Calling all pickleball enthusiasts! Here are a few facts about the fastest growing sport in the US and 7 Tips to keep you in the swing of things. In the summer of 1965 Joel Pritchard, congressman from Washington State and Bill Bell, successful businessman came home from a golf game to find their families sitting around bored and with nothing to do. They cobbled together some old badminton rackets, ping pong rackets and plastic balls, a net, and organized a game for everyone to play. Since then, based on a a Topline Participation Report, the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) named pickleball the fastest-growing sport in America that now hails over 20 million players in the US.
But it’s not all fun and games. According to Bloomberg news, UBS conducted an analysis that estimates that pickleball injuries will cost the healthcare system between $250-$500 million in 2023. Their calculation of costs is based on forecasts from medical industry studies that foresee “ 67,000 visits to the ER room, 366,000 outpatient visits, 8,800 outpatient surgeries, 4,700 hospitalizations with 20,000 follow-up 'episodes' relating to injuries caused by pickleball” . Strains, sprains and fractures, are the most common injuries mostly of the wrist and lower leg, knees and ankles.
We all know that accidents happen, but with a little knowledge and preparation, you can minimize the risk of pickleball injuries and keep the game safe and enjoyable. Here are seven practical tips on how to avoid getting hurt.
Let's keep those paddles swinging.
- Warm Up and Stretch: Before jumping into the pickleball court, it's crucial to warm up your body and stretch those muscles. A good warm-up routine helps increase blood flow, loosens up your joints, and prepares your body for the game. Incorporate dynamic stretches such as arm circles, lunges, and shoulder rolls. Remember, a limber body is less prone to injuries.
- Pick the Right Gear: Investing in the right equipment can make a world of difference in preventing injuries. First and foremost, choose a paddle that suits your grip and playing style. Ensure it's the appropriate weight and size for your comfort and skill level. Secondly, opt for supportive footwear with treads that offers stability and cushioning to protect your feet, ankles, and knees from the quick movements and directional changes on the court.
- Master Proper Technique: A key aspect of avoiding pickleball injuries is mastering proper technique. Take the time to learn the correct grips, strokes, and footwork from experienced players or qualified instructors. Focusing on technique not only improves your game but also minimizes the strain on your muscles and joints. Remember to practice good posture, maintain balance, and engage your core for stability.
- Listen to Your Body: Pickleball is a fast-paced sport, and sometimes we get caught up in the excitement, pushing ourselves beyond our limits. It's important to listen to your body and recognize signs of fatigue or discomfort. Take regular breaks, hydrate adequately, and avoid overexertion. Ignoring warning signs can lead to injuries, so be mindful of your body's signals.
- Stay Hydrated and Fuel Your Body: Maintaining proper hydration and nutrition is often overlooked but plays a crucial role in injury prevention. Dehydration can lead to muscle cramps, fatigue, and decreased cognitive function. Drink plenty of water before, during, and after your game. Additionally, fuel your body with nutritious foods, including lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Proper nutrition supports muscle recovery and overall well-being.
- Mind the Surface: The playing surface can significantly impact the risk of injuries in pickleball. Ensure the court is free of debris, cracks, or uneven surfaces that could cause trips or falls. If you're playing outdoors, be mindful of wet or slippery conditions, especially after rain. Indoors, ensure the floor is clean and dry to avoid accidental slips. Regularly inspecting the court and promptly reporting any maintenance issues will contribute to a safer playing environment for everyone.
- Embrace Protective Measures: Sometimes, despite our best efforts, accidents happen. Incorporating protective measures can help mitigate the impact of potential injuries. Wearing elbow and knee pads can provide an extra layer of cushioning and protection, particularly if you're prone to falling or diving for shots. Consider using a sweatband to keep sweat out of your eyes and maintain clear vision throughout the game.
Pickleball injuries don't have to dampen your spirits or keep you away from the court. By taking a proactive approach to injury prevention, you can enjoy this thrilling sport while keeping yourself safe and sound. Remember to warm up, choose the right gear, focus on technique, listen to your body, stay hydrated, and be mindful of the playing surface. With these practical tips, you're ready to take on the pickleball court with confidence and enthusiasm. So, grab your paddle, rally your friends, and let the good times roll! And remember, if you do get injured Reboundwear recovery clothing and PT gear has got you covered while you're on the mend.
Stay tuned for more tips.