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Hinders T & A


If the title was Q & A would you have opened the article?  Hinders – Thoughts and Answers is a collection of various hinders / screens / other questions I’ve answered over the past year or so…in most cases the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Enjoy…if you have additional questions send them my way.

During a doubles match, a player from team A returns a shot down the left side of the court but is unable to move out of the way of a player on team B (who is in mid court) and that player calls a hinder.  As the ball passes the A team player, the other B team member (who is in back court) attempts to return the shot, not knowing a hinder has been called or who was already in motion to the ball as the hinder is called.  Team player A says there is no hinder since both B team members attempted to return the ball.

Team member A contends that he could not block both B team players and that if such a hinder was allowed, games could last forever.

I feel that the play ended with the hinder and even if the other B team player had returned the ball, play should have stopped.

What is your call?

In doubles, player A must yield his position to both team members on Team B....through his movement or non-movement he can not decide for Team B which player will hit the ball....that decision rests solely with Team B.

With that said, once a Team B player moves to hits the ball...and he's hindered...AND CALLS THE HINDER...that's it.  Play stops right there.  If he's hindered...yet does not call the hinder right then and there...his teammate can go after the live ball.  It's not a case of Team B having their cake and eating it too...because once the ball is not called as a hinder; they can't go back and get the hinder after the rally.

Case and point...sometimes I know if I moved through a player I would have a good shot....however, since the guy is in my way, I won't get the shot.  I also know my partner will also have a clear shot....so I wouldn't call the hinder.  My team has the advantage in the rally...by calling a hinder I take the rally back to a do over or even.  So this is a case of a possible hinder call being available and not called...but the advantage is still with the hindered team.  Player A in this case (the guy in the way) may stop playing once he perceives I hold up and try and call a hinder...however, he has no right to do so...and his stopping should not stop the point from developing.

In the case above, obviously if I yell hinder and my partner then rolls the ball out....it's hinder and replay.

In slamming the ball into the back wall, there are many times where a player may be in the line of your shot.  Mostly the play continues because the defensive player "ducks" or the offensive player holds up for safety reasons.  We have a running argument as to whether this can be considered a hinder, and the play redone.

One school says no; there are no hinders going to the back wall.  The other school says yes; a hinder is a hinder.  This is not with respect to the safety issue but simply a hinder/block issue.  I have found nothing on this on various searches of racquetball rules.

There is no specific rule when hitting into the back wall because it's really just another acceptable way to get the ball back to the front wall....so yes, if as the ball passed you and you turn and can hit it into the back wall to keep the ball in play and there is an opponent there....it's a hinder.  You will never get an avoidable hinder call going into the back wall....it's not an offensive shot....but a hinder predominately for safety reasons is the right call.

Again, the most important aspect of being able to call the hinder is that the player has to be able to have gotten the ball if the opponent wasn't there.  You can't just turn around and call a hinder because your opponent is standing behind you...Once it's determined the player could have returned the ball via the back wall if the opponent wasn't there...then the hinder call can be made.

The next question I get in this scenario is this....the player holds up but the ball then hits the opponent...In cases like these you have to slice each step into an exact instance to get the true order of events.  As soon as the player holds up...a hinder is the call....the ball is dead...so it doesn't matter that it then hits the opponent after the hinder call.  However, if as a player I know the ball would be coming off the back wall and I have both the hit into the back wall shot and a second shot with the ball rebounding off the back wall....it gets more complicated.  If I call the hinder right away...it's a hinder...but if I let the ball go and anticipate taking the second option as it comes off the back wall...and before I get that chance it hits my opponent...then it's my point....the hinder was not call first...the ball remained in play...and before my shot could be executed...or before the player was in the way of my shot...the ball hit him...so the contact occurred before any hinder could have occurred.  This is my point. 

I have a question that seems to happen more frequent than you would expect. If I am in position and return a volley. After hitting the ball and as part of the follow through, I step on my opponents foot while he is standing right behind of me at my shoulder and moving forward to play the return. Is that contact hinder my fault or his because of his failure to give me adequate room to play the ball?

If you step on his foot during your swing mechanics while you hit the ball it's his fault.  If you step on his foot while you are trying to get out of the way...even if it's your first step after hitting the ball....it's most likely your fault.

Every situation may be slightly different....but above is a good general rule to go by....the real issue is that you should volley the ball away from your position to avoid this type of contact....hitting a ball that causes your opponent to have to pass through you to get to it...is "mostly" your fault.

I play down here in Anycity, USA and luckily or unluckily, there are a lot of good players here.  Keyword being a lot.  I only get to play singles when I head to another gym.

Anyway, there are a lot of arguments on the hinder call primarily on the serves when playing doubles, which is all we play.  For example if I am standing and serving on the right hand side and move mid court center, often times the person will call a hinder because they wanted to go to the left corner even though they are left with a down the line passing shot, ceiling shot or even a cross court pass?  Can they do that? Just because someone does not get the perfect shoot they envisioned can they call a hinder?

