In 1948, Preston Tucker attempted to bring a totally new automobile to the marketplace. “Why am I bringing this up?” you ask. Because it has everything to do with pickleball posture.
The Tucker 48, or Tucker Torpedo, was way ahead of its time. It had:
- A rear engine and rear wheel drive;
- It had many advanced safety features like a perimeter frame, roll bar, shatter-proof glass windshield and padded dashboard;
- A key for the parking brake deterred theft;
- And, a third headlight that moved as the steering wheel was turned allowing the driver to better see the curve in the road.
Again, I can hear you saying, “This is all really fascinating Sarah, but why are you bringing this up?”
It is because I want you to imagine a headlight in the middle of your chest. Picture a big light coming out of your sternum. This light is the key to maintaining proper pickleball posture and good pickleball posture is key to playing well.
Key to pickleball posture is keeping your back straight. As we travel around the country I meet many pickleball players that complain of back pain. In many cases, this results from people bending their back. As I wrote before, bending your back is not only painful but will negatively affect your ability to play at your best. Bending your back, or stooping over, tends to bring your arms too close to your body. It also may cause balance issues as that 10-pound weight on top of your neck (i.e. your head) is too far forward. Look at the picture to the right…where is his headlight aimed? You’ll note it is aimed at the ground…a position I often note among students during a long dink rally.
But most importantly, bending your back disengages your core, making it more difficult for your shoulders and hips to rotate properly.
Tracking the Ball
To track the ball, you need to maintain proper posture so you can rotate your shoulders and hips toward the ball. Notice I said your shoulders and hips, not your head. When you track the ball correctly, I want you to mimic the way the Tucker’s third headlight moved as the steering wheel was turned. You rotate your shoulders and hips, so your light is aimed at the ball.
Having done that, now protect your headlight by maintaining proper paddle position. Keep your paddle up in front of your sternum at all times.
If you want to improve, you need to focus on the fundamentals. Being conscious of your pickleball posture is key to playing well and feeling good.