Staying Healthy on the Pickleball Court
Pickleball is becoming a popular form of activity among groups of all ages. It is the perfect sport to engage in, as even in the state of Maine, you can participate year-round. As with any recreational activity, there is always risk of injury and the following are some helpful hints to help you stay healthy on the pickleball courts.
A proper warm up is important for any activity, it increases the blood flow to the working muscles and preps the body for the demands at hand. This can be as simple as a five minute walk, or some easy forward/backwards jog and lateral shuffle, this will prepare you for the multidirectional demands of pickleball.
In pickle ball your shoulder provides a lot of stability to allow you to reach and get the ball over the net. Warming up with some simple internal/external rotation exercises for the rotator cuff can help improve your shoulder stability and strength, and also increase the blood flow to your arm to prepare you for play. With a band attached to either a beam or doorway, stand so that you have some resistance in the band. Grab the band with the hand closest to the attachment point, with you elbow bent at 90 degrees and kept at your side, pull the band in towards your belly button, complete 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions. Turn 180 degrees, holding the band with the same hand, start with your hand in front of elbow and rotate out away from the body maintaining your elbow at your side, again completing about 2-3 sets of 15 repetitions.
The game of pickleball requires a lot of forward/backwards and lateral motion, having good balance can help prevent any unwanted injuries. Standing at a counter top or by a chair, practice standing on one foot, with the goal of holding 20-30s. When this becomes easier you can progress to standing on a pillow for more of a challenge.
The games multidirectional demands require quick bursts of motion, having adequate strength and flexibility will aid in your ability to withstand the demands. Your ankle is one of the more important joints to maintain flexibility for, as it contributes to both your balance and control, and ability to quickly propel forward. Standing at a wall step forward with one foot and step back with the other, keeping your knee straight and your heel on the ground, lean forward until you feel a slight pull or stretch into the calf, hold for 20-30s. In the same position, bend the back knee, this should stretch the deeper muscle in your calf, again holding for 20-30s.
If you do get injured on the pickleball court our talented Physical Therapy Staff will be there to help!