As the #1 pickleball player in the world, pro Ben Johns obviously spends many consecutive hours and days training and competing in tournaments. Even for younger athletes, all of those hours on the court can take a toll on the body; staying in top shape for peak performance match after match requires taking care of your body before, during and after competition. Ben recently talked with us about how he prepares for tournaments and what recovery looks like for him.
What do you do to prepare yourself before competition?
I prepare beginning the week of competition; what I eat and drink that entire week matters to me. I stay away from sugary or fried foods, as well as sugary drinks. My meal the night before competition is particularly important – it’s usually a protein fish or meat like chicken or salmon, with rice and a vegetable or similar. The morning of competition I typically have eggs, yogurt, and fruit. Throughout the day of competition I like to eat fruit, nuts, and protein bars.
For hydration, I drink Jigsaw Health’s Pickleball Cocktail the night before and morning of competition. Throughout the week I make sure to drink a lot of water. During the day of competition I drink Jigsaw Electrolyte Supreme.
I stretch most evenings, but the week of competition stretching is especially important to me. I focus on loosening the hips, quads, and back in particular.
It’s also important to me to have all of my equipment prepared and ready to go – paddles weighted, over-gripped, etc. Clothes for the day, massage gun, and foam roller should be in my bag, with everything else I need for game day ready by the night before.
My warm-up routine consists of mostly ROM movements, like arm circles, Frankenstein walks, and generally dynamically moving to loosen up. Then I do a solid thirty minutes of hitting.
Do you have any “superstitions” or rituals?
I don’t have superstitions so much as preparations. I need to have everything ready to go before the day of competition – all of my equipment, food, drinks, etc. I’m quite particular about the socks I wear, both bottom and top (I’m a double sock guy), so that’s as close as I get to superstitious.
What injury prevention products do you use or wear?
I will wear compression leggings when I’m playing in cold weather. The arm sleeves I wear are not compression but for the sun.
What do you do after matches or training to recover?
The Therabody Compression Recovery Boots are an easy-to-use, effective way to improve circulation, soothe achy legs, and may also help reduce fluid retention. Their internal chambers inflate sequentially from the foot towards the heart, which helps maximize circulation. The quiet technology allows you to relax peacefully while enjoying the components of the convenient touchpad control, including a timer and four pre-programmed modes for specific pulses and settings.
Theragun Pro Percussive Therapy Device: This professional-grade massager delivers up to 60 lbs. of force to your muscles, helping you to release tension and enhance recovery on your own schedule.
After playing I’ll continue to hydrate, take magnesium supplements, and try to eat a similar dinner with lots of protein and some good carbs.
Lastly I make sure to get to bed on time, as quality sleep is very important to me!