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Greetings, racket sports aficionados!

Are you prepared to ace the game?

Pounce on our ultimate racket sport list, sorted by popularity.

From experienced pros to eager beginners, there’s a racket sport here to suit everyone’s taste and skill level!

Racket Sports List

  1. Badminton
  2. Tennis
  3. Table Tennis (Ping Pong)
  4. Pickleball
  5. Squash
  6. Paddle Tennis
  7. Racquetball
  8. Padel
  9. Beach Tennis
  10. Real Tennis

#1 Badminton

Badminton

Badminton traces its origins back to ancient India, where it was known as “poona.” The modern version of the sport, however, was developed in the mid-19th century by British officers stationed in India.

Today, badminton is widely popular in Asia, particularly in countries such as China, Indonesia, Malaysia, and India.

The Badminton World Federation (BWF) governs the sport and organizes prestigious tournaments such as the BWF World Championships and the Thomas & Uber Cup. Badminton became an Olympic sport in 1992 at the Barcelona Games.

#2 Tennis

Tennis

Tennis has its roots in 12th-century France, where it was played with the palm of the hand and later evolved into a racket sport with the invention of the tennis racket in the 16th century.

Today, tennis is globally popular and is played professionally in countries like the United States, Australia, France, and the United Kingdom.

The International Tennis Federation (ITF) oversees the sport, and the four Grand Slam tournaments—Australian Open, French Open, Wimbledon, and US Open— are the most prestigious events. Tennis has been an Olympic sport since 1896, with a brief absence from 1924 to 1984.

#3 Table Tennis (Ping Pong)

Table Tennis (Ping Pong)

Table tennis, also known as ping pong, emerged in the late 1800s in England as an indoor version of lawn tennis. The sport quickly gained popularity worldwide, particularly in Asian countries like China, Japan, and South Korea.

The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) governs the sport, and world championships are held biennially. Table tennis became an Olympic sport in 1988 during the Seoul Games.

#4 Pickleball

Pickleball

Pickleball was invented in 1965 on Bainbridge Island, Washington, USA, by three friends as a combination of elements from badminton, tennis, and table tennis.

The sport has since gained popularity in the United States and Canada, with an increasing number of courts and players.

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) governs the sport in the US, and the Annual USAPA National Championships is the premier pickleball event. World championships are also held under the International Federation of Pickleball (IFP) umbrella.

#5 Squash

Squash

Squash, originating in the 19th century at the Harrow School in England, is an indoor racket sport played in a four-walled court. It is popular worldwide, particularly in countries such as England, Egypt, and Australia.

The World Squash Federation (WSF) governs the sport, and the annual PSA World Championships and the biennial WSF World Team Championships are the most prestigious events.

Squash, though not an Olympic sport, has been contending for inclusion in the Olympic program.

#6 Paddle Tennis

Paddle Tennis

Paddle tennis, invented in 1898 by an Episcopal minister from New York, is a modified version of tennis typically played on a shorter court. The sport is popular in the United States and Spain.

The American Paddle Tennis Association (APTA) and the Spanish Paddle Tennis Federation (FEP) govern the sport regionally and organize national championships.

While paddle tennis is not part of the Olympic program, it remains a popular recreational and competitive sport.

#7 Racquetball

Racquetball

Racquetball was invented in 1950 by an American professional tennis and handball player, Joe Sobek. It is an indoor sport similar to squash but played with a larger racket and a bouncier ball.

Racquetball is popular in North America, particularly in the United States and Canada. The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) governs the sport and organizes the World Racquetball Championships biennially.

Racquetball is not an Olympic sport but is included in events like the Pan American Games and the World Games.

#8 Padel

Padel

Padel originated in Mexico in 1969 and is a blend of tennis and squash played on an enclosed court with walls. The sport has gained popularity mainly in Spain and Latin American countries.

The International Padel Federation (FIP) governs the sport and organizes the World Padel Championships every two years. While not an Olympic sport, the popularity of padel continues to grow worldwide.

#9 Beach Tennis

Beach Tennis

Beach tennis, a combination of beach volleyball and tennis, was developed in Italy in the early 1980s. The sport is played on a beach volleyball court with solid rackets and a lower-compression tennis ball.

Beach tennis has since gained popularity in Europe, South America, and the United States. The International Tennis Federation (ITF) governs the sport and organizes the annual ITF Beach Tennis World Championships.

Beach tennis is not an Olympic sport but has gained a strong following among beach sports enthusiasts.

#10 Real Tennis

Real tennis, also known as royal tennis or court tennis, dates back to the 14th century and is considered the original form of tennis. The sport is played on an indoor court with walls and various openings, using a solid racket and a hard ball.

