Staying balanced on the pickleball court is crucial for maintaining control over your shots, reacting quickly to your opponents’ shots, and reducing the risk of injuries. In other words, having strong balance helps you win more points on the pickleball court.
Since balance is key to success on the pickleball court, try these 11 tips to help you stay balanced during play:
- Proper Footwork: Focus on maintaining good footwork throughout the pickleball game. Keep your feet shoulder-width apart, with your weight evenly distributed between them. Stay on the balls of your feet to enable quick movements in any direction on the court.
- Stay Low: Bend your knees and get into a slightly crouched position (i.e., an athletic position). Staying low helps you have a solid and stable base, making it easier to move swiftly and react to shots effectively.
- Use Small Steps: Take small, quick steps instead of large strides on the pickleball court. Small steps allow you to change direction more rapidly and maintain better balance during lateral movements (which are critical in pickleball).
- Paddle Positioning: Keep your pickleball paddle in a ready position that is elevated and in front of your body. This will help you be prepared to react to incoming shots and maintain better balance during quick exchanges, as it will require less movement that may throw you off balance.
- Focus on Core Strength: Strengthening your core muscles is essential for better balance. Incorporate core exercises into your training routine to improve stability on the pickleball court.
- Avoid Overreaching: Try to avoid reaching too far or overextending for shots, especially when off-balance. Instead, use proper footwork and positioning to get to the ball in a balanced manner (i.e., take another small step if necessary).
- Recover After Each Shot: After hitting a shot on the pickleball, make a conscious effort to recover to the best court positioning (which is typically in tandem with your partner and at the Kitchen line). This helps you stay balanced (and in position so you are not overreaching) and ready for the next shot from your opponent.
- Controlled Swing: Maintain control over your swings, especially when hitting powerful shots. Over-swinging can lead to loss of balance and accuracy. In particular, keep your backswings to a minimum.
- Practice Balance Drills: Incorporate balance drills into your training sessions. For example, try performing lunges, one-legged stands, or squats to improve your balance and stability on the pickleball court.
- Stay Relaxed: Tension can disrupt your balance. Stay relaxed when playing pickleball, and focus on breathing evenly to keep your body loose and responsive.
- Warm Up Properly: Before playing pickleball, warm up your body with dynamic stretches and movements. This prepares your muscles and joints for the demands of the game (in other words, warms up your ability to balance on the court), as well as reduces the risk of injuries.
By implementing these tips into your pickleball game and regular training routine, you will enhance your balance and stability, giving yourself a competitive edge on the pickleball court.