Why not try the sport of Kent? Although the origins of racketball lie in the USA, the game played in the UK was developed by Ian Wright from Bexley. Inspired by Joe Sobek's Racquetball in the United States, Wright created the British version in 1976. The game does not have a long and complex history like most sports, making its popularity phenomenal. It has massive potential growth as new generations are introduced to it.
The sport was first developed in the early 20th century by combining a number of popular sports including tennis, handball and squash. The official inventor, Joseph G. Sobek (1918 – 1998) came up with the basic game while working in a rubber manufacturing plant in Connecticut.
Sobek founded the Paddle Racquet Association in 1952 and distributed a set of rules to all YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) centres in the United States to help spread the popularity of the sport. By 1969, the game had become so popular worldwide that a man named Robert Kendler founded the “International Racquetball Association”.
The reputation of the sport grew as more athletes came to recognise its high intensity, ensuring a great workout. Sports clubs and country clubs throughout the United States picked up on the interest in the sport and started building racketball courts in their clubs throughout the 1950s. This was followed by the sport’s first governing body which was funded in 1969 and now goes by the name of USRA (United States Racquetball Association). US Racketball currently has an estimated 5.6 million players.
Racketball first began to be played in the UK in 1976 under new rules created by Ian Wright. Played on a squash court rather than a hardball court, the ceiling is out of bounds and the rules closely follow squash rules. Racketball has grown rapidly since The British Racketball Association was formed in February 1984. It is because of British racketball’s popularity that it is now being played in many countries where squash is popular, such as Australia, Bermuda, New Zealand, Malaysia, South Africa, France, The Netherlands, Sweden, Germany, and in North America.
Racketball is the latest fastest growing racket sport in the UK. It’s a great aerobic workout but less strenuous than squash and a great way to keep fit. Because it can be played on a squash court, racketball can be played on over 5000 courts across the UK. It is thought that over 500,000 people play either squash or racketball regularly in the UK.
If you would like to try racketball for the first time give me a call and we can arrange a game to show you how to play and run through the rules. We now have peak and off peak racketball box leagues and a team in the local league playing other clubs and we are hoping to start a second team next year. If any members wish to join the leagues or the teams give me a call and we will fit you in. You can hire rackets from the bar for a refundable deposit, and we sell rackets with prices starting at just ￡24.
Steve Spinks Mobile: 07429 041801
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