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Posture of Pickleball

Sitting and standing tall are easy…not! If they were, few would end up with pickleball shoulder, neck, back, hip or knee problems.
Think of your body as a house. Picture an earthquake—I call it “Life happens”—where you are shaken to your foundation. None of your doors and windows (joints) open or close correctly any longer. Basically, when life happens, tissue issues begin to break down your parts. Add pickleball to the mix and (Presto!) your body starts to sustain injuries. If you’re younger (18-49), your rate of injury and repair is much shorter
than the 50+ group. If you’re over 70, surgeries can be inevitable.

When you build a structure, walls are even; floors and ceilings don’t slant. There is equal tension on stabilizing beams. The doors and windows glide open and closed. That’s the way your body is supposed to work as you age. Yes, we all have aches and pains and soreness, especially after playing pickleball, but reducing injuries by doing some preventive work is necessary.

Let’s go through some body parts and the effect of poor posture on each. Start with forward head, where your nose enters the room first and your chest is attached to the train tracks. The weight of your head pulls on your neck and back. Between pickleball games you may sit on those terrible chairs you bring to the court. Check your sitting posture—that posture becomes your life posture as your neck and back tighten and eventually wear out. Forward shoulders are next. When reaching for those high pickleball shots, if you’re using your neck muscles instead of back muscles, the rotator cuff and long head of the bicep tendon are being sawed off.

Dinking and bending for those low pickleball shots can ruin your hips, back and knees. If your hip flexors are getting tighter each time you play and if stretching is not in your repertoire every evening, the hips can become out of alignment with your femur (leg) bones. Either the hip socket bones or back, or both, start to wear down. The knees are two bones balanced on top of each other. If your feet or hips don’t balance, neither do your knees. Also, if your hip muscles are so tight that they don’t glide when you walk, then you’re using your knees as hip sockets. That kind of movement wears away at your knees.

The key is to stretch, stretch, stretch, which helps to repair the tight tissue from all that playing. Sit and stand tall. Your balance can improve and some of the body pain can subside. The chance that you’ll play stronger and safer pickleball increases because your balance is better, and you integrate more correct muscle strength.

Sit and stand tall. Your head is attached to the cable car wires. Your chest enters the room first. Your arms hang from your back, not your front. You’ll look slimmer, taller and younger with a brain that gets more oxygen. Your balance can improve and some of that body pain can subside. Give good posture a try. I’ll bet you’ll be happy with the results.

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