There is hinder theory and there is hinder reality.  In theory, a player can hold up if they are attempting a shot that is not guaranteed to them and they think they will hit their opponent.  The guaranteed shots being down the line and cross court.  So your player who wants to hit a setup into the corner has a right to....you have the right to stand in the way....and he has a right to call hinder.  Only a replay hinder though...not a point hinder.  This is actually to your advantage...he had a setup he should put away....he has the total advantage at this point...and he holds up to play it over...thus bringing the rally back to an even point.  It's actually a bad choice on his part to choose that shot and then hold up.  It is frustrating when you're trying to keep the game moving.

In reality, what I tell people playing me is...just take your shot...don't hold up for me....many times players will try and exploit this rule and hold up on tougher and tougher shots saying they we're going to hit me when I know full well they could only get back a weak return and I would get a setup....so in reality, I tell them to always swing....and I never get hit really.

For serves in doubles...it's is "gentlemen's rules” to serve to the same side as you're playing...but this is not an official racquetball rule.  You can serve to anyone and your partner can stay on that side.  It get's complicated when you do this with potential hinders and point hinders if your partner gets caught in the line of fire.  Mostly people serve straight up to avoid the uncomfortable situations that will arise.  However if you watch the pros play...they will find the weaker player and drill him all day long...


If, during a rally one player racquet makes contact with the other player’s
body or racquet is there an automatic hinder and the point is played over?
Or do you see if the shot was good first?

Also, is it proper for a person to attempt a shot and if it goes in to the
floor or is a bad shot call a hinder and if its good say it was not a
hinder? Does the player have the choice to make the call after the results
are seen? We a player in our group who is constantly doing this and it
doesn't seem right.

I'm answering your second question first...it's easier.  Every racquetball situation is broken down into slivers of time...with each sliver being an occurrence so there is a linear time line of any situation that can arise.  Under this breakdown....nothing happens at the same time...although in real life it may be tough to tell.

A player can not have his cake and eat it too...A hinder occurs or doesn't occur.  If a player takes his shot he lives with it.  If a player wants a hinder...the hinder occurs prior to him striking the ball....so once he does strike the ball he gives up his claim to the hinder because he has moved beyond that instant and now must live with the shot and the rally continues to be live.

This gets tough in certain situations like the one your first questions addresses.  What if the player elects to take the shot and then during his normal shot mechanics player B creates a hinder and it's too late to stop his swing...then what?  Well this is why there are refs...lacking refs...here is the general rule we live with...if the player alters his shot or mechanics because another player got in the way beyond the time he could hold up...then the player has the option of calling a hinder or living with the shot...however he does not get the luxury of seeing the outcome of the shot.  The questions I always ask is this....especially when the ball skips...If the ball had just rolled out...would you have taken the point...if they answer yes...they also have to take the skip...

Now getting hit with the racquet is another very difficult situation...in general...if a player gets hit with the racquet during setup of the shot or before ball contact...it's a hinder (it may be a point hinder...but it's a hinder)...If a player gets hit after the ball leave the racquet....it really had no effect on the shot and you should play it.  I know this makes the player who just hit the other player uncomfortable...but on our time slice breakdown...the instant the ball leaves the strings of the player...it is officially the other teams court.  Now with that said...a player can not crowd or get in the way at any time before ball contact...and that is an important part of this.  The player hitting should not have to worry about striking another player with his swing...this worry created by the player getting hit may be enough right there to force an altered shot and may justify a hinder call before the swing even occurs.

This is all Racquetball Hinder Theory and I know it's very tough to break situations down into instants when they happen so fast...but something always happens first...and you can't have an option of seeing your shot before you do or do not call a hinder.  The result of the shot definitely happens after everything else so it can't be considered in the call at all.

I had a guy call a hinder on me the other day because he couldn't see the ball I hit into the corner.  He was behind me and was clearly blocked from the shot, but isn't the real question whether he has an opportunity to get to the ball.  Is this a screen, a hinder or a good shot?

The first questions is...if you weren't there could he have even retrieved the shot...if there was even a chance to retrieve the ball...it's usually a hinder and play over....but if the answer is that if you disappeared and the opponent wouldn't be able to return the shot anyway….then you being in the way doesn't factor in and it's a good shot.

Need help with screen serve during doubles. The problem occurs when the
server gets a case of the sneaky and serves to the opposite side. Example:
I'm serving on the right and hit a drive serve up the middle. Yes, the
receiver on the right is screened, but the left side receiver has a clear
view of the serve, but he's asleep. The right side receiver hollers

Here's the way I see it...You get to choose what serve you hit....but you don't get to choose who will return the serve.  With that said, your serve can't be determined to be a screen serve to either player.  However, a screen is not defined by the receiving player's ability to see the ball.  The only way a screen can be called on your example is if the served ball passes very close to you as it comes off the front wall....and very close usually is defined as a racquet length or less (22").

If you don't break the side screen serve zone and the ball doesn't pass that close to you....it's impossible for a screen serve call.  Once you pass those two screen obstacles, it becomes the responsibility of the receiver to move into a better position to see the ball.  His lack of moment at this point and thus inability to see the ball is not a screen serve.

In theory, that's the deal....in reality, it's tough to get a player who doesn't see the ball to realize he didn't see it because he was lazy and didn't bother to move to the correct position.

Hope everyone enjoyed seeing my life is as filled with problems as yours….I also hope you can point to some of these answers in your daily court battles.