Pickleball is for Any Body
Pickleball anybody? Yes, Pickleball is for Any Body.
Randy Bauer, of Bauer Physical Therapy, Laguna Hills, CA was recently invited to give a talk on the Physical Preparation for Pickleball Performance at the Laguna Niguel site of Pickleball. Hosted by Bill and Terri Smith, Pickleball Ambassadors, this facility is being developed as a premier site for Pickleball in Orange County.
If you have not heard of, or seen Pickleball watch the following video. It is a great introduction to the sport, and gives you some idea of the physical demands that are required to play the sport.
Pickleball for Any Body
Pickleball is a great sport for anybody looking to get a great physical workout. The sport demands some good hand-eye coordination, footwork and body strength. It is a great sport for those seeking a social aspect to a sport you can play for many years. There is a touch of tennis, paddle ball, ping pong and badmitten. Played on a shortened court, four pickleball courts can fit into one full-sized tennis court, there is less running after balls than you would expect from tennis. When played in doubles much of the play requires a few steps to the ball, quickness with your paddle, and ability to lunge for a ball here and there, with the occasional run down of a ball to cover your partner.
Get Your Body Ready for Pickleball
If you want to maximize your enjoyment from Pickleball, or any sport, you must prepare your body to play. There are a few guidelines I provide to prepare for Pickleball.
Physical Demands of Pickleball
Prior to play it is recommended that you get your blood pumping with a light bout of slow jogging, running in place, or even a stationary bike. The stationary bike is great if you have sore knees or hips, as this helps to warm the muscles up without stressing the joints. Initially, minimize the resistance to get the joints and muscles loose by pedaling at a higher revolution (>70rpm). As a workout resistance can be performed for 30-60sec. time intervals, interspersed with low resistance bouts of 2-3 minutes.
Stretching and Range of Movement
Prepare the body to move by use sport specific movements that you will use in the sport. This must be performed slowly to avoid injuring the muscles, tendons and joints. You will perform a series of lower leg movements:
- Calf Raises
- Reverse Lunges
- Side Lunges
When performing these movements it is acceptable to hold onto a post, fence or bench to maintain your stability. Always keep the back in a neutral, slightly arched posture, to stabilize the spine and emphasize leg mobility. Perform each for 10 repetitions.
Strengthening, or resistance exercise, can be used prior to play as a means to prepare the muscles for work. This will facilitate muscle activity and bring blood flow to the working muscles.
- Upper body exercises
- Lower body exercises
- Trunk and Core exercises
When performed prior to play you will do only one set of each exercise. To gain muscle strength and endurance it is recommended that you perform a strengthening regimen 2-3 times per week. Strengthening program is required to meet the demands of the sport and maximize your fitness level.
Footwork is essential to promote agility and balance on court. The sport of Pickleball will demand quickness of reflexes and variety of movement. The better you prepare yourself to be flexible, mobile and strong, the better your foot work will be on the court. Here are a few suggestions:
- Jog in place
- Jumping Jacks (arms and legs move laterally)
- Sissor Jumps (legs move alternately forward and back, arms are moving horizontally forward and back)
- Side Shuffle(side step movements
within a five yard space)
These activities can be performed prior to play or competition. You can perform for 20-30 seconds. Performing these on days off, two times per week, for 2-3 sets will provide a training effect, and enhance your performance on the court.
If there are any questions regarding the performance of a physical fitness routine please make a comment below and I will do my best in answering promptly. Otherwise, please consult your own Medical Doctor or Physical Therapist.
Pickleball: Any Body Can Do It
I was able to pick up a paddle on the day I provided a talk to the Laguna Niguel Pickleball Club, and compete in a game of doubles. My instruction was provided by Adina Jones of Pickleball Connection. With some instruction of the rules, court position and strategy, and technique I was on to my first game(which we won).
As a Physical Therapist I find this sport to be great for all ages and abilities. It is fabulous for those seeking a little less running around than tennis. Not quite as demanding with chasing balls around court, or running down balls cross court. It is great if you have physical limitations that keep you from achieving a full run or sprint. You may have had a knee or hip joint replacement surgery, or have experienced some form of back pain. If you perform a comprehensive physical therapy program that assists in restoration of function and work capacity, Pickleball is just the sport, giving you focus in your efforts to return to a competitive, yet social activity.
Pickleball: Anybody Can Play
Go out and find a local Pickleball Club or start your own. The financial demands are minimal. A good pair of Tennis shoes and a paddle. Check out PickleballConnection as an on-line resource. The Paddles or really cool(you can hold them like a ping pong paddle). and affordable(top end paddles are 75ish US dollars). Try a local search with Google to learn more about the sport in your area and the rules of the game.
- Feeling sour–how about Pickleball? (healthsass.blogspot.com)
- Local Athlete Wins Gold (ocregister.com)
- USA Pickleball Association (usapa.org)
- Pickleball Supplies (pickleballconnection.com)