Smash Your Injury Risk: How To Play Safe Without Sacrificing Fun!

Pickleball has experienced a surge in popularity, attracting players of all ages and skill levels. However, with the increased participation comes a higher risk of injuries. To ensure your longevity in the sport and minimize the chances of further aggravation or prolonged healing time frames, it’s crucial to prioritize your physical fitness. In this article, we’ll explore the importance of assessing and treating mobility, balance, strength, and power to reduce the risk of injuries in pickleball.


Assessing Mobility

Mobility plays a vital role in pickleball, as it allows you to move freely and perform the necessary movements on the court. To assess your mobility, focus on the flexibility of key areas such as the waist, spine, shoulders, and knees. Adequate mobility in these areas ensures you can perform actions like bending at the waist, rotating through the spine, reaching overhead, and bending your knees to avoid excessive strain on your back and hips. Identifying any limitations in mobility allows you to address them through targeted exercises or seek professional assistance.



Enhancing Balance:

Balance is a fundamental aspect of pickleball, as it allows you to maintain control while making quick movements on the court. To evaluate your balance, practice weight shifting exercises, shifting from toes to heels and side to side without losing control. A well-developed sense of balance not only reduces the risk of falls but also enables you to recover your court position swiftly. Incorporate balance exercises into your training routine and gradually challenge yourself to improve stability and control.



Building Strength:

Strength is a key component for injury prevention and improved performance in pickleball. Strong muscles provide stability, reduce the risk of strains, and enhance overall body control. Focus on strengthening the muscles involved in pickleball-specific movements, particularly the squat and lunge. These movements improve mobility, enhance reach for low shots, and contribute to better movement mechanics on the court. Incorporate resistance training exercises and gradually increase the intensity to develop the necessary strength for pickleball.



Power Generation:

Generating power is essential for powerful shots in pickleball, but solely relying on one area, such as the shoulder, can increase the risk of injury. To mitigate this risk, focus on developing explosive force in multiple areas of your body, including the spine, hips, and knees. Engaging these areas allows you to distribute the force throughout your body, reducing the strain on individual joints. Incorporate exercises that target explosive power, such as plyometrics and resistance training with explosive movements, to improve power generation while minimizing the risk of overuse injuries.



Assessment And Treatment For Injured Players:

For individuals who are already injured, reducing the risk of further aggravation and flare-ups is crucial. Seeking professional assessment and treatment can help identify the root causes of the injury and provide a comprehensive plan for recovery. Professionals can develop personalized exercise programs to address weaknesses, improve mobility, and support the healing process. By addressing the underlying issues, injured players can effectively reduce the risk of re-injury and facilitate a quicker return to the sport.


Wrapping It Up

In pickleball, reducing the risk of injury is paramount to enjoying the sport and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle. Assessing and treating physical fitness components such as mobility, balance, strength, and power can significantly minimize the risk of injuries, both for those currently injured and those aiming to prevent future issues. By incorporating targeted exercises, seeking professional guidance, and adopting a proactive approach to physical fitness, you can enhance your performance on the court while reducing the chances of setbacks and prolonging healing time frames. Prioritize your physical well-being, and enjoy the benefits of a safe and rewarding pickleball experience.


Community Resources For Hydration Assessment & Management

  • Sozo Lifestyle Medicine: This is a great way to start off with an evaluation from someone who can think holistically, run blood testing, and perform basic body composition screening to develop a plan
  • Scottsdale Sports Medicine Institute: If you’re a weekend warrior or professional athlete, you could also go a step further by getting sport specific testing while discussing optimal hydration for you specifically
  • USA Pickleball Association: This web address has health and safety information that you can brush through, as well as a specific concussion protocol and a detailed list of “other health & safety tips”

About The Author

About the author: Dr. James Babana is the owner of Push Through Performance which is a physical therapy and performance clinic located in Troon North of Scottsdale, Arizona. If you would like to schedule an appointment with him, you can visit the home page and click “Schedule Now.”



For any questions on this post or suggestions for future blog content, email or call (480) 945-0088.


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Dr. James Babana

PT, DPT, Owner & Founder

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