From beginners to pickleball pros, it's important to prioritize safety on the court to prevent injuries and ensure a fun playing experience. To help your game and your health, make sure to avoid the 10 most common mistakes made in pickleball.
Chances are you already avoid some of the worst pickleball mistakes. However, if you are brand-new to the game or need a refresher, you will want to make sure you have these first few guidelines down.
Wearing Inappropriate Footwear — Wearing proper footwear is crucial for pickleball. Avoid playing in shoes that lack traction or support, such as flip-flops or sandals. Instead, opt for athletic shoes with non-marking soles that provide stability and grip to prevent slips and falls on the court.
Ignoring Warm-Up & Stretching — Skipping warm-up exercises and stretching can lead to muscle strains and injuries. Take a few minutes before each game to warm up your body with light jogging or jumping jacks. Additionally, perform some simple stretches to prepare your muscles for the game ahead.
Lack of Communication — Communication is key to avoiding collisions and maintaining a safe playing environment. Use clear signals and verbal cues with your partner to coordinate shots and movements. By communicating effectively, you'll reduce the risk of accidental injuries and confusion during gameplay.
Getting in the Kitchen — The non-volley zone, also known as the kitchen, is the area close to the net where volleys are not allowed. It's crucial to avoid stepping into this zone unless the ball has bounced. Failing to adhere to this rule means getting faults and stopping gameplay, but it can also lead to accidental collisions and injuries.
Neglecting Protective Gear — To ensure your safety, consider wearing protective gear, like elbow braces or knee pads, especially if you have a history of joint problems or are playing at a competitive level. These simple precautions can minimize the risk of injuries and provide added support and protection.
The Mistakes Holding You Back
Lost matches as well as post-pickleball aches and pains can often be attributed to these subtle but common mistakes.
Incorrect Grip — Using the wrong grip hurts your performance and can increase the risk of injury. Make sure to learn and practice the proper grip technique with a coach or experienced player. A secure and comfortable grip is essential for accurate shots and control. Additionally, make sure you have the best kind of paddle for you. For instance, if your paddle is leading to arm fatigue, try using a lighter paddle.
Poor Footwork — Footwork is the foundation of any sport, including pickleball. Avoid standing flat-footed or taking big steps while playing. Instead, focus on light and quick movements, maintaining a balanced stance to react swiftly to your opponent's shots and maintain good court coverage.
Overreaching — Reaching too far while hitting the ball can strain your muscles and cause injuries. Instead, move your feet to get into the right position for each shot. By positioning yourself correctly, you'll maintain balance and avoid unnecessary strain on your body.
Overexertion — Pickleball is a physically demanding sport, and overexertion can lead to fatigue, muscle strains, and even heat-related illnesses. If you rely on a power game, overexerting yourself is more likely. Take regular breaks, stay hydrated, and listen to your body. Gradually increase your playing time and intensity and diversify your game strategy beyond power shots.
Hitting Too Hard — Beyond overexertion, hitting the ball excessively hard can lead to various issues. It can result in sending the ball out of bounds or into unintended areas. Moreover, hitting the ball too hard increases the risk of acutely injuring yourself or your opponents. Instead, focus on maintaining control and accuracy in your shots.
If you experience any pain or injuries from your time on the court, seek treatment right away to avoid further injury. You can click here to use our guide and find the right specialty-trained doctor near you.