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Pickleball is BACK—Kinda!

Pickleball courts are opening up again for many of us, with restrictions and precautions—limited number of courts, limit on the number of players per court, sanitizing equipment, etc. As pickleball addicts, we don’t care—we’re just jonesing to hear the sweet sound of our paddle hitting that plastic pickleball.
Now to reality. How do we come back from quarantine—a time stuck indoors with limited exercise, comply with restrictions and still play the sport we love? Here are some tips and drills so you can come back slowly and comply with whatever the restrictions are in your area.

1.Warming up is more important than ever. As pickleball players, we typically hit a couple of dinks, a couple of 3rds, maybe a few serves and returns, and we are ready to go. Even though your brain may say this kind of warm-up is OK, your body will suffer later. Before you play, make sure you elevate your heart rate with some sort of dynamic warm-up such as marching or jogging in place, butt kicks, touching your right hand or elbow to your left knee and vice versa (either in place or walking forward), and even skipping. Do this for at least five minutes—many of you will be surprised how winded you feel, but it’s OK, you have been off the court for a while. 2. Hydrate before you play. It’s probably been a while since most of us did any sweating on a pickleball court, so it’s really important to drink plenty of fluids at least a couple of hours before you play— even if it’s still cool outside where you are. 3. If you’re playing outside, wear sunscreen and remember to reapply every 2-3 hours. What about court restrictions? Many facilities are only allowing the same group of four to play on a court and some areas are only allowing singles. If you don’t like playing singles, even skinny singles, here’s a good drill that can be used either at the baseline or nonvolley zone. 1. Corner to Corner—players stand at the baseline on opposite sides of the net and hit either crosscourt or down the line. Players attempt to have a continuous rally where neither player can hit the same shot twice. For example, Player 1 cannot hit 2
forehands in a row. The purpose of this drill is to be able to accurately place groundstrokes/returns of serve.

2. Hydrate before you play. It’s probably been a while since most of us did any sweating on a pickleball court, so it’s really important to drink plenty of fluids at least a couple of hours before you play— even if it’s still cool outside where you are. 3. If you’re playing outside, wear sunscreen and remember to reapply every 2-3 hours. What about court restrictions? Many facilities are only allowing the same group of four to play on a court and some areas are only allowing singles. If you don’t like playing singles, even skinny singles, here’s a good drill that can be used either at the baseline or nonvolley zone.

1. Corner to Corner—players stand at the baseline on opposite sides of the net and hit either crosscourt or down the line. Players attempt to have a continuous rally where neither player can hit the same shot twice. For example, Player 1 cannot hit 2 forehands in a row. The purpose of this drill is to be able to accurately place groundstrokes/returns of serve.

2. Corner to Corner—players stand at the non-volley zone line on opposite sides of the net and hit either crosscourt or straight ahead. This is the same drill, except the goal is for the players to consistently move the dink around the court.

3. Corner to Corner variation—players must hit 2 forehands then 1 backhand and may take advantage of any attackable balls. Follow the restrictions, stay safe, be well, and most of all—have fun! •

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