By Barbara Wintroub, Retrofit Pilates
Are you feeling a bit physically unsteady on the pickleball court or, even more generally, in your everyday life?
According to an article in ADVANCE for Physical Therapists by Mannewitz PT and Hulett PT, one out of every three people older than 65 falls each year. Add the pickleball component and that number could be higher. Balance training helps prevent unnecessary injuries while playing pickleball or performing more regular day to day activities.
Walking is a form of falling and regaining balance. The same is true for running for a dink or backing up for an overhead. Balance is dynamic and applies to many daily activities like standing up from a sitting position, getting out of your car etc. Decrease in balance can be a result of a sedentary life style, decline in vision and hearing or rehabbing from hip or knee replacement.
This article will provide suggestions and exercises to improve general balance and will also provide two drills to improve forward/backward and side to side movements on the pickleball court. Always consult your physician before beginning any new exercise program.
Here are a few balance exercises you can do around the house and on the court:
1. Stand on one leg while brushing your teeth and washing your face. Alternate legs. Repeat 5 times on each leg.
4. Balance on your right leg with the left leg out behind you. Pick up a pickleball from the floor. Alternate legs. Repeat 5 times or more on each leg. (This exercise is the golfer’s ball pick up method).
5. Stand at the baseline of the court. Slowly jog forward. Touch the net with the paddle, then back step to the baseline. Repeat exercise 5-10 times.
6. Stand on the baseline at the far right side, side-step to the other side; stop, and then side step back to the starting position. Work up to continuous movement 5-10 times across the court and back.
Now you are ready to do those amazing one leg, flying, half court volley shots that will truly amaze and astound your opponents!