Want to join one of the country’s fastest growing sports? With a reported 4.8 million active players, pickleball has spanned across 59 nations! It appeals to all ages from retirees to young children because the rules are simple and easy for beginners to learn.
Pickleball was first invented in 1965 by 3 dads who were trying to invent a new game for their kids whom had become bored with their usual summer activities. It combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badmitten and can be played both indoors or outdoors. It is played with a paddle and a plastic ball with holes. Pickleball can be played singles or doubles but is most often played as doubles.
The pickleball court is 20×44 feet (same size as a double badmitten court) and the net is 36 inches high. The court is striped similar to a tennis court with right and left service courts and a 7 foot non volley zone at the front of the net which is more commonly referred to as the “kitchen.”
It’s fun and fast paced but not injury proof. You’ll want a good court shoe to provide stability for the quick, cutting movements on the court. Protective eyewear (lightweight, impact-resistant glasses) is recommended but not required. A common pickleball injury is a wrist or hand fracture from catching one’s self while back peddling to get an overhead ball due to a loss of balance. Other common injuries are patella tendonitis (inflammation of the tendon that attaches your quadriceps muscle to the front of the knee just below the knee cap) and lateral epicondylitis (inflammation of the wrist and finger muscles that attach to the outside of your elbow).
To prevent these injuries, it is important to make sure you are properly warmed up prior to playing. Some great warm up activities include jogging forward, backward, and laterally across the court. High knee marching, lunges with trunk twist, arm circles, arm hugs and wrist circles are also great warm up exercises. A comprehensive strength and mobility program to target your hips, shoulders, and knees is a great way to prevent injury and keep you at your best on the pickleball court.
If you are looking for some guidance in developing your fitness routine for injury prevention or enhancing your pickleball game, reach out to your local OMPT Specialists clinic for some help. We are here to help you succeed!
By Gina Gray, PT, DPT, OMPT