Racket sports have existed for centuries and remain increasingly popular to this day. Nowadays, there are so many different racket sports to choose from. Below are some of the most popular sports and how to play them.
Tennis is the racket sport most people think of first, and it has bred some of the most famous athletes of any racket sport including Roger Federer and Venus Williams. It is a game of speed and power - the court is larger than most other racket sport courts, which means more ground needs to be covered and more strength is required when hitting the ball. The rules can seem quite complicated at first for complete newbies, but those who have watched tennis before can usually pick them up quickly.
Tennis is usually played outside, although many indoor courts exist. You can find tennis courts in most towns and cities, although you’ll generally need to bring your own rackets and balls. Tennis rackets and balls can vary in price depending on the quality you are after. It is best to start with beginner gear as it is cheaper and easier to learn with. This post explains more about choosing a tennis racket.
While many of us can't name a single famous badminton player, most of us have played this sport. In fact, it arguably attracts more participants than tennis. Badminton uses longer and lighter rackets, and a shuttlecock instead of a ball. It is also played on a smaller court. Like tennis, it is a game of fast reactions and endurance, however accuracy is generally more important than power.
In most cases, badminton is played indoors (any wind can carry the shuttlecock and make the game unplayable). Some courts allow you to hire rackets and shuttlecocks. Others require you to provide your own - fortunately, equipment is fairly cheap.
Also commonly known as ‘table tennis’, ping pong is played across a small table using a plastic ball and wooden paddles. Unlike tennis where powerful shots are key, ping pong is all about delicacy - there’s almost no need to swing the racket as this will cause you to hit the ball too far. Although very fast-paced, playing around a table means that you don’t have to move around as much, making this game more suitable for all ages.
Ping pong tables can be found in various locations from sports halls to bars. You can usually rent out paddles and a ball with a table. If you choose to buy your own, you’re likely to find many cheap options online. Because ping pong tables don’t take up too much room and aren’t too expensive, many people even buy tables for their homes and practise there.
Pickleball didn’t exist until the 60s. A family from Washington state decided to experiment by playing ping pong on a badminton court. With a few tweaks, this eventually evolved into pickleball - which is now an international sport and one of the fastest rising sports in the US. These days, it is played with specialist pickleball paddles (which are heavier and more durable than ping pong paddles) and a pickleball (a hollow plastic ball with holes in it to provide drag). Specialist pickleball courts have also been built for this sport, which are similar to badminton courts but with a lower net.
The amount of pickleball courts in the US is rapidly growing. Some courts allow you to hire paddles and a ball. You can also buy paddles online such as these beginner pickleball paddles. When choosing a pickleball, there are indoor and outdoor balls to choose from.
Squash is another popular racket sport that is sometimes referred to as the ‘toughest’. It is usually played in an indoor court. Players stand next to each other facing a wall and must hit the ball so that it bounces off the wall. Both the racket and the ball used are different to tennis. The same is very fast paced and physically exertive - if you’re looking for an intense cardio workout, this is the sport for you.
You’ll find plenty of squash courts across the country. Some courts supply rackets and a ball, while others require you to bring your own. A variant of squash called racquetball is also quite popular and has its own courts, although can be played on a squash court.