How Much Pickleball Is Too Much?
The game of pickleball has gained an enormous following in recent years, with millions of players of all ages and skill levels taking up the sport. However, with this surge in popularity comes a question that many players are asking themselves: how much pickleball is too much? In this article, we will explore the various factors that can affect the amount of pickleball a person should play, including age, skill level, and physical health. We will also examine the risks of playing too much pickleball and provide tips for avoiding injury and burnout.
The Pickleball Boom
According to a new report by the Association of Pickleball Professionals, more than 36.5 million people played pickleball from August 2021 to August 2022 [CNBC]. The sport’s popularity has surged in recent years, with pickleball now being the fastest-growing sport in America for the past three years, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association [Pickleheads]. This growth has been particularly pronounced among players under 24, with this age group seeing the fastest rate of increase from 2020 to 2021 [CNN].
As of 2022, there were over 4.8 million pickleball players, or “picklers,” in the United States alone, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association [NY Times]. With more and more people taking up the sport, it’s natural to wonder how much pickleball is too much.
Factors Affecting Pickleball Play
Several factors can affect the amount of pickleball a person should play, including age, skill level, and physical health.
As with any physical activity, age can play a significant role in how much pickleball a person should play. Older adults may not be able to handle the same level of activity as younger players, and may need to limit their playtime to avoid injury. According to the USA Pickleball Association, players over the age of 50 should limit their playtime to no more than 2-3 hours per day [USA Pickleball].
Another important factor to consider is skill level. Players who are new to the sport may not have the same endurance as more experienced players, and may need to limit their playtime accordingly. Similarly, players who are recovering from an injury or who have other health issues may need to take a break from the sport until they are fully healed.
Finally, physical health is a critical factor in determining how much pickleball a person should play. Players who have pre-existing medical conditions or who are at a higher risk of injury may need to limit their playtime to avoid exacerbating their condition. Similarly, players who are experiencing pain or discomfort during play should take a break to allow their bodies to recover.
The Risks of Playing Too Much Pickleball
While pickleball is generally considered a safe sport, playing too much can increase the risk of injury and burnout. Common injuries associated with pickleball include:
- Tennis elbow
- Rotator cuff injuries
- Knee injuries
- Ankle sprains
In addition to physical injuries, playing too much pickleball can also lead to burnout, which can result in a decrease in performance and a loss of interest in the sport. Burnout can occur when a player trains too hard or plays too frequently without adequate rest and recovery time.
To avoid injury and burnout, it’s important to listen to your body and take breaks when necessary. Additionally, players should focus on proper warm-up and cool-down techniques, including stretching and hydration, to reduce the risk of injury.
Tips for Finding the Right Balance
So how can players find the right balance when it comes to playing pickleball? Here are some tips:
1. Start Slow
If you’re new to the sport or returning after a break, start slow and gradually increase your playtime. This will allow your body to adjust to the physical demands of the sport and reduce the risk of injury.
2. Listen to Your Body
Pay attention to any pain or discomfort you may be experiencing during play. If you’re feeling tired or experiencing pain, take a break to allow your body to rest and recover.
Incorporate other forms of exercise, such as strength training or cardio, into your workout routine. This can help improve your overall fitness level and reduce the risk of injury.
4. Rest and Recover
Make sure to take adequate rest and recovery time between games and practices. This can help prevent burnout and reduce the risk of injury.
5. Seek Professional Advice
If you’re experiencing pain or have a pre-existing medical condition, consult with a healthcare professional or a certified pickleball coach for advice on how to safely play the sport.
In conclusion, pickleball is a fun and exciting sport that has gained an enormous following in recent years. However, players should be mindful of the risks associated with playing too much and take steps to find the right balance. By paying attention to age, skill level, and physical health, and by following the tips outlined in this article, players can enjoy the benefits of pickleball while minimizing the risk of injury and burnout.