RacquetWorld's Newsletter Racquetball Tip of the Month


Q & A Part II

Here is our second question in our ongoing Spring 2012 Racquetball Q&A Series.

In doubles which team has the right to call a serve short or long...I thought ONLY either member of the receiving team can call it.

I assume these are somewhat friendly non refereed games...when we play this way...anyone can call a short serve  (we don't let the serving team call a screen).  After the call is made and there is disagreement (usually along party lines) you have a couple options...you can replay the serve since everyone stopped...or you play second serve.

What you can't do is look at the result of the service return prior to getting the serve call right and start the argument based on the serve return outcome.

Here is really how it is supposed to play out...

The serving team serves...if it's not 100% obvious that it’s a short serve everyone plays the serve as if its good but upon thinking it was short either the server (or partner) or either member of the receiving team raises their non racquet holding hand into the air to signal that they thought it was short  (the same signal would apply for a receiver signally a potential screen serve…but again only the receiving team has this option on a potential screen call)...once the opposing team members see this they agree to a short call by immediately stopping play and everything stops at that point and it’s a short serve...or they continue to play the point out which means they disagree with the short call.

Playing the point out does not mean that the good serve / bad serve dispute is over.  It only means it’s on hold until after the point is now played out to a conclusion.  The reason to play out the point should be obvious.  Once you stop the play, you can’t restart it.  If after the discussion 3 of the 4 players agree the ball was good, where can you go from there except a replay…that’s not right…and that’s why we play the entire point out and then go back for a discussion.

 In all honesty, here’s what really happens next.  If the team that wanted the short call wins the rally….they pretend asking for the short call never really happened.  The team that didn’t think it was short, but lost the rally…now thinks the ball was short.  It’s inevitable.

After all this is said and done...if two players say short and 2 say good...you usually replay...if 3 vote one way...that way stands.  But remember you’re not voting on the outcome of the rally, you’re voting on whether the serve was good or short and trying to put the outcome of the rally out of your mind for the vote…obviously that also never happens.

If the call ends up being it was a short serve, the rally following the short serve never happened and you go back and it’s second serve (or side out if a one serve game or if this happened on a second serve).

If the call ends up that the serve was good then you move on to the outcome of the rally. 

I hope this helps...the real issue I hope you get out of this discussion is how to avoid the premature stoppage of play that occurs...if you eliminate the stoppage by playing the ball and raising your hand....it should simplify your court life and cut down on arguments.


Questions or comment…Pat@Racquetworld.com

You can forward any rules questions to me at Pat@Racquetworld.com