Joe Sobek is credited with inventing the sport of racquetball in the Greenwich, Connecticut, YMCA, though not with naming it. He designed the first strung paddle, devised a set of rules, and named his game paddle rackets. In 1952 Sobek founded the National Paddle Rackets Association (NPRA), codified the rules, and had them printed as a booklet. In 1969 the International Racquetball Association (IRA) was founded using the name coined by Bob McInerney, a professional tennis player. Starting in the 1970s, racquetball became one of the fastest growing sports in the US, racquetball clubs and courts were founded and built, and sporting goods manufacturers began producing racquetball specific equipment.
The International Racquetball Federation (IRF) was formed in 1979. The United States hosted the first Racquetball World Championship in 1981, which were held in conjunction with the first World Games. The second World Championships were played in 1984. Racquetball was recognized by the IOC in 1985. Unfortunately, by the early 90s, the popularity of racquetball began to decline. There are three professional racquetball organizations. The International Racquetball Tour (IRT) is the men's professional organization that began in the 1980s, with the World Racquetball Tour (WRT) starting more recently. The Ladies Professional Racquetball Tour (LPRT) is the women's professional organization.