Pickleball + Fitness

Pickleball looks easy.

I had a friend who was a multi-sport athlete, best in his high school class join me on the pickleball court last summer. First game, he tore his achilles.

Pickleball involves a lot of reaction and explosive movements. People who are not used to fast change of direction, constant stop & go, and transferring weight from one leg to the next are at high risk of getting hurt.

Pickleball is the new thing. People are waking up that inner competitor within them by stepping onto the court for the first time after their friends begging them to play this "silly" game.

What happens? They have too much fun. They play for 2 to 3 hours. They find a group to play again the next day, again for 2 to 3 hours, and then they find themselves waking up with knee pain or ankle pain.

Pickleball is a fantastic sport. It engages you physically (via cardio), mentally (via strategy), and socially (there's plenty of cool people to meet at your local courts). Where pickleball is not so chill is that is deceptively hard on our body.

My dad (65.5 years old) is a great example of someone who jumped straight into pickleball, caught the bug, and found himself sitting out more than he wants to because he tweaked his knee.

My dad used to play baseball and run track when he was younger. He played slow pitch softball when I was wee kid. He still golfs very regularly. But nothing he does is explosive.

He hurt himself in the first week.

As the pickleball bug gets passed around, people need to listen to their bodies and know when it's time to relax. For those who are more vulnerable to injury or simply don't want to slow down because they're having too much fun, they need to exercise off the court to improve their ability to perform on the court.

Over the next few weeks, I will be implementing a program designed by my lifelong best friend Max Kutler who is one of the fittest and hardest working individuals I have ever met in my life. My dad is Client #1. If he can do it, you can do it.

There is an "every day" flow that takes 10-15 minutes of your day, but it will prepare your body for the strain you experience when bending and stretching for that drive landing at your toes.

Two days per week, there is a strength portion. One day is upper body. One day is lower body.

That knee pain that you're experiencing can be relieved by strengthening the muscles around it via lunges. Think about that shoulder pain you're getting from "playing too much pickleball." When was the last time you put in the work to build up the muscles around your shoulder.

This program will help strengthen your core, strength your legs, increase your mobility, reduce your risk of injury, keep you on the court longer, and ultimately improve your game.

I will be following the same program as my dad, but I'll be kicking it up a few notches. I'm in cardio shape. I've recently started doing accessory lifts again to get me back into the gym.

Thanks to Max, I now have a plan that's both general and sports-specific to get me where I want to be: on the court all the time and playing at a 4.5+ level by the end of the summer.