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In adult sports, we typically do one thing universally poorly…. prepare for play.  The situation is no different in the game of pickleball. Pickleball’s popularity is growing immensely across all ages and levels of play in North America.

It is not uncommon for many adults, including Halifax seniors, to feel like they don’t “hit their stride” until 15-20 minutes into a pickleball game or practice.  This is because they are effectively “warming up” while playing instead of doing the preparatory work before the first whistle. 

In elite sports physiotherapy, we regularly teach players how to do an appropriate warm-up.  Being well warmed up leads to improved performance and reduced risk of injury.  Taking this sports physiotherapy approach to sport preparation, Halifax seniors can enjoy a higher skill level of play and reduce the amount of court time missed due to injury.

The analogy is often made of a car in the winter… on a cold day, you likely let your car “warm-up” for a few minutes before driving off… Halifax seniors need to do the same for their bodies before playing pickleball!

When taking a sports physiotherapy approach to warm-up, Halifax seniors must consider the demands required to play.  The heart and lungs need to be ready to pump oxygen through the body effectively, muscles and joints need adequate flexibility and the nervous system needs to be able to coordinate movements quickly to allow for good reaction times.  A sports physiotherapy warm-up takes into consideration all three of these aspects for Halifax seniors wanting to play pickleball safely.

The common name used for the sports physiotherapy approach to sport preparation is a dynamic warm-up.  Halifax seniors can design a dynamic warm up with the following three phases over a 15-20 minute period to optimize performance and safety while playing pickleball.

Step 1 – Cardiovascular Warm-Up (5-10 minutes)

This phase prepares your heart and lungs for the increased demand in pickleball.  Brisk walking, light jogging and skipping are all ways to increase Halifax seniors can increase bloodflow to prepare the system for play.  Using a sports physiotherapy approach, means Halifax seniors should feel like they are working at a 6-7/10 in terms of exertion intensity but still be able to carry on a conversation (they should not be breathless).

Step 2 – Dynamic Stretching (5-10 minutes)

Sports like pickleball require your lower body respond to the ball position and your upper body to control the paddle in a variety of positions.  Dynamic stretching with a sports physiotherapy approach ensures the muscles have adequate flexibility to do this work comfortably.  Movements are done without holding end positions for more than 3-5 seconds.  Halifax seniors could include squats, lunges, rising up on the toes, raising arms overhead, rotating and bending the trunk in their dynamic warm up for pickleball.

Step 3 – Agility (5 minutes)

Court sports involve quick movements, changes in direction and reacting to someone else’s plays.  Using a sports physiotherapy approach, Halifax seniors can ready their bodies for play by doing agility drills (stepping patterns like carioca and side shuffle) or even a gentle rally with an opponent.  By focusing on moving around the court can, Halifax seniors can “wake up” the neuromuscular systems in the knees and ankles to improve their pickleball performance and reduce their risk of injury.  Halifax seniors should also prime their upper body for play by doing some work at the kitchen line.

By taking a sports physiotherapy approach to warm-up, Halifax seniors can improve their comfort and performance.  Halifax seniors can also optimize their time on the court by reducing their risk of injury.  

If you’re wondering how to take a sports physiotherapy approach to your own pickleball warm-up, book an assessment with a Zoomers’ physiotherapist to have an individualized program designed for you! 

Book an assessment with Zoomers

Use our online booking tool to find a time that works for you!