Do you warm up before you play a pickleball match? Do you do it properly? Proper warm up is crucial not only for performance but for injury prevention as well. Coming from tennis I was used to warming up with my opponent. In pickleball, often we start by warming up with our partner.
During tournament play, typically you will have from 5-10 minutes on the court before the match begins. Being aware of how much time you have is important to setting up for success. At some tournaments, the Director may even announce they are shortening the warm-up period to expedite matches. If I know I only have 5 minutes I am going to put the effort into warming up before my match gets called. Either on a warm-up court or if no court is available, improvising!
My Warm Up Routine
But during a typical tournament, I will warm up as follows:
1. Light dinking usually down the line getting as loose as possible and focusing on my breathing. We aren’t trying to win the warm up we are trying to get both our partner and ourselves comfortable with dinking and placement.
2. Next, one person slowly moves back while picking up their feet and elongating their stroke from dink to ground stroke.
3. Once back at the baseline, I focus on getting set and balanced. I make sure I am picking up my feet, and getting set before every shot. I start with regular ground strokes then move to third shot drops.
4. From here, if my partner wants to hit some overheads I will practice hitting some lobs.
5. Once you feel warm and loose, work your way back to the non-volley zone line and allow your partner to move back hitting dinks, ground strokes and then third shots.
6. After we are both warm and loose, we might play out a few 1/2 court points (i.e. just utilizing the right or left side of the court),
7. Typically after the referee has allowed us to choose side or serve, we will take our assigned positions on the court and hit serves and service returns.
8. When the referee calls, “Zero-Zero-Two” it is time to tap paddles and wish everyone good luck.
Warm Up for Success
A good warm up sets you up for success! If we start a match cold, we might find ourselves in a big hole before we are warm enough to play. Take your warm up seriously! Have a plan, to get ready, get relaxed and get your body moving fluidly. I will over exaggerate my breathing, as well as my footwork, to get my body as ready as possible to play. I need to know what it feels like to hit the ball the way I want. Proper warm-up gets your body and your mind prepared to play to your best ability.