA, The International Racquetball Association. In 1973 Robert left the IRA and formed two other racquetball associations none of which have became as prominent as the IRA. Eventually the IRA became the American Amateur Racquetball Association which changed its name again in the late 1990s to the United States Racquetball Association. Finally, in 2003, the USRA changed their name for the final time to mimic other Olympic sports associations and coined themselves United States Racquetball (USAR).

Today Racquetball has not been growing like it was in the 1970s and 1980s but the fan base stays strong with an estimated 5.6 million players.

There are currently three associations that handle professional games. These associations are the International Racquetball Tournament, the Women's Professional Racquetball Organization and the Legends Tour. Racquetball is not televised very frequently as it is difficult to film and keep track of the ball moving at high speeds. When Racquetball is televised, the U.S. Open championships in Memphis, Tennessee is one of the few tournaments that gets air time.



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