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How to Warm-Up for a Pickleball Match

How to Warm-Up for a Pickleball Match

  • Itching to smash those volleys? Hold on a sec, champion! While the pickleball court beckons, a quick warm-up is your secret weapon. Imagine smooth serves, lightning reflexes, and avoiding those dreaded net cords – a good warm-up makes it all possible. Plus, it keeps you injury-free.

When you step onto the pickleball court, it can be tempting to dive right into your match. After all, there’s no time like the present!

Resist the temptation! Your warm-up is crucial to your performance on the court. A solid warm-up routine can help you prep every aspect of your game for competition and prevent injury. 

In this guide, we’ll share exactly how to structure your warm-up routine so you can dominate your match. Let’s hit the court together!

Why You Should Warm-Up Before a Pickleball Match

Pickleball is a fast-paced and intense game. Every stroke and point counts, and warming up helps you shake off the rust and get back into a rhythm before the match begins. There’s nothing worse than sending several shots into the net or out of bounds because you skipped your warm-up!

Taking a few minutes to warm-up also prevents injury. You should always do a little bit of dynamic stretching before a match, then do a light on-court warm-up to get your body moving. You shouldn’t crush every shot during your warm-up. Instead, work through a few minutes of drills to help warm-up your playing muscles and get your feet moving

Pickleball Warm-Up Drills: Dinks

Many pickleball points are won and lost at the net, so it’s vital to spend enough time warming up your dinks! Starting your warm-up at the net can help you ease into your match, get your feet moving, and help you work on the soft touch you’ll need to win points. 

To practice your dinks, stand across from your partner and start hitting some dinks back and forth. Hit a few dinks directly at your partner, then try to move them around the kitchen a little bit. 

Hit a few short dinks that land near the net, then a few that land at the kitchen line. Encourage your partner to do the same so you can gently warm-up your footwork and your dinks.

Pickleball Warm-Up Drills: Volleys

After you finish dinking, focus on volleys. Hit a few volleys to your partner’s forehand. You can toss the ball at your partner or hit it with your paddle. 

After they hit a few forehand volleys, set them up to hit a few backhand volleys. Then, take your turn practicing volleys.

As with dinking, it’s important to spend some time hitting a variety of volleys and aiming for different areas of the court. Send your partner some volleys they have to reach for or move toward to help them practice their footwork and ask them to do the same. 

Don’t Forget Your Split Step!

It can be easy to forget about the split step when you volley, and your warm-up is a great chance to work on this. As you volley, make it a priority to split step for every single volley. Ask your partner to let you know if you forget, and encourage them to feed you volleys that require you to move around the court to ensure they are second nature during match play. 

Pickleball Warm-Up Drills: Drops, Drives, and Groundstrokes

After you work on your dinks and volleys, spend a few minutes working on your groundstrokes and third-shot. Start by hitting some forehands, backhands, drops, and drives. Then, take a few steps back to work on each shot from mid-court. Then, head closer to the baseline to practice some deep forehands and backhands. Make sure you practice hitting each shot to the player directly across from you and cross-court!

Shadow Swings

You can start practicing these strokes before you even step on the court. Simply stand on the side of the court or the sidewalk and practice your strokes. 

You complete this drill while standing still or incorporate some shuffling to help improve your footwork. However you approach it, this drill will help you warm-up the groundstroke form you work so hard on during practice!

Pickleball Warm-Up Drills: Serves

Once you’re back at the baseline, it’s time to practice your serves and returns! Stand on the baseline and hit a few serves cross-court. When you serve, your partner can practice their return by hitting the ball back to you. 

After you’ve practiced a few serves from each side, let your partner take their turn! When they serve to you, hit a few returns back to them. Do not play out an entire rally. Use this time to only focus on your serves and returns. 

How Often Do You Warm-Up Before a Match?

When courts are busy and time to play is limited, it can be so easy to skip your warm-up and start your match right away.To prevent injuries and play a bit better during a match, prioritize spending a few minutes warming up every time you step on the court! These drills don’t take long to implement, and they will lead to a better experience on the court. Do you have any warm-up drills you love?

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