Since tournament season is upon us and many pickleball players have upped their hours of practice and play time, I feel this subject needs to be addressed once again. After speaking to dozens of players who have various injuries, I asked them one question, “How much do you stretch?” Never! Not at all! Five minutes every other day. NOT GOOD! After drilling for two hours and playing for one hour, I was so sore I could hardly make it to the car. Wondering what to do about this discomfort, I thought about options: drugs (Advil, Aleve), massage (delicious), Epsom salts bath (also delicious), nap. All good but not the right approach. So I went to my studio to spend one hour stretching every muscle I could locate. Leaving the studio almost pain free, I now considered all the other options. Here are the stretches that could save your body this season.
Photo 1: Hamstring Stretch: Seated on a bench or chair, extend one leg straight in front of you. Flatten your back, lean forward until you can feel your hamstring stretching.
Photo 2: Hip Flexors Stretch: Sit on a bench or chair with one leg bent in front of you (seated on one cheek not both). Extend the other leg behind you and try to sit up straight. You should feel this in the front of your extended leg.
Photo 3: Hip Stretch: To stretch hips, cross right foot across left knee; bring left knee up toward left shoulder.
Photo 4: Supported Back Stretch: Lean forward while seated; keep hands on feet or legs.
Photo 5: Side Stretch: Hold wall for balance; cross right leg behind left leg and side bend left until you feel side stretch.
Hold each stretch for a count of ten, repeat 5 times; do not hold your breath. Switch sides. Do these every day or more if you can.