It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of pickleball, but if you jump into a game as soon as you hit the courts, it may be more than your technique that suffers. Warming up is a big part of not only improving your performance, but ensuring you stay safe during play. Slogging through a series of stretches and 15 minutes of jump rope isn’t the only way to activate your muscles; instead try these simple tips.
If you have a partner to work with, practice dinking back and forth or focusing on other techniques that concern play up at the net. You can slightly bend your knees and rally the ball back and forth, making your way toward one side of the net and then the other. This will not only get your body moving, but help you work on accuracy and control.
This exercise is a great choice for pickleball since your knees should normally be bent in a “ready” position during play. Take a long step and then slowly lower yourself in to a lunge, then push up with your quad and repeat on the other leg. You can do this a few times by following the length of the court. Don’t just go through the motions; imagine that you’re having to stretch for a wayward pickleball every time so that your muscles really activate!
This is usually more fun if you can run outdoors, but taking a few laps will get your heart pumping so that your body is prepared for fast action when the game starts. The warmer your body is, the more hemoglobin gets produced, meaning higher levels of oxygen in the bloodstream pushing you toward peak performance.
You know how you can end up flailing a bit when reaching for tough shots? Well, this warm-up technique is like that, but more controlled. Moving your arms in big circles or “windmills” will loosen up your joints and muscles so they’re ready to swing for pickleballs later on. The more prepped your arms are, the more flexible and resilient they’ll be.
Rock Your Ankles
Be careful moving into this position, but if you can comfortably get on your hands and feet, try linking one foot behind the other and gently move your grounded foot up and back. You should feel a stretch along the back of your calves. This motion can also improve your balance. Keeping your ankles safe during play is very important since it can be easy to trip by moving too quickly.
These are just a few ideas to get started, but if you want to continue playing pickleball for a long time to come, please be sure to properly care for your body before and after play. What are some of your favorite ways to get your body ready for pickleball?