if you play regularly, you have fallen or witnessed someone fall while playing pickleball. Today we are going to work on eliminating falls by improving your balance.
Often people fall early in their pickleball career because they have not been active or exercised regularly before taking up the sport. Others are taking medications that can cause dizziness or sleepiness. While the effects of
these medications may not be evident while watching TV or reading a book, their effect can cause lack of stability on the court causing falls.
Perhaps one of the biggest causes of falls is poor posture. As we age, many of us begin to hunch our heads and shoulders forward. Your head weighs about 10 pounds…so when you are sprinting forward that weight may pull you forward, making it more difficult to stop. You need to be conscious of your posture and work to improve it. I provided exercises to improve your posture in this post.
Balance is also critical to eliminating falls on the pickleball court. Each day you should set aside 5 or ten minutes to exercise to improve your balance. The good news is that to begin, you won’t even break a sweat. Begin by standing next to a table, chair or wall in case you need to grab something to regain your balance. Lift one foot while staring straight ahead. Count to 10 slowly. Repeat this exercise on both sides.
Once you have mastered this exercise, attempt it while closing your eyes. You might be surprised that your vision plays such a significant role in maintaining your balance. Again, first lift one foot…count to 10 and replace. Then lift the other foot…count to 10 slowing and replace. To increase the difficulty further, tilt you head back with your eyes closed, counting to 10 slowly as you lift one foot at a time.
It is important to be safe when you perform these exercises…so make sure you have something to grab onto if you lose your balance. Don’t become frustrated if you have difficulty at first. Most people do. But if you stick to it, you will be pleased at how quickly you improve.
As you get more comfortable, you can incorporate simple pickleball strokes into the exercise as I demonstrate in the following video. Take time each day to work on improving your balance. By eliminating falls on the pickleball court you reduce the chance of injury and keep us on the court playing the game we love.