Photo of International Racquetball Federation Officials (Referees) before the 2023 Junior World Championships

New to refereeing racquetball? 10 things to make your match go smoothly!

New to refereeing racquetball?

Here are the 10 things I quickly discuss with my players before letting them get started.

1) Introduction. Name is usually enough here. Don’t go into how much refereeing experience you have, or don’t have.

2) How I will stop play. If a glass backed court, this could mean that I will demonstrate tapping on the glass with a coin. For an open gallery court, I will simply say stop, or down, etc. but I will set that expectation here at the beginning of the match.

3) Court Hinders. If there are known spots in the court that will have a bad bounce, or a speaker, or a microphone, etc. then I will point those out first. If it is out of my view, then I will indicate to the players how they should let me know when those foreign items or bad spots are hit. If the court were subject to “wet walls”, I would discuss this as well, including how and why I would call that on a serve.

4) Open Gallery. Many players play in an enclosed court like at an LA Fitness. They will frequently be unfamiliar with the rules on the ball going out that gallery opening, since they never see the issue in local play.
Front wall > Out = sideout or point for the person who didn’t hit it out
Front Wall > Floor > Out = Replay

5) Serve Timing. I discuss with the players that they must not serve (or second serve) until I have called the score. If someone on the outside of the court has interrupted me, I won’t be able to do their game justice (can’t call it short if I was talking to the tournament director, for example). So, wait for the ref to call the score, then check your opponent (visibly, so that I can see it as the ref), then put the ball in play.

6) Screen serves and how I will call them.

7) Timeouts. How to let me know if you want to call one, how to let me know if you want to know how many you have left. I will also discuss the length of the timeout and the number of timeouts per game, since that recently changed in the USA Racquetball rules.

8) Time between games. This has recently changed for the time between game 2 and game 3, if a tiebreaker game is necessary.

9) Hinders. I stress safety and holding up your hand (and not swinging) if you want a safety hinder. A penalty hinder can be called even when you swing. (This can be an hour-long discussion, so I try to keep it short and simple.)

10) Have fun. Remind them to enjoy “The Game”. 🙂


The most important things that you can do as a referee are to be Loud and Quick. Make your calls immediately and ensure that the players hear the call to stop play. It is okay to be wrong, the players can overturn you. Do not invite discussion or arguments by being meek or appearing indecisive. Be fast with your call, be loud, and be clear. Then move on. 🙂


What do you do as a referee to ensure that your players have a great match that is well understood and well run?
Let me know on Reddit, Threads, X, or Facebook.

If you haven’t been certified as a referee yet, get certified before your next tournament!


The photo is of the officials / referees of the XXIV Central American and Caribbean Games San Salvador 2023 hosted by the International Racquetball Federation in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.