Anyone who teaches pickleball to beginners, probably starts with a few safety tips. These little, seemingly common sense mentions cannot be overlooked or be given too much emphasis. They are probably the most important part of a new player’s first lesson.
Here’s a sampling of what a beginner should be taught, before even picking up a paddle:
- Always wear proper footwear. Any court shoe for tennis, volleyball or even basketball is best. These shoes have very flat soles with thin grooves for traction. They are made so that the athlete can move in any direction. Definitely discourage any type of running shoe or thicker tread hiking type shoes, as they are made for one directional performance – forward. Moving side to side in this type of shoe is a recipe for disaster, as the treads will grab the court surface, creating imbalance and ultimately causing a fall.
- Never run backwards. Back peddling more than a step (or even two) is unsafe. You could catch your heel, or entangle your legs, and you’ll be on your tailbone before you have time to think about it! Instead, turn and run towards the ball. If this isn’t easily done, let the ball go and say “good shot!”
- ALWAYS STOP PLAY when a ball from another court rolls onto or through your court. I don’t think I need to describe what will happen if you step on a ball!
- Know your limits and stay balanced. Speaking for myself, there are many shots that I might have been able to get to twenty years ago, or at least kept my balance trying for them. Now, I have to be realistic and recognize a shot that I just can’t get to, and again let it go with a “great shot!” compliment to my opponent!
Everyone wants to win the game, but
NO BALL IS WORTH THE FALL!
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