The world is on pause and rightly so. The act of social distancing is necessary for the safety and well-being of everyone and to reduce the spread of COVID-19 (Coronavirus); as a result, the competition that has been sanctioned by USAPA (USA Pickleball Association) and PCO (Pickleball Canada Organization) are being canceled or postponed.
As we move towards a work-from-home situation (social distancing and isolation) how will you maintain your pickleball game during the pandemic? Here are some of my thoughts on how we can stay active and our skills sharp.
Drive-way pickleball. This is probably the best-case-scenario and appropriate for families and groups who are social distancing together. For those of you with a paved driveway grab the chalk (like those good ‘ol days) and scrape together a homemade court. Only have 2 or 3 people in your household? Skinny singles is a small version of singles pickleball that only uses half the court by playing on a diagonal or straight-on with your opponent. It’s a very active and fun way to participate in singles pickleball, which not many people have the chance to do - because usually, pickleball courts are too busy for singles!
If you are a city dweller with no access to a private driveway - like me - or social distancing on your own then here are some ideas for you:
Work on your form with squats and mirrors. No seriously, the “ready position” is a key element in pickleball; it allows you to reset yourself and prepare for the next shot - with your paddle "up". If you are one to drop the paddle by your side after making a shot then working on your ready position could be a great idea. When done properly, squats force you to engage your core and other areas of your body that make up a good ready position. Doing this in front of a mirror is your best form of feedback as you can see what you’re doing right away.
Cardio and Fitness. So, the US Open was just canceled. The largest party in pickleball and a bucket-list item for many has been delayed until April 17, 2021, but before COVID-19, many of us were preparing hard and diligently for The Open. I encourage you to keep up with your cardio as much as possible - especially you singles players out there - so you can eventually hit the courts with ease. I have been taking the time to jog at strategic times, like at night when there are fewer people out and about or while it’s raining.
A close colleague and friend of mine once recommended juggling to gain more control and faster hands. Time to put this theory to the test. Personally, I'm going to give it a go and may or may not post my progress on social media (@saramcinnes002).
I have spoken to a few pickleball friends to see what they’ve been doing and here’s what they’ve told me:
“I don't share a wall with neighbours, so I’m hitting the ball against the wall in my dining room” ~ M
“Running by myself; bodyweight exercises with resistance bands and practice swings with the paddle” ~ Brian
“Turning off Netflix and running each day during the social distancing period!” ~ Anne
“I am making a court near my house on an abandoned basketball court. I will also aim to do 15,000 steps per day and come up with [new] pickleball drills” ~ Jennie
My crafty friend, Dan, removed the legs off of the table tennis table in his basement so he could do drills on his own:
There are many ways you can practice pickleball in your home during this time of social distancing, so if you are looking to set up a pickleball court at your home or a modified court, our website offers some great equipment that you could use alone or with someone in your household:
Pickleball, for most of us, is not just a way of staying active - although it's great for that as well - it's become deeply intertwined into our lifestyles. We participate in tournaments and see familiar faces over and over again, or watch tournaments on a live feed if we can't be there. It's daily or weekly practices and rec games with friends and going for noodles afterward. Between tournaments, it's carpooling on the weekend to nearby pickleball communities for large group play but most of all, it's a second family for us. If you're anything like me or my friends, you already miss your pickleball family and the excitement that pickleball brings to your life. But for us to get back on the court faster we need to do our part to flatten the curve of this growing virus. I encourage you to be safe, stay healthy and look forward to seeing you on the courts (hopefully) soon.
Have any other ideas that were not mentioned here? Comment below on how you plan to stay active during these unique circumstances.