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Racquet Sports Categories

Direct Games and Indirect Games

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Racquet sports have existed for hundreds, if not thousands of years, and all of them involve hitting a moving object with something held in the player's hand. What is held is usually called a racquet if it includes strings, or a paddle if it is of solid construction.

The moving object is often a round ball, but sometimes (as in badminton) the object being struck is quite different.

The various racquet sports differ greatly in the composition, size, weight, and exact shape of the racquet and ball, in the rules for scoring, and in the boundaries of the playing area. All of them, however, fall into two main types:
  • Direct Games - these are the games in which opponents face each other (often separated by a net)
  • Indirect Games - these are games in which opponents compete within the same space, but face a common wall.
Some players feel that the direct games offer more competition because the opponent is always kept in view, and because the speed of the projectile (the object being struck) is undiminished by rebounding from a wall. Direct games also offer limited opportunity for deception since the opponent is kept within sight. Graham Tomkinson, in his excellent book, Sticke Tennis, observes that direct games are psychologically satisfying since they are "reminiscent of the noble competitive spirit of battle".

Indirect games, however, offer players the opportunity to compete in very close proximity to their opponents. Because of the physical closeness, indirect games can become great territorial battles. Even quiet communications can be overheard, which contributes to the intensity of the psychological battle. Although preparations for each racquet stroke might be hidden by the opponent's body, the opponent's physical state is very observable in indirect games, and signs of weakness become apparent.

Here are examples of the two types of racquet sports, so that you can get on court, experience racquet sports of both types, and reach your own conclusions!

Direct Games (Opponents Facing Each Other) Indirect Games (Opponents Side-by-Side)

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