We all know pickleball is the greatest sport ever. And the last thing you want is pulling a muscle during the smoothest dink shot you've ever made.

If you're looking to improve your game on the pickleball court, look no further than your own body. There's one quick and easy way to improve your game on the pickleball court: Stretching!

Stretching is a vital part of any physical activity, and pickleball is no exception. We’ve played hundreds of pickleball games and we always notice improvements when we stretch beforehand. By taking a few minutes to warm up and loosen your muscles before playing, you'll take your game to the next level.

We're going to provide reasons why you should stretch before every game. We'll share three of them with you. Then, we'll explain the various types of stretches you should do before your next pickleball game.

Let's jump right in!

3 Reasons to Stretch Before Playing Pickleball

Picture this: You're finally going to play pickleball again and you're eager to get moving. So you grab your finest Bread & Butter paddle and head to the court for a game. After smacking the ball around for a few minutes, you start to feel a twinge in your shoulder. Uh oh...it looks like you may have pulled a muscle!

Pulled muscles are sometimes preventable. And stretching before playing can help prevent injuries and improve your game. Here are three reasons why stretching is essential for any pickleball player.

1. Stretching Improves Your Flexibility

One of the keys to being a good pickleball player is having good hand-eye coordination. This coordination is only possible when your muscles are able to move through their full range of motion. When you stretch, you increase the range of motion in your joints and muscles, allowing you to make those quick reflexive shots that can win games.

2. Stretching Reduces Your Risk of Injury

Nobody likes to end a pickleball game. And an injury will end your game sooner! When you stretch before playing pickleball, you're warming up your muscles and increasing blood flow. This increased blood flow helps reduce your risk of injury by delivering nutrients and oxygen to your muscles more efficiently.

3. Stretching Can Improve Your Performance

Think about it this way: When your muscles are tight, they're not able to work at peak efficiency. By stretching before playing pickleball, you're loosening up your muscles and preparing them for action. This leads to better performance on the court as well as faster recovery times after games. You want to play at your best, don't you?

Additional Stretching Benefits

Stretching may not be the most exciting part of playing pickleball, but it's definitely one of the most important. By taking just a few minutes to stretch before playing, you can improve your flexibility, reduce your risk of injury, and even improve your performance. So don't be a rigid pickleball player—stretch those muscles and hit the court!

Stretching also:

  • Improves agility and coordination
  • Enhances the range of motion in muscles and joints
  • Improves posture and body alignment
  • Helps reduce aches and pains after playing
  • Boosts physical strength and conditioning
  • Lengthens muscle fibers which help to increase power in shots
  • Improves circulation which increases energy levels during play

The Great 8 Pickleball Stretches

Okay, "I'm ready to stretch!", you say. Well, you're in luck because we have the perfect stretches for your pickleball game.

Here are eight stretches that will help you stay nimble and agile during your next pickleball match:

  • Toe touches
  • Calf raises
  • Side lunges
  • Hamstring curls
  • Trunk twists
  • Shoulder rolls
  • Neck rolls
  • Sitting shoulder stretch

1. Toe Touches

Pickleball players of all ages and levels can benefit from toe touches. Toe touches increase flexibility, range of motion, and muscle strength in the lower legs. Furthermore, toe touches improve coordination and balance when moving around the court quickly while playing pickleball.

By performing regular toe touches, pickleball players will also help prevent cramping during a game. Additionally, toe touches are an effective way to warm up the body prior to a match to ensure maximum efficiency on the court.

This stretch is also great for loosening up your hamstrings and lower back. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart. Lean forward from your hips, keeping your back straight, and touch your toes. Hold the stretch for 20-30 seconds, then repeat 2-3 times.

2. Calf Raises

Calf raises are great to strengthen their lower legs and increase power during pickle shots. Calf raises enable you to accelerate faster on the court and generate more power for your shots. Additionally, these exercises can reduce the risk of injury by strengthening the tendons in the lower legs.

Calf raises will stretch out your Achilles tendons. Start by standing with your feet shoulder-width apart and raise up onto your toes. Hold for two seconds, then lower back down. Repeat 10-12 times.

3. Side Lunges

Side lunges help to strengthen and stretch the muscles used for quick side-to-side movement on the court, improving agility and coordination. Additionally, they improve balance and stability while playing, allowing you to move more efficiently between shots.

Side lunges can help you land a powerful backspin shot. They also promote flexibility in the

  • Hips
  • Knees
  • Ankles
  • Core muscles

These are all essential areas when it comes to maximizing power during a game of pickleball.

The side lunge is perfect for loosening up your hip abductors and adductors—the muscles responsible for moving your legs away from and toward the midline of your body. Start by standing with your feet together, then take a large step to the side with one leg while keeping the other leg straight. Lower yourself down into a lunge position, then push off with the lead leg to return to the starting position. Repeat 8-10 times on each side.

