Are you thinking about playing singles? Be prepared!
Recently at a few tournaments I attended, several players injured themselves while playing in their singles event. The injuries forced them to withdraw from all the other events they had entered and left their partners to find subs on short notice. Since I play singles as well, I got to thinking more specifically about what singles play demands of the person’s body.
Playing singles is a whole different animal from playing doubles. First, you are required to cover the whole court. Yelling “YOURS” doesn’t cut it in singles. Second, you have to be able to run forward, back and side to side — quickly. Third, you need to be able to hit from the baseline for most of your shots, unless you rush the net at every opportunity you can. And fourth, you need to be able to last through what may be a very strenuous match.
So what this means to you is that you need to be in shape, you need to be flexible and you need endurance. You cannot just walk out on the court and – poof! – you’re a singles player. You will have to put in your time getting fit in order to play singles injury free. Still want to play singles? Read on.
1. Plyometrics (controlled high speed movements) are an important factor to prepare your joints for quick action moves. Single and double leg squat jumps are a good way to begin. Add skipping and side to side jumps and you are ready to go.
2. Stretching hamstrings and hips and quads after you work out is key to not pulling those pesky muscles.
3. Practice hitting from the baseline to a target on the other side of the net. Place a chair, towel or other object on the other side of the court and try to hit it. Move the object around and work to hit it everywhere on the court.
4. Endurance development requires long, slow distance increases to develop your breathing capacity. Start by slowly jogging around the pickleball court one direction 5 times, then change direction and repeat. Jog around the parking lot; increase your distance as you acclimate to your current distance. Only increase your speed when you are comfortable with your distance.
We need more singles players on the tournament circuit. Don’t shy away from singles; give it a try. Just make sure you’re physically prepared.