Whether you’re just getting into pickleball or are a long-time player, it’s easy to focus on the time you spend training while on the court; after all, how else are you supposed to improve your game if not through practice?
True – you need to put in the hours on the court in order to build a comprehensive knowledge of the game, better understand how to read your opponents, and ultimately become a stronger player. We are big advocates of the philosophy that any amount of time spent on the pickleball court is time well spent, whether it be as simple as getting a few practice reps in of a specific shot or hitting the courts for a rigorous training camp.
However, one thing that is often overlooked is the importance of off-court training. While it’s easy to see progress being made off the court, if you aren’t actively engaging with your body during your downtime, it can be challenging to maintain that sense of progress between your pickleball sessions.
What is Off-Court Training?
Simply put, off-court training is the time you spend being physically active when you’re not playing pickleball. Hiking, biking, paddle boarding, running, weight training, yoga, and stretching are just a handful of ways to stay in shape while not on the pickleball court.
The concept of off-court training applies to all sports and has been practiced for millennia. As long as athletes have been training to become the best in their respective sports, they have utilized other methods of exercise to complement their “on-court” efforts.
According to Gamma Sports, a popular tennis and pickleball equipment company, the time you spend off the court is just as important as the time you spend while on it! They note that many young players on professional tours have short-lived careers for a variety of reasons. Lack of preparation and injury are common causes often directly linked to an unwillingness to prepare oneself during “off days.”
We sat down with our resident personal trainer, Brady Burman-Magday, who explained why pickleball players should consistently stay active even when off the court.
“I think getting your heart rate up to a high level at least once per week is important, even if it’s just for a couple seconds. If you’re playing pickleball, you’re running around quite a bit, and your heart rate is going to get up to where it needs to be. Walking a few days a week to bring your heart rate up moderately is key as well. Also, doing anything balance-wise is huge and applies to basically everyone. Not everyone will go on runs, but if you can walk or hop on a bike for a little bit – even just one hard push – or just standing on one leg.”Brady Burman-Magday, Pickleball Union’s Personal Trainer
We’ve covered a variety of ways to prevent pickleball injuries, including some of the most common injuries like Achilles tendonitis and Plantar fasciitis. These injuries plague tennis and pickleball players, as they easily occur due to overstressing your legs while on the court.
Stretching and a few simple workouts can go a long way in terms of preventing injuries, and a lot of times, you can do them right from the comfort of your own home! Other more engaging off-court exercises, like biking and paddle boarding, offer a wide range of motions that will also help strengthen essential muscles and tendons in your legs that can be prone to injury while playing pickleball.
Thanks to our partnership with iROCKER SUP, we were able to have Brady test out a few of their paddle boards for himself and gauge their effectiveness as an off-court training tool. His background in paddle boarding was put to good use, and he ultimately found it to be a worthwhile activity for improving one’s balance and strength.
“Paddle boarding is a great way for people to get in touch with balancing on a moving surface, and is an easy and fun way of doing that. Getting out on a paddle board with a friend, your feet will be gripping the board the whole time, and you’ll understand the feel of balancing while moving and shifting your weight to one side while paddling. I would not be surprised if it’s an indicator of longevity to be able to stand up on a paddle board – to stand up and balance like that.”Brady Burman-Magday, Pickleball Union’s Personal Trainer
Mental Health and Focus
Being in tune with your body is essential for being successful while playing pickleball. Mental fortitude and grounding yourself in your body’s movements while on the court allow you to improve the accuracy of your shots, become more confident while shifting across the court, and reduce the number of errors you’ll make during games.
However, that mind-body connection takes time to build, and while you are certainly making those connections while practicing on the pickleball court, you also should be connecting with your body off the court.
According to a sports psychology study conducted by Oklahoma Wesleyan University, one’s overall mindset and ability to handle stress have serious effects on athletic performance. The more time you spend staying physically active, the more you’ll understand how your body’s movement impacts your ability to think, focus, and react while on the pickleball court.
Entertainment and Socialization
Finally, off-court training isn’t just about building strength and mental fortitude; it’s also about enjoying how you spend your time while you aren’t playing pickleball. Despite our love for pickleball, we also need to find other healthy ways of spending our time, and you might as well find one that is socially welcoming as well!
This is why hopping on the water with a paddle board or a scenic trail with a bike feels like the perfect way to spend your off-court training time. You get a great workout, enjoy time well spent with friends and family, and give yourself a chance to learn more about your body’s capabilities off the court.
We love spending time on the pickleball court, but we also need to learn to love the time spent off of it. So, get out there and get your off-court training on!
“I think paddle boarding is a really good way for someone who likes pickleball to get more exercise because not everyone is going to be a personal trainer who likes to exercise for the sake of it – there’s a community aspect. I know people who will go out on paddle boards with their dogs, and it’s a way for them to see interesting things out on the water, to be able to spend time with an animal; and it doesn’t feel like exercise, but by the time you’re done, you’re tired. I think that’s the same for pickleball – you can see your friends at the court, and if you’re playing doubles, you’re not sprinting the whole time, but you’re actively moving on your feet back and forth. That communal aspect that you can also find in paddle boarding fits the pickleball demographic perfectly.”Brady Burman-Magday, Pickleball Union’s Personal Trainer
About Our Sponsor
iROCKER – LIVE YOUR LIFE ON THE WATER™
iROCKER is dedicated to crafting the highest quality paddle boards and outdoor gear on the market. As pickleball players, we’re often geared toward trying to find the best way of improving ourselves on the court, and it can be difficult at times to draw parallels to activities outside of that environment that can also impact your game.
We’ve found that paddle boarding contains a lot of similar health benefits to pickleball, from creating fulfilling social environments to improving your strength and balance through physical activity. iROCKER’s paddle boards offer pickleball players the perfect off-court activity for enjoying the outdoors and staying healthy. Check out their website for more information.
We are sorry that this post was not useful for you!
Let us improve this post!
Tell us how we can improve this post?