I hope you are all doing well and somehow finding creative and safe ways to keep pickleball in your lives. This past week has been an absolute treat for me. I’ve managed to play singles pickleball about 5 times so far. With many recent safe playing experiences now soundly in my back pocket I would like to share a few tips that have allowed me to take extra care in safe playing. Now, I know a couple of weeks ago I wrote about the safety measures we would all have to follow in order to play pickleball again; and although some of the content is an overlap, these tips are coming from the perspective of having now played multiple games and really having the opportunity to feel out how to best play in a safe manner. You can also check out that article “When Pickleball Returns”
Tips While Playing Singles:
- Bring disinfectant wipes: we were playing with our own ball but old habits had us accidentally picking up the other person’s ball with our non-playing hand. A quick wipe to clean the ball ensures safe playing.
- A jug of water won’t cut it: the weather somehow jumped from winter to summer and our bodies are not used to the heat. Bring extra water as public fountains are not working.
- Bringing your own chair is the pro-tip of the day: it fully allows you to control social distancing for yourself and you can move it around to shady spots. It’s been essential for us to bring our own chairs each and every time we play.
- For the most part, washrooms are locked up. Just keep that in mind if you plan to play over a long course of time.
- Setting up and removing portable nets: as quick and efficient as it is to set up together, if you’re the owner of the net just set it up yourself. It maintains social distancing and ensures you aren’t both touching the poles and net.
- Do not lean over the net to tap the ball to your opponent! I’ve observed this now multiple times - and it’s understandable too. People are using paddles or a foot to roll the ball safely to their opponent but in doing so are leaning over the net to reach. Sadly, I’ve seen a newly installed permanent net system broken after just 7 days of being open, likely due to too many people leaning into the net.
- Pack as light as possible: although we’re carrying around extras such as extra water, a portable net and chair try to pack as light as possible. I’ve been trying to not touch my backpack and belongings whilst playing to reduce the risk of transference. Packing light isn’t my forte but I am reducing the amount of “stuff” I bring as much possible.
- Don’t tap paddles at the end of the game. It’s a fun habit that occurs in pickleball regularly but there’s no need for it right now and if you do it you're just adding to the risk of passing on or receiving the virus.
So far my experience in playing safe singles has been really enjoyable and I’m happy to continue as is for the next while. I have a few friends who are interested in following the safety recommendations to the same extent I have. Which leads me to my final recommendation: find players who will practice safe playing to the same degree as you. It makes it for a more efficient and enjoyable experience for all.
Finally, I need to shout out to my playing companions who've played safe and enjoyable games with me - thanks for the awesome games!