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As of January 1st, the International Racquetball Tour (IRT) approved two new rule changes that will apply to all future events on their schedule. The most interesting rule change, is the elimination of the traditional three out of five game structure that has been a staple of the tour for the better part of two decades. This change comes on the hinges of a new ownership and management group taking over the tour, and promising a better product for the fans and players. The question becomes, does this rule change fit that statement, and actually make things better?
It seems to have been a change that sparked a great deal of diverse opinions on social media among the die hard racquetball fans. The team at WearRollout.com, a partner of the tour, gives this change a big thumbs up. In a perfect world, all racquetball organizing groups work together and “normalize” the rules and structure of the game. We are actually in favor of doing away with “open” racquetball divisions and turning all divisions with prize money into “pro” divisions. The issue with that, however, is that it requires many different groups sitting down at the same table and working out some commonalities between their distinct products.
In the absence of that being a possibility, we applaud the IRT’s interest in normalization, by adopting the scoring structure of the traditional USA Racquetball match model. We believe it creates continuity, and in theory, should create more instances of “tiebreakers.” All racquetball players know that nothing is more exciting than a tiebreaker. With a 5 game model, most games are contested in a three or four game match, with the “better” player coming out on top. Upsets and five game matches are few and far between. In the new scoring system, we should see more upsets and tiebreakers, which brings more excitement and energy to a tournament.
So bottom line, we give a big thumbs up to the IRT for making a change that brings a more standardized “look” to racquetball, and on paper improves the product for the fans!