Avoid Pickleball Injuries with Proper Warmup
You know the drill, you show up at the court start hitting a couple of shots, usually a dink because that’s what someone told you to do. Someone else arrives so now you have 4 and after just a couple of minutes, you are playing your first game. Sound familiar?
I’ve managed a 25 plus year career as a golf pro without golfers elbow, until I started playing pickleball!
I know that proper warm up is one of the keys to avoiding pickleball injuries, any sports injury for that matter. I would never think of hitting a golf ball without a warm-up however I often found myself hitting two groundstrokes and then starting the game. Eventually, my elbow paid the price! As I look around the courts those that do warm up which is a small number don’t usually do it correctly. A lot of advice about warm-up has changed over the years. Your high school gym class probably started with a lot of static stretching, like the hurdler stretch, where you hold your body in the stretch for 10-30 seconds or more. Why bother warming up? It prepares the body for athletic movement. Your circulation increases, the blood starts flowing to the muscles and your joints begin to loosen up. Proper warm-up and stretching decrease the chance of injury from a body that is not yet ready to move.
Components of a proper warm up to help you avoid pickleball injuries:
1. Get the Blood Flowing
Think huffing and puffing. Starting with a few dinks at the net as most of us have done at some point doesn’t normally do that. Run in place, jumping jacks perhaps a fast walk from the car to the court, in the summer I ride my bike to the court. Anything that elevates your heart rate. Start gently and increase your pace.
2. Dynamic Stretching and Joint Mobility
A dynamic stretch is when you move the body through a functional range of motion as an example a walking lunge or the up and over the fence that I show you in the video below. Joint mobility can decrease as we age Along with the arm and leg motions add some ankle rolls and wrist rotations.
3. Movement specific prep
Ok, now it’s time to pick up the paddle. The dink shuffle in the video is one of my favorites. You are working on the dink and getting my body ready for the lateral movement in pickleball. It also helps me to start focusing on the ball. After that we move to the baseline from some groundstrokes, make sure to hit both backhands and forehands. Finally, a couple of overheads to make sure the shoulder and arm are loose.
Want to see the whole routine together? Click on the video below
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