A Fun New Way to Get Moving!
Pickleball is a popular paddle sport that combines elements from tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It can be played in a “singles” or “doubles” format on a court that is about one-third the size of a standard tennis court. Players use paddles made of wood, composites, or graphite to hit a perforated, hollow plastic ball over a 34-inch-high net.
Pickleball has gained popularity due to its accessibility for people of various ages and skill levels. The equipment is lighter than that used in tennis, the pace of the game is slower, and there's less ground to cover, making it easier to learn and play.
If you’re looking for a fun new sport this summer, give pickleball a try! For more personalized guidance from movement experts, give ProFysio Physical Therapy a call at (732) 812-5200 to schedule a consultation.
Why We Love Pickleball
Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of pickleball is that it can be quickly picked up by beginners. The game begins with a player serving diagonally from behind the baseline, much like in tennis or table tennis; however, the serve must be underhand.
The ball is played off a bounce, which means the ball must bounce once before the opponent can return it. One unique rule in pickleball is the "non-volley zone," also known as the “kitchen,” which is a seven-foot area on either side of the net where volleys are not allowed. This prevents players from smashing the ball at close range.
Physically, playing pickleball offers several advantages. It's a fantastic way to improve cardiovascular health, as it keeps players moving and their heart rate up. The game also enhances balance, agility, and hand-eye coordination, due to the fast-paced nature of the game. Additionally, it's a great low-impact sport that puts minimal stress on your joints, making it ideal for older individuals or those recovering from injuries. Despite being low-impact, this game still provides an excellent full-body workout, engaging your legs, core, arms, and upper body. As an added bonus, pickleball isn't just about physical health – the game also helps to improve mental health, as it requires players to stay focused and strategize, therefore providing a brain workout alongside the physical workout.
A Physical Therapist’s Perspective
Pickleball is a great way to stay active, and it also comes with a host of physical benefits. Pickleball performance can also be enhanced significantly through physical therapy by focusing on injury prevention and rehabilitation following any sustained injuries. Physical therapists can design strengthening exercises to target specific muscles needed for pickleball, which involves quick movements, agility, and physical power. Regular play can help improve your dynamic stability, which can be further honed through proper balance training drills.
However, like any sport, pickleball does come with its unique set of challenges. Injuries of the lower extremities (including ankles, knees, and hips) are common, along with shoulder, wrist, and elbow injuries, due to the high-velocity swing motion and impact force of the ball on the paddle. But don't let this deter you – proper warm-up routines, flexibility exercises, and strength training can help prevent these injuries.
Are you ready to pick up the paddle this summer? We encourage it! If you find yourself in need of physical therapy assistance or advice, don’t hesitate to reach out to our team at (732) 812-5200. We’re here to help you feel your best!