Did you know April is National Pickleball Month? It also happens to be the time that outdoor courts have started to open up for the season.
I am only a beginner, but after hearing my mom talk obsessively about it, I have started to play a little and finally understand the craze! It is such a great way to be social while being physically active; I am all for it!
If you haven’t played in a while or are a beginner, try to ease into playing and slowly build up playing time so that you don’t injure yourself. Pickleball does involve quick changes in direction, multidirectional movements, balance, agility and coordination which is great, but getting into a stretching/warm up routine and conditioning program before hand can enhance your game and keep you safe.
Here are some tips for improving your pickleball game, avoiding injuries and preventing falls.
Warm up before you start playing. Dynamic stretching is a great way to warm up. Dynamic stretches are active movements that stretch your muscles. It is more effective to stretch dynamically before you play instead of static stretching which is holding a stretch for a longer period of time.
Some dynamic stretches that I recommend are below. These will loosen up your muscles and joints, help your balance and prepare you for Pickleball.
Depending on your balance you can either stand and use hand support or do these while walking:
- Leg swings forward and back – start by standing on one leg (can hold onto a wall, chair etc) and swing the other leg straight in front of you and then straight behind you
- Lateral leg swings- swing leg out to the side and then cross over to the other side of your body.
- High knee march
- Straight leg kicks
- Butt kicks – bring your heel up towards buttocks while knee stays pointed toward the ground
- Side stepping or side lunges
- Walking lunges or large steps
- Walking backwards
- Walking on your toes and heels (tip toe and then the opposite, trying to walk just on your heels with toes off the ground)
- Grapevine and tandem walk (walk like you are on a tight rope heel to toe)
- Arm swings and arm circles can be done to warm up your arms.
If in doubt use hand support first and then slowly take it away.
These do not have to take a lot of time, 30 seconds to 1 min of each or even just a few of these will help get your body ready for pickleball.
If you have any questions on dynamic stretching or a conditioning program to help improve your Pickleball game contact A to Z Personal Wellness.