Racketball resurgence gathers pace across Scotland

As a new wave of racket sports grow in popularity in Scotland, racketball is experiencing a resurgence across the country.

Played with a larger, bouncier ball, it provides a great all-round workout for players of all levels of ability.

A coach’s passion

Racketball, provides numerous health benefits, offering a complete cardio workout along with a fun, social experience.

Coaches, passionate about the game and those potential health and social benefits offered by the sport, spread the word of a fun, accessible game – open to all.

Matt Bedwell, Head Squash and Racketball at Newlands Tennis Club is an advocate for the sport, driving its growth at his club.

Matt said: “For a brand new player, I think racketball is a bit of an easier start to racket sports with a bigger ball and adapted serve, meaning that people can get going quickly.

“It’s definitely a sport for everyone, and it really is true that it is easy to start playing but hard to stop!”

Driven by passionate advocates like Matt, the numbers at Newlands have continued to grow.

Matt added: “We have a racketball club night, we’re trying to build the racketball section because squash and racketball complement each other, creating a brilliant atmosphere at the club.

“It has slightly different demands to help keep players sharp, with longer rallies, and it’s a brilliant sport for cardio.”

Participants at the Scottish Racketball Nationals held by RASTA in 2022

Racketball Around Scotland Turas an Alba

Twelve years ago, Keith Gristwood and Jason Broadberry sought opportunities for competitive racketball, but were frustrated to find the closest competition was being held several hundred miles away.

From that, Racketball Around Scotland Turas an Alba (RASTA) was born, and it has gone from strength to strength, with over 75 events held at 16 venues across the country and 2000 total tournament entries from over 300 individuals in that period.

Keith said: “Our tournaments are all graded events so it’s really accessible to everyone, we’ve got some top Masters players that are playing now, but you’ve also got three or four divisions so that everyone can have competitive matches regardless of their ability.

“We welcome everyone along – we’ve had participants from ages 16 to 84 – and all of the players are able to have great rallies and matches which might be more difficult in squash.”

With the next event scheduled for Aberdeen this weekend, Keith and the participants are looking forward to the next stop in the national tour.

“There is a real sense of community because we have a core of players that participate in most of the events annually.

“We also get people that just come along to events at their club, and that’s the only one they play at – everyone is welcome to play.”

With the Scottish Racketball Nationals taking place at Watsonians on September 7th and 8th, and the inaugural Racketball Home Internationals taking place in Scotland on 21st and 22nd September, there have never been more opportunities for those that wish to take their game to the next level.

Some of the participants at a RASTA event – demonstrating the group’s sense of community

A club’s view

Clubs across Scotland are actively promoting racketball, with a variety of events and sessions driving interest and introducing the sport to new players.

Ailsa Polworth, Club Manager at Inverness Tennis Squash Club, has seen the benefits that offering regular racketball sessions has brought to the club.

Ailsa said: “We held our first Racketball event last year, which was very much a taster to see if it would be popular and we were delighted that it was well attended and enjoyed by all.

“We decided to promote it a bit more within the club and have recently introduced Racketball as a regular feature of a Saturday club afternoon, and more players are now giving it a try and getting involved.

“Feedback has been that whilst it is still as much of a workout as Squash, it is an easier game for beginners to pick up due to the bouncier ball and therefore usually longer rallies. It also closes the gap between players of varying standards and evens out the competition a bit.

“Also some players who are returning from injury find it better for them to return to Racketball initially due to the lower impact.

“We are planning to incorporate it into our club championships and are also planning another Racketball event soon so hopefully we will see the popularity continue to increase”.

Give it a try?

Racketball’s resurgence in Scotland is marked by its accessibility, health benefits, and the dedicated efforts of individuals and clubs.

As more people discover the joy of the sport, the community continues to grow, welcoming players of all ages and abilities.

To get involved, visit your local club or if you’re looking for competition, check out upcoming RASTA events – racketball is truly a sport for everyone.