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Lots of Variations of “Skinny” Games

Margee Lopez

The Lake Wildwood pickleball courts opened on May 1st for players within the same household. Many lucky couples have enjoyed returning but a challenge exists in perfecting singles play on half courts. There are lots of variations of “skinny” games and drills. Whether you are aiming your serves at your partner’s feet, dinking cross court or practicing the infamous 3rd shot drop, you are definitely getting back into the “swing” of things. Hopefully, some level of new normal can return and allow us to play doubles again. Until then, some recommendations for players are universal. Nutrition and warm-ups are two aspects that affect us all.

The recommendations for good nutrition mentioned are especially important for tournaments and other competitions but will be beneficial for everyone as they “fuel their body” for optimal performance on the courts.

A key to the foods selected is to find high protein and very little sugar. Beware of many of the energy bars as they often contain lots of sugar. Natural sugars as found in fruit is a much preferred source of energy. Getting a good breakfast 2-3 hours before play allows you to digest and stomach cramps are avoided. Eggs are an excellent choice but keep things light and pack your bag with wholesome snacks to carry you through the day.

Limit caffeine as it dehydrates. Water alone is not enough and water with lemon is actually worse for you. Find a beverage low in sugar but with the electrolytes you need. Beverages by Jigsaw were a favorite by one of the pickleball experts. Often times at competitions there are snacks provided but the key is not to rely on others and have your own stash. Bananas, hard boiled eggs, nuts, grapes, and even watermelon has hydration values. Fine tuning your nutritional needs is not just encouraged on game day, but rather something started days ahead. Lastly, key to optimal performance is getting a good night’s sleep. This means eating dinner on the early side so you are able to fully digest before going to bed. If you are able to moderate diet, adequately hydrate, and sleep soundly, there’s a good chance your body is well “fueled” for the courts.

With regard to the subject of warm-ups, everyone agrees they are important but not many people take them as seriously as they should. Just simple dinking back and forth is not enough. More movement should be incorporated and cross court dinking is good to practice placement challenges. Volley hits are good for getting your reflexes warmed up and sideways slides helps your footwork. You can have your partner try to hit you progressively deeper shots while your return should continue to drop into the kitchen. Any movement that gives you the ability to stretch your muscles will help eliminate injuries and sore muscles. It is also important to stretch after playing the game as well.

Between good nutrition, thorough warm-ups, and important cool downs, you are doing all the right things to be in good shape for some great pickleball.

See you on the courts! Stay well to play well!


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