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3 steps to preventing injuries on the pickleball court

September 12th, 2023 | 3 min. read

By Jen Azevedo

Pickleball is the fastest-growing sport in the USA for the third year in a row. It is estimated that there are close to 8.9 million pickleball players nationwide. 

With so many new “picklers” on the courts, it is no wonder that some people are getting injured. Like any sport, strains, sprains, and other owies happen — even to experienced players.

The Paseo Club is a social club in the Santa Clarita Valley that has been open for 20 years. We have 11 pickleball courts, plus pickleball drills, leagues, and tournaments.

Injuries cause pain, lost sleep, and most importantly, missed time playing your favorite game. That is why in this article, we will address why pickleball is growing so fast, what types of injuries are most common, and what you can do to stay safe on the courts. 

3 (1)-minWho is playing pickleball? 

Pickleball is so popular because of how easy it is to learn. It is a game that can be played by people of all ages and abilities and it is so much fun!

Over the last three years, pickleball has grown by close to 158%. Although many people think pickleball is for the elderly, but 18-34-year-olds make up the largest demographic — at 28% — in the nation, and more than 70% of avid pickleball players are between the ages of 18 and 44

Why is pickleball so popular?

Pickleball is an easy-to-learn sport with a small skill gap between beginners and advanced players — something you rarely see in other competitive sports. It has a low impact on the body, has a fun skill progression, and every point can be exciting. 

One of the biggest reasons this sport has taken off is it's also a very social sport. On and off the court, pickleball brings people together

013e0e5d-392d-4cc1-8bc9-bd6c4c83a025What injuries are most common from playing pickleball?

Although safety is first, injuries do happen on the pickleball court. Common injuries are:

  • Calf strains
  • Low back strains
  • Achilles tendon tears 
  • Wrist strains or sprains
  • Shoulder and rotator cuff injuries
  • Elbow tendonitis (tennis or pickleball elbow)

According to a recent study of people with pickleball-related injuries who came to emergency rooms, approximately half were either sprains or fractures, and 90% of the injuries affected people aged 50 and older

3 steps to prevent injuries 

Acute traumatic injuries in pickleball primarily result from falls, with sudden turning or pivoting movements being the second cause. 

But there are many practical, easy-to-do steps you can make to minimize the chance of being injured.

compressedzzza1. Wear proper court shoes 

You may be surprised to hear this, but not any shoe will do for pickleball. Wearing running or tennis shoes will not protect your feet and joints, and they will wear out much faster. 

Pickleball shoes are constructed for lateral movement and traction. They also have a little more cushion, which allows them to absorb shock better than other shoes. They will protect your ankles from rolling and minimize impact on your feet, knees, and lower back. 

2. Perform a series of dynamic stretches before pickleball 

Dynamic stretches are movement-based stretches — as opposed to traditional static “holding” stretches. These are better for warming up and will help you to prevent injuries. 

Dynamic movements that can help loosen you up for a game on the courts are:

  • Jogging 
  • Side steps
  • High knees
  • Arm stretches
  • Jumping jacks
  • Progressive arm circles

3. Cross-train with yoga or Pilates to improve flexibility and strength 

Whether you play pickleball, tennis, lift weights, or swim, cross-training with mobility work, such as yoga or Pilates, makes you feel better, improves performance, and minimizes injuries.

Every pickleball player should warm up and cool down after playing, but an additional one or two sessions of mobility exercises each week is best practice.

Colton in the kitchen (2)-minWhat beginner pickleball program does the Paseo Club offer?

The Paseo Club offers a few different options for players new to the sport.

Free beginner pickleball classes 

These classes, led by one of our teaching pros, teach the fundamentals of pickleball and the game's scoring rules. 

  • Tuesdays 6-7:30 pm
  • Thursdays 9-10 am
  • Sundays 8:30-9:30 am

Drop-in Play 

All members are welcome to come play, meet new people, and share the courts at drop-ins. These happen on the following days:

  • Monday-Friday 8 am-11 am
  • Saturday and Sunday 8 am-12 pm
  • Wednesday and Fridays 6 pm-9 pm

Private Instruction

If you would like one-on-one attention to learn the game from the inside out, schedule a session with one of the Paseo Club’s personal pickleball instructors.

Staying safe on the pickleball court

The future of pickleball is bright because of its crossover appeal. It truly is a sport adored by the young and old, amateurs and pros, and everyone in between. 

It is tempting to hop onto the court and into a game the moment you arrive at the club. Instead, pause and make sure you have the proper foot attire, have warmed up, and have done some cross-training during the week. 

This protocol will help you have a long, healthy, and hopefully successful future in pickleball.

The Paseo Club is the hub for pickleball in the Santa Clarita Valley. But that is not all. Check out our fitness classes, junior Olympic pool, cafe, and spa. 
View Athletic Calendar

If you are not yet a member, now is the time! Schedule a tour of the club and meet staff, instructors, and members.

Schedule a Tour

Check out these three articles to learn more about pickleball and fitness.

Jen Azevedo

Jen Azevedo is a tennis professional, pickleball professional, personal trainer, group exercise instructor, and the general manager of the Paseo Club. She loves the community at the Paseo Club and that it is also a safe and fun place for her daughter. Jen’s favorite activities are joining her tribe for trail races or her partners for tennis matches. Occasionally Jen slows down to relax with a book — she reads over 100 a year!