As a senior pickleball player, it’s important to be mindful of your body’s limitations and capabilities. Take the time to assess your joint mobility, injuries, and physical conditions to understand what you can and cannot do physically. Before playing, warm up with a brisk walk, stretching, arm circles, knee flexion exercises, and Achilles tendon stretches to prevent injuries and improve flexibility.

Don’t forget to hydrate and fuel yourself with electrolyte-rich drinks and snacks to maintain your energy levels. Finally, come prepared with essential gear such as a hat, visor, sunscreen, good court shoes, and a portable chair to rest in the shade between games. By prioritizing your physical well-being and comfort, you can optimize your performance and enjoy the game to its fullest.

Defending Lobs as a Senior Pickleball Player: Tips from Steve Paranto

Defending lobs can be challenging as a senior Pickleball player, but with the right techniques, you can improve your game and stay safe on the court. Paranto has been playing competitive Pickleball since 1974.  He is one of the first certified Pickleball instructors. He, a certified Pickleball instructor with over 40 years of experience, shares his expertise on how to defend lobs effectively.

These are excellent tips for playing safe and effective pickleball, especially focusing on preventing injuries and handling lobs. Here’s a breakdown of each tip:

  1. Backing Up to Defend the Lob: This can indeed be risky, particularly for seniors, as it increases the likelihood of falls or collisions. It’s crucial to be aware of your positioning and footwork to defend lobs effectively without compromising safety.
  2. Turn Sideways and Use a Throwing Motion: Turning sideways helps maintain balance and control when reacting to lobs. Using a throwing motion with your paddle arm, pointing your finger or elbow towards the ball, helps in directing your shot effectively.
  3. Quickly React to Short Dinks:  If you hit a short dink that is easy for your opponent to lob, quickly take a couple of steps back and get your paddle up so you can defend the lob.  Stay balanced!
  4. Target Placement When Your Opponent Lobs:  If your team is at the net, and your opponent is lobbing from their own baseline, do not try to hit a line, or a winner that goes out.  A good target is deep middle.
K-Swiss Men’s Express Light Pickleball Shoe
  1. Communication on Lobs: Early communication when a lob is hit is crucial. Decide who will take the shot immediately to avoid confusion or missed opportunities.
  2. Chasing Down a Lob: If you have to chase down a lob, maintain your balance by running with your head down initially. Use a curved path (“C” shape) to position yourself behind the ball as it bounces, giving you better options for your next shot.
  3. Adjusting Positioning Against Lobs: For senior players facing frequent lobs, consider playing slightly off the NVZ (kitchen) line rather than right up at it. This adjustment can provide more reaction time and reduce the risk of getting caught too close to the net.
  4. Preventing Lobs with Strategic Shots: To prevent opponents from lobbing, focus on hitting deep shots to their backhands. This strategy forces them to hit defensive shots rather than offensive lobs.