Real tennis is mainly popular in the United Kingdom, France, the United States, and Australia. The various national associations govern the sport, and the World Championships of Real Tennis is held every two years to crown the world champion.

Real tennis, though not an Olympic sport, maintains a devoted following among racket sport enthusiasts.

More Racket Sports

  1. Platform tennis: Invented in 1928 in Scarsdale, New York, platform tennis is played on a raised, heated, and fenced-in court. The sport is predominantly popular in the United States, particularly in the Northeast. The American Platform Tennis Association (APTA) governs the sport and organizes the annual National Platform Tennis Championships.
  2. Matkot: Matkot is a beach paddleball game that originated in Israel in the early 20th century. It is most commonly played on the beaches of Israel and has gained popularity in other Mediterranean countries. Matkot is a non-competitive recreational sport and does not have official organized tournaments.
  3. Frescobol: This Brazilian beach paddleball game was developed in the 1940s in Rio de Janeiro. It is a popular recreational activity on Brazilian beaches and has spread to beaches worldwide. Frescobol is a non-competitive sport focused on cooperation between players and does not have official organized tournaments.
  4. Basque pelota: Originating in the Basque region of Spain and France in the Middle Ages, Basque pelota is a fast-paced racket sport played on a walled court. It has several variations and is popular in other countries, such as Argentina and Mexico. The International Federation of Basque Pelota (FIPV) governs the sport and organizes the biennial World Championships of Basque Pelota.
  5. Stické: Stické, also known as stické tennis, is a racket sport developed in the late 19th century in England. It combines elements of real tennis, lawn tennis, and racquets. The sport is mainly played in the United Kingdom and has a small, dedicated following. While not an Olympic sport, annual national championships are held in the UK.
  6. Speedminton (Crossminton): Invented in Germany in 2001, this racket sport combines elements of badminton, squash, and tennis. It is played without a net, and the players use specialized speeder shuttlecocks. Speedminton is popular in Europe and the United States. The International Crossminton Organisation (ICO) governs the sport and organizes the annual World Crossminton Championships.
  7. Jokari: Jokari, a traditional Basque paddleball game, dates back to the 19th century. Played with a paddle and a rubber ball attached to an elastic cord, the sport can be played solo or with a partner. It is popular in France, Spain, and Argentina as a recreational activity. There are no official competitions for Jokari.
  8. Touchtennis: Originating in the United Kingdom in the early 2000s, touchtennis is played on a compact court using foam balls and smaller rackets. The sport has gained popularity primarily in the UK but has spread to other countries. The Touchtennis Association (TTA) governs the sport and organizes various touchtennis tournaments and a world ranking system.
  9. Ball badminton: Ball badminton, an ancient racket sport from India, is played outdoors on a lawn or sand court using woolen balls and a net. It is popular in India and played on a competitive level. The Ball Badminton Federation of India (BBFI) governs the sport and conducts national and state-level tournaments.
  10. Four wall paddleball: Developed in the United States in the early 20th century, four wall paddleball is an indoor sport similar to racquetball and handball but played with a solid paddle. Predominantly popular in the US, the sport has regional governing associations and hosts various tournaments throughout the year.
  11. Racketlon: Racketlon, a combination of table tennis, badminton, squash, and tennis, originated in Sweden and Finland in the 1980s. Players compete in all four sports sequentially, and the sport has gained popularity in Europe and North America. The International Racketlon Federation (IRF) governs the sport and organizes the World Racketlon Championships annually.
  12. Downside ball game: Downside ball game is a racket sport played at Downside School in the United Kingdom. It is similar to fives, a British handball game, but with rackets. The sport is primarily played at Downside School and does not have official organized competitions or a governing body.
  13. Stoolball: Stoolball is a traditional English sport dating back to medieval times. It is similar to cricket but played with a racket and stool as the target. The sport is predominantly played in the Sussex and Midlands regions of England. The National Stoolball Association governs the sport and organizes various regional leagues and tournaments.
  14. Tamburello: Tamburello, an ancient racket sport from Italy, dates back to the Roman Empire. It is played outdoors on a rectangular or hexagonal court using a ball and a round, flat-sided racket. Tamburello is most popular in Italy, with some interest in France and Catalonia. The International Tamburello Federation (FIT) governs the sport and organizes the World Tamburello Championships.
  15. Paleta Frontón: Paleta Frontón is a Peruvian variation of the Basque pelota that originated in the early 20th century. It is played on an outdoor court with a solid wall using a wooden or carbon fiber racket and a rubber ball. The sport is mainly popular in Peru and has spread to neighboring countries. Tournaments and leagues are held regionally, but there is no international governing body.
  16. Sphairee: Sphairee is an indoor racket sport from Belgium that began in the late 19th century. It is similar to real tennis but played on a smaller court with a lighter ball. The sport is mainly played in Belgium and does not have official organized competitions or a governing body.
