Prevention is better than cure.
Yes! I want you to keep playing pickleball for many more years to come!
And I know you can do it! I’ve personally seen players in their 80s and 90s still on the courts, passionately playing the sport we love so much!
So this month’s newsletter article is all about increasing your longevity on the courts (not the most exciting topic I’ve written about, but maybe the most important!).
And I promise, it won’t just be about stretching before your games!
Even More Important than Stretching
Yes, stretching those muscles and tendons is important (and here’s a short video on some recommended stretches), but lately there’s something even more important!
A simple warm-up!
As I mentioned, the warm-up may be even more important than stretching, and should be done before stretching so that your muscles are, you guessed it, warmed up!
Take a few jogs around the court to get your muscles warmed up and your heart rate up a bit – it doesn’t have to be extensive (no dreaded burpees, nasty wind sprints, or anything severe like that!) – just enough exercise to get that blood flowing a little better!
Once you’re warmed up, that’s when you can begin your stretching exercises so that you’re loose and ready to play pickleball!
Remember to bring plenty of liquids with you to stay hydrated on the courts, even when it’s cold outside (I know for a fact there’s plenty of you out there that will even risk the increase in cracked balls and play in the 30s!).
Water is good, but if you need to replenish those electrolytes, there’s certainly a number of sports drinks available to you. If you’re not into sports drinks (I’m personally not a fan), there’s a number of homemade sports drinks that you can make yourself!
You Don’t Have to Go for Every Shot
I’ve written before on how to defend the dreaded lob, and I’m here to tell you now that you don’t have to try to get every shot!
I’ve seen players (even recently!) dive for balls and fly into fences trying to make a play!
In some gymnasiums, where space is at a premium, I’ve seen players fall onto the bleachers, run into curtains or nearby tables and chairs trying to make a play on a lob!
I know you want to win and not let your partner down, but there’s going to be another point and another game. Trust me on this, it’s not worth risking an injury that can put you out of (pickleball) commission for weeks or months!
If it’s a good shot, just say, Good shot!” and move on to the next point (or game!). Trust me again on this, I do this often!
It’s not a good idea to wear proper shoes, it’s a great idea!
Court shoes are specifically designed for lateral side-to-side movements, while other shoes, especially running shoes, are designed for cushioning that up and down action.
Cushioning is important, but not as important on the courts – it’s that lateral support that is important when playing pickleball.
And if your feet need more cushioning or arch support (e.g., you’ve got fallen arches or flat feet), there’s a number of over-the-counter orthotics available, or you can look into custom orthotics.
Prevention really is more important than the cure! And prevention of injuries will keep you playing pickleball for many years to come!