Today, I am going to start a three-part series of posts based on what I have observed during recreational play. I want to offer some advice on pickleball posture.
As We Travel
One of the best things about traveling around the country is meeting so many different players. We have the opportunity to watch different styles of play. I don’t always get to go out and mix in with local players, but when I do I try to take in what’s going on around me. I try to identify what people do naturally and see what issues might be going on.
Recently, I observed three things that really stood out to me. All three can be “fixed” rather easily, once you start thinking about it. It seems that once we begin to pay attention to something, we may see others doing it as well. The more we see it, or feel it, we can start to correct the situation.
STOP BENDING AT YOUR BACK!
I see poor pickleball postures at many levels of play. Often people crouch over, making themselves seem smaller. This is really bad for your body, putting stress on your back, hips, hamstrings, quads and more. Not only is bending at your back bad for your body, but it affects your ability to play at your best.
- Often when people bend their back they rest their arms to close to their body. You want your arms relaxed but in front of your body.
- Bending your back disengages your core, making it more difficult rotate your hips and shoulders.
- When our back is compressed we tend to pull our weight forward with our upper body, leading with our heads causing all sorts of balance issues.
- Finally, when we bend at the back we tend to feel a little “heavier” causing us to shuffle with a jerking motion rather than making fluid steps. Have you every heard someone say, “lift with your knees, not your back”. There is a good reason, these sharp shuffling motions place a lot of strain on your knees as well!
Proper Pickleball Proper
I imagine myself sitting on an exercise ball or maybe riding a horse. My back is more upright and I only bend at the knees and hip-joint. This places your weight in your lower body, allowing you to extend more and stay balanced. I mentioned before, I like to think about taking up as much space as I can. I want to feel as tall as I can.
Imagine holding a towel on either side. Now imagine folding the towel. This is what your body does when you bend your back. Now imagine twisting the towel from top to bottom. This is how your body rotates when your back is more upright and your knees are flexed.
This position allows your to keep your paddle out and away from your body. You engage your larger, shoulder muscles. You maintain a more balanced position allowing you to rotate, accelerate or change directions quickly but without jerking.
When we out our bodies in the correct position to start, we are more prepared for the ball we anticipate and hit better shots. Good preparation is essential for a solid finish after each stroke. Think about your pickleball posture. You’ll play better and perhaps avoid some injuries as well.