Activating your body and mind before playing is so important, as pickleball is a fast-paced sport that requires agility, quick reflexes, and explosive movements. If you're still under the assumption that dinking a few times is a sufficient pickleball warm up, think again.
A dynamic warm-up can not only improve your performance on the court, but also reduce your risk of injuries while playing.
Better Pickleball Polling found that 49% of rec players do NOT warm up before play.
Because our “job” or “life” is not just pickleball (even though we’d like it to be!), as rec players, we especially need to do a dynamic warm-up.
The Journal of Emergency Medicine in 2019 estimated there were about 19,000 pickleball injuries per year, with 90% of them affecting people 50 or older. Recent statistics present more severe data.
Clearly, we’re not as physically fit to handle a higher intensity game like the pros, and in turn we're putting ourselves at a higher risk for injury. So how do we play with less risk of injury? By doing a dynamic pickleball warm up before playing!
A dynamic warm-up prepares our mind and body for action.
It connects the mind to the joints, connective tissues, and muscles and prepares them for dynamic movement, like racing to the short ball or chasing down a lob.
A dynamic warm-up elevates our heart rate and core temperature in order to direct oxygen-rich blood to our muscles so we are able to perform explosive movements. It also stimulates our nervous system for mind-muscle connection so we can anticipate and move to where the ball will be going.
A dynamic warm-up increases our mobility, which is muscle control at the end of our range of motion thus decreasing our risk for injuries like muscle, ligament or tendon strains.
The Journal of Strength and Conditioning research showed that a dynamic warm-up improved performance by 79%.
Now I know what you're thinking: you already stretch before a game, isn’t that enough?
You stand and stretch your calves, maybe your quads by holding up a leg, or at least you take a little time to stretch your hamstrings. That my friend is static stretching, not a dynamic warm up.
And by the way, stretching is not sufficient to do just before playing pickleball. The 2018 Sports Medicine Journal stated one single bout of stretching significantly decreases maximal voluntary strength and muscle power, thus reducing your functional performance.
A dynamic warm-up increases the overall excitability of the nervous system by improving the mobility of the ankles, hips, and thoracic spine which will aid in performance, Strength and Conditioning Journal.
Zane Navratil's warm up below demonstrates a skills-based approach. Not bad, but definitely try to incorporate more agility and rotational movements:
It's time to put the dynamic warm-up into practice!
Now that you understand the importance of a dynamic warm-up, start incorporating these types exercises into your pickleball pre-game routine:
- Focus on movements that target your shoulders, thoracic spine, trunk rotation, hips, knees and ankles.
- Move on to agility movements like lunges and side shuffles. Remember to perform each exercise with correct form and control.
- Focus on deep diaphragmatic breathing to keep your body relaxed yet engaged.
It only takes a few minutes, and you’ll soon start seeing the difference it makes in your performance on the court. Remember to Move Better Play Better to unleash your pickleball potential.
Article courtesy of therealpickleballPT.