4. Hamstring Curls

Hamstring curls are an excellent exercise for pickleball players looking to build strength and power in their lower bodies. They help to improve balance and stability by strengthening the hamstrings and glutes. By increasing core stability, hamstring curls also enhance your ability to recover quickly after a long match or practice session. So if you're planning on playing for hours on end, you'll want to do some hamstring curls before the game!

Start by lying on your back with one leg extended straight and the other bent at the knee with the foot flat on the floor. Use your hamstrings to curl the raised leg up toward your butt, then slowly return it to the starting position. Repeat 10-12 times on each leg.

5. Trunk Twists

Trunk twists are a great exercise to improve:

  • Core stability
  • Coordination
  • Strength

This stretch helps strengthen the muscles of the abdomen, lower back and hips which can help with improving your range of motion during serves and returns. Doing trunk twist exercises regularly will also help with maintaining balance when playing pickleball by engaging all the stabilizing muscles throughout the body.

Additionally, trunk twist exercises can increase stability while picking up balls from the ground, keeping you safe from any injuries. You'd be surprised how even reaching down the wrong way can lead to a pulled muscle.

Trunk twists can help prevent strain on your joints during those explosive movements needed to make quick shots like drop shots or lobs. Finally, having strong core muscles will give you an extra boost of energy when playing long sets and tournaments!

Start by sitting on the floor with both legs bent in front of you and your feet flat on the ground. Place your hands on either side of your body just above the hips, then twist your torso to the right as far as you can without moving your hips or legs. Hold for five seconds, then repeat on the left side. Do 2-3 sets of 10-12 reps on each side.

6. Shoulder Rolls

Shoulder rolls are extremely easy to do and provide a variety of benefits for pickleball players. This exercise helps to improve shoulder mobility and flexibility. Shoulder rolls also strengthen the muscles around the shoulder joint, helping to reduce pain and injury risk.

Additionally, this stretch can help to increase power in serves and shots as well as improve accuracy when aiming for a target. Finally, shoulder rolls can be done quickly before or after a game to warm up or cool down the surrounding muscles. With these many benefits, it is clear that regular shoulder rolls are helpful for anyone playing pickleball.

Loosen up your stiff shoulders! Start by sitting or standing tall with good posture, then roll both shoulders backward 10 times followed by rolling them forward 10 times. Perform 2-3 sets total.

7. Neck Rolls

Neck rolls are an invaluable tool for pickleball players. Doing neck rolls before and after playing can help to:

  • Improve flexibility
  • Increase range of movement
  • Reduce tension
  • Reduce the risk of injury

The range of motion during neck rolls helps to warm up muscles in the neck and shoulders which makes them more prepared for play. It also loosens tightness that can occur during long periods of intense activity. One of the worst places to pull a muscle is in your neck. So do your neck rolls before your next game!

Neck rolls also help keep blood flowing throughout the body, allowing better oxygenation of cells which leads to improved performance on the court. Lastly, doing neck rolls regularly can improve posture and balance which is essential when playing!

Neck rolls are another easy way to relieve tension in the shoulders and neck—areas that can often get tight during games. Start by sitting or standing tall with good posture. Then, raise your shoulders. This will help prevent injury during neck rolls. Finally, slowly drop your chin down toward your chest before rolling it from one side to the other and around. Repeat 10 times in each direction.

8 Sitting Shoulder Stretch

The sitting shoulder stretch is a simple but important stretch. This stretch helps to target the muscles in your

  • Upper back
  • Neck
  • Shoulders

The sitting shoulder stretch helps to release tension and increase range of motion during an intense game.

To begin, sit up tall on the floor or on an exercise mat with your legs crossed. Bring your arms up behind you so your hands are pointing toward the ceiling. Gently lean forward until you feel a comfortable stretch in your shoulders and back. Hold this position for about 30 seconds before releasing and repeating for desired reps.

Pickleball players of all levels will benefit from incorporating stretching into their game routine. By taking a few minutes to warm up before playing, you'll not only improve your physical performance, but you'll also reduce your risk of injury. Try incorporating these eight stretches into your next practice session or match to see how they can help improve your game!

Remember to never stretch too hard and stop if you start to feel any pain. Stretching should be done gently and incrementally so that your muscles don’t get overworked or strained. You can also check with your doctor, physical therapist, or trainer for tips on safe stretching practices.

Once you've finished stretching, get out there and hit the court! With a little practice and dedication, your game is sure to improve. Good luck!

Using the Right Pickleball Paddle

You've exercised, stretched, and now you're super-powered up and ready to rule the court! But you'll need the right pickleball paddle first.

If you're looking to get into pickleball, or if you're already a fan of the sport, we have the perfect paddle for you. Playing pickleball without a good paddle is like playing without stretching beforehand. It's not the same!

Our pickleball paddles are designed for optimum performance and are made from the highest quality materials. And they're all USAPA-approved for competition! Yes, we're serious about our paddles. And if you're a serious player, you'll want the best one.

So what are you waiting for? Head on over to our pickleball paddles page today and take your game to the next level!
November 29, 2022 — Electric Sauce