With the warmer months approaching you might be itching to get back outside to join your friends out on the pickleball court or you might find yourself getting invited to try America’s fastest growing sport for the very first time. Pickleball is a fun racket sport that blends components of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong and has become a significant social and competitive outlet for many adults who may not have been scratching that competitive “itch” for many years. With the excitement and motivation that comes with initiating new hobbies and social outlets, you may quickly find yourself playing multiple hours per day several times per week. As a physical therapist, one of my most common recommendations to reduce your risk for injury when increasing your physical activity is, to be weary of doing too much too soon after not doing enough for too long. If you have been more sedentary over the winter months it is a good idea to ramp up your physical activity steadily over the course of several weeks to allow your body to acclimate to the new stress that exercise and sport add to the body. A few things that you might want to consider in preparing for the upcoming pickleball season include…
Keeping up with strengthening, mobility, and cardiovascular exercise in the off-season to maintain your Fitness. When you resume or initiate playing over the first several weeks to a month, consider playing on nonconsecutive days to allow for sufficient rest and recovery between sessions Get to the court early and perform a proper warm up that may include dynamic stretches for the shoulders, elbows, hips, knees, and ankles that can be followed by sport specific drills like short court volleys and skinny singles, followed by serves, lobs and smashes If there is a particular technique or movement that you are having difficulty with, consider meeting with a pickleball coach to assist you in figuring out which techniques or strategies may work best for you and your current abilities If you have any lingering or new pains, strains, or sprains make sure to get ahead of it by meeting with your rehab provider before the season starts.
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