Avoiding Pickleball Pitfalls

Pickleball is the fastest growing sport in the USA due to the social component, the fun factor, and the short learning curve. The sport uses a paddle and plastic ball and is a game that combines elements of tennis, badminton and ping pong. 

Although it is a great activity to improve your cardiovascular system, muscle conditioning, agility, and reaction time, as with all sports, there is a risk of injury. In fact, Rebound Orthopedics and Neurosurgery recently released a statement to warn people that even a casual pickleball player could be at risk for injuries including sprains and strains to the wrist, ankle, shoulder, back and knees. 

Here are a few tips to keep you playing strong for the long-term:

Before You Play

Rebound recommends you invest in some coaching to ensure proper technique. They also suggest that you are well hydrated and warm up before you begin competitive play.

Paddle Swings

Place your paddle in one hand and swing your arm forward and backwards. Do 10x and then repeat on the other arm.

Paddle and Wrist Circles

Place your paddle in one hand and make 10 big circles going one way and then 10 circles going the other way to warm up your shoulders. Repeat with the opposite arm. Then do the same thing but only rotate your wrists 10 x each direction per arm. 

Paddle Rotations

Stand with your feet hip width apart. Place your paddle in one hand and then reach your paddle to the side of your body and then to the opposite side of your body sweeping side to side to warm up your torso to a twisting action. Do 10x and then repeat with the paddle in the other arm.

Paddle Reach and Side Bend

Stand with your feet hip width apart. Place your paddle in one hand and then reach your paddle overhead and then reach to the opposite side of your body into a side bend. Repeat 10x on each side. 

Leg Swings and Ankle Rotations

To warm up your hips and thighs, stand on one leg and swing the opposite leg forward and backward. Repeat 10x and then repeat on the other leg. Now, swing the leg side to side in a pendulum action 10x each side. Now stand on one leg while you circle your thigh through your hip socket going one direction 5x and then reverse the circle for 5x. Complete on the opposite leg. Now stand on one leg and perform 10 ankle rotations each direction on the lifted ankle and then complete on the other leg. 

Paddle Lunges

Start by standing tall with your paddle in one hand arm extended overhead. Lunge forward as low as it feels comfortable while reaching your paddle forward then return to the starting position with paddle reaching overhead. Then lunge forward on a diagonal with the paddle reaching in the same direction and then back to the starting position. Then lunge laterally to the side with the paddle reaching to the side and back to the starting position. Repeat on the other leg. Do 5x each side through each direction. While performing your lunges, keep your knee and toes pointed in the same direction and your front knee stacked over your front foot. 

Gentle Jog/Shuffle

Start on the back corner of the pickleball court. Jog forward to the net. Now shuffle laterally across the net. Now back pedal to the back of the court. Shuffle laterally back to where you started. Repeat 5x going one direction. Take a break and then repeat 5x going the opposite direction.

Once you’re ready to play, do some cooperative play with your partner to wake up your reflexes before you begin your competition. You’re now ready to play your best game!

While You Play

Rebound warns that you should be sure you are wearing proper footwear. A shoe designed for court sports that will provide support for side to side and forward movements is important. Rebound reminds that if you suffer from past injuries and pain, be sure to have your support or braces on. Finally, be sure to hydrate! 

After You Play

Rebound reminds you to cool down, stretch and hydrate post-play. 

If you have rolled an ankle during pickleball or feel aches or pains in your back or joints afterward, contact Rebound at (866) 275-5709 to consult with one of their medical experts and get the care you need to get back on the court. 

Bonus: Jessica Mossman, local coach and trainer, is starting a Pickleball Training camp to help improve performance and reduce injury. Contact 360.574.7292 for more details. 

Yours in health & fitness,
Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan

Sherri McMillan, holds a master's degree in exercise physiology and has been inspiring the world to adopt a fitness lifestyle for more than 33 years. She has received numerous industry awards including 2010 CanFitPro International Presenter of the Year, 2006 IDEA Fitness Director of the Year, 1998 IDEA Personal Trainer of the Year, 1998 CanFitPro Fitness Presenter of the Year and 2005/2006 ACE Fitness Educator of the Year - Runner up. She is a fitness trainer, fitness columnist for various magazines and newspapers, author of five books and manuals including "Go For Fit - the Winning Way to Fat Loss" and "Fit over Forty" and the featured presenter in various fitness DVDs. She has presented hundreds of workshops to thousands of fitness leaders throughout Canada, Australia, Mexico, Jamaica, New Zealand, Germany, England, Spain, South America, Asia and the U.S. She is the owner of Northwest Personal Training in downtown Vancouver, the founder of WHY Racing Events & WHY Community, participates in various community fundraisers and can be found running, biking, or hiking around the community. Find more information at nwpersonaltraining.com.

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