I know you read my posts hoping to find something that will help your pickleball game. So here you go: you need to stretch! In fact, you should do it twice.
Pickleball Addicts Prone to Overuse Injuries
Because pickleball is so addictive, I routinely meet people that play for 2 – 3 hours. Many follow the, “I only play on days that end in ‘Y’ rule.” And many, like me, are even over 30! If this sounds like you, you will be prone to injuries caused by overuse. The most common injury areas are:
- Rotator cuff strains or tears,
- “Tennis” elbow,
- Knees pain,
- Back pain,
- Leg Muscles sprains (from hamstring to Achilles)
Stretching may not eliminate all injuries, but it can help.
Must be Done Regularly
To be most effective, your stretching routine needs to become a daily habit. Frankly, it isn’t enough to just bend over a few time before you walk onto the court. The fact is, I hate setting aside time to stretch. In a certain way, it seems like I’m not doing anything….but I know from my days playing tennis that it is essential.
Before you play, you really don’t want to be too aggressive. Your body needs to warm up. So start by simply moving about, and get your heart rate up a bit. Begin with simple stretches. There are several articles on the USAPA website and videos available from the Pickleball Channel to help you get started.
On Tournament Days
On tournament days, I try to keep moving between matches. I don’t like to sit a lot….instead, I spend my time walking about. I also might toss a pickleball back and forth to my partner, extending my arm to the target, to keep my shoulders loose. This increases mobility and aids in paddle control when on the court.
After You Play
Ideally, your pickleball stretching routine occurs every day and twice on those days that you play. As you cool down, take some time to stretch again. The fact is you have subjected your body to repetitive movements, that have contracted muscles again and again. This leaves your muscles in a shortened state. Stretching helps to reset your body to a natural position and posture. Going directly from the courts to your car may cause increased soreness and stiffness.
Somehow our pets are smarter than we are. You really do need to stretch!