  17. Totem tennis: Totem tennis is an Australian outdoor game invented in the 20th century. It involves hitting a ball attached to a pole with a small racket. Primarily a recreational sport, totem tennis is popular in Australian parks and backyards. There are no official organized tournaments or a governing body for this sport.
  18. Battledore and shuttlecock: An ancient Asian sport dating back to the 5th century BCE, battledore and shuttlecock is the precursor to modern badminton. The sport is played with a simple paddle and a shuttlecock, with the objective of keeping the shuttlecock in the air as long as possible. Today, this sport remains a popular recreational activity in Asia and does not have a governing body or organized competitions.
  19. Pelota mixteca: Pelota mixteca is an ancient Mesoamerican racket sport dating back over 3,500 years. The sport is played on an open field with a solid rubber ball and a racket adorned with leather strips. It is most popular in the Mixtec region of Mexico, and various regional and national tournaments take place in the country.
  20. Qianball: Qianball is a relatively new racket sport originating in China in the 21st century. It combines elements of tennis, table tennis, and badminton and is played on a unique court with a net and target service areas. The sport is primarily played in China, and the International Qianball Federation (IQF) governs it and organizes various competitions and events.
  21. Road tennis: Road tennis, originated in Barbados in the 1930s, is a street version of lawn tennis played on a smaller court without a net. The sport is popular in Barbados and some Caribbean countries. The Barbados Road Tennis Association governs the sport, and regional and national competitions take place regularly.
  22. Soft tennis: Soft tennis is a racket sport derived from lawn tennis and developed in Japan in the late 19th century. It is played on a standard tennis court but uses a soft rubber ball instead of a regular tennis ball. The sport is most popular in Asia, particularly Japan, South Korea, and Taiwan. The International Soft Tennis Federation (ISTF) governs the sport and organizes the World Soft Tennis Championships.
  23. Squash tennis: Squash tennis, a combination of squash and lawn tennis, was developed in the early 20th century in the United States. The sport is mainly played in North America on a squash court but uses tennis balls and rackets. There are no major governing bodies or organized competitions for squash tennis, but it remains a recreational activity for squash and tennis enthusiasts.
  24. Hardball squash: Hardball squash is a variation of squash that uses a smaller, harder, and faster ball than the traditional squash balls. The sport was popular in North America from the late 19th century until the 1990s when it was largely replaced by the international standard squash. Hardball squash is still played in some clubs but does not have an official governing body or competitions.
  25. Miniten: Miniten, a British-version of short tennis, was developed in the early 20th century. Played on a smaller court with a lower net, it uses soft tennis balls and wooden paddles. Miniten is primarily played as a recreational sport in the United Kingdom and has no official governing body or organized competitions.
  26. Table squash: Table squash, a racket sport developed in Australia in the late 20th century, is played on a table with a net and uses a squash ball and mini squash rackets. The sport is regarded mainly as a fun and recreational activity, and there are no official governing bodies or organized tournaments for table squash.
  27. Paddle ball: Paddle ball is a North American variation of paddle tennis, played on a smaller court without a net. The game is played with wooden paddles and a punctured rubber ball, and can be played in singles or doubles format. Paddle ball is predominantly a recreational sport, and there are no official governing bodies or organized competitions.
  28. Pitton: Pitton is a traditional French racket sport that is played with a wooden racket and a leather-covered ball. The game is played on a hard surface with a stone or wooden target and is mainly played for recreational purposes. There are no official governing bodies or organized competitions for pitton.
  29. Spec Tennis: Spec Tennis, also known as paddle tennis or short-court tennis, is a variation of tennis played on a smaller court with solid rackets and a depressurized tennis ball. The sport is played primarily in the United States as a fun and recreational activity and does not have a governing body or organized competitions.
  30. Pan Pong: Pan Pong is a spin-off of table tennis that uses frying pans as rackets. The game is played on a table with a net, and players hit a regular table tennis ball back and forth using the frying pans. Pan Pong is mainly played for entertainment and recreational purposes and does not have official governing bodies or organized competitions.

FAQ

What are the most popular racket sports?

The most popular racket sports include badminton, tennis, table tennis, pickleball, squash, paddle tennis, racquetball, padel, beach tennis, and real tennis.

How many different racket sports are there?

Our racket sports list includes 40 unique racket sports.

Max is a sports enthusiast who loves all kinds of ball and water sports. He founded & runs stand-up-paddling.org (#1 German Paddleboarding Blog), played competitive Badminton and Mini Golf (competed on national level in Germany), started learning ‘real’ Golf and dabbled in dozens of other sports & activities.

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