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What Precautions Will You Take to Play Pickleball Safely?

News Stacie Townsend 04-29-2020

The sport of pickleball provides a form of exercise, stress relief, and a community to belong to, to millions of pickleball players across the world. With the outbreak of COVID-19, much of the pickleball community has been left without this active outlet. As states and regions start to relax stay-at-home orders and other other restrictions, one of the key questions for the pickleball community is when and how can we play pickleball?

The United States Tennis Association (USTA) recently released “Player Tips and Recommendations” for playing tennis safely. Using the USTA release as a guide, consider the following tips and recommendations for the pickleball court as states and regions start to relax stay-at-home orders and other other restrictions:

Before You Play Pickleball

  • Comply with the directions and orders of your local health and government officials – in other words, only consider playing pickleball if permitted by your local health and government officials
  • Ease back into your pickleball play, especially if you are a competitive pickleball player, in order to prevent injury from under-playing 
  • Limit your pickleball play to only people that you are quarantined with and others that are considered low-risk individuals
  • Do not play if you:
    • Have COVID-19 symptoms, which include a fever or cough
    • Have been in contact with anyone that has had COVID-19 within the past 2 weeks
    • Are a high-risk individual and your local health and government officials are directing you to stay home
      • *High-risk individuals include the elderly and people with serious underlying health conditions (including diabetes, high blood pressure, obesity, and illnesses that compromise breathing or the immune system)

Preparing to Play Pickleball

  • Wash your hands and use hand sanitizer
  • Clean your pickleball equipment (including your pickleball paddle, pickleballs, grips, hats, wristbands, towels, water bottles, and any other gear or equipment that you plan on taking to the pickleball court)
  • Use the restroom at home before you leave the house
  • Bring your own water
  • Avoid touching all surfaces, including the water fountain, gates, fences, nets, benches, handles, bathrooms, and any other common surface or area
  • Use new pickleballs and have multiple pickleballs so that you only touch (and serve) your pickleball, and your opponent only touches (and serves) his or her pickleball (to note, do not pick up your opponent’s pickleball; rather, kick the pickleball in the desired direction using the bottom of your shoe)
  • Sneeze or cough only into a tissue or your upper shirt area
  • Limit your time on the pickleball court by arriving just in time to play
  • Consider taking additional precautions to protect against infections, such as wearing gloves or a face covering (however, be careful wearing a face covering, as the face covering will limit your breathing and airflow)

While You Are Playing Pickleball

  • Stay at least 6 feet apart from all pickleball players at all times
  • Only play singles or skinny singles, and do not change sides of the pickleball court (unless you are playing with people that you are quarantined in the same house with)
  • Do not touch any pickleball players (for instance, do not hug, shake hands, high five, or paddle tap)
  • Avoid touching your face after touching the pickleball or other pickleball equipment
  • Avoid sharing water, towels, or other materials with any other pickleball players
  • Do not pick up any pickleball, other than yours, with your hand; rather, kick the pickleball in the desired direction using the bottom of your shoe

After You Play Pickleball

  • Leave the pickleball court immediately after playing – in other words, avoid socializing or congregating after play (call your friends and arrange a virtual happy hour instead!)
  • Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer immediately after leaving the pickleball court
  • Avoid touching all surfaces, including the water fountain, gates, fences, nets, benches, handles, and any other common surface or area
  • Shower and wash and change your clothes immediately upon returning home

Has your state or region relaxed stay-at-home orders and other restrictions? If so, have you started to phase pickleball back in to your daily routine? What measures are you taking to play pickleball safely? Share with us in the comments below!

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