Pickleball players require a high level of all-round fitness. Players need a very good level of speed, agility and endurance. Great speed and agility around the court categorize champion pickleball players. Polls on this site have also confirmed that speed and agility are considered very important attributes for success in pickleball performance.
Aerobic (endurance) fitness is also very important for Pickleball players for maintaining the playing intensity throughout long games, matches and tournaments. Other fitness components also important for pickleball are anaerobic capacity (repeat sprint ability), power and flexibility.
Pickleball Fitness Training
Regular training is required for all areas of fitness. An effective training program starts with a good plan. The training should be directed to achieve specific goals and be individualized to address the strengths and weaknesses of the player. In order to improve, the physical load needs to be increased over time as they player get fitter. By using cross training and by incorporating fitness into the training drills it will keep it interesting and maintain the motivation. Read more information about training for sports.
Sample Fitness Session
Here's a 30-minute fitness training session designed for pickleball players that can be performed on the court requiring no extra equipment. This session aims to enhance agility, strength, endurance, and flexibility—key components for optimal performance in pickleball. Feel free to adjust the exercises, the intensity or duration of each exercise based on your individual fitness levels. Gradually increase the intensity as you progress in fitness.
Warm-up (5 minutes):
Warm-up by jogging around the court perimeter, otehrwise some skipping or running on the spot. Follow this with some stretching and loosening up exercises: arm circles, leg swings, and dynamic stretches (arm crossovers, leg kicks) to prepare muscles for exercise.
Agility and Footwork Drills (8 minutes):
- Side shuffle across the baseline, focusing on quick lateral movements.
- Cone drill: Set up cones in a zigzag pattern and shuffle between them, mimicking quick directional changes on the court.
Strength and Stability (10 minutes):
- Bodyweight squats: Perform 3 sets of 15 reps, focusing on proper form and controlled movements.
- Plank variations: Hold a plank for 30 seconds, then transition to side planks (15 seconds each side) to build core strength and stability.
- Lunges: Do walking lunges across the court, alternating legs, for 2 sets.
Cardio and Endurance (5 minutes):
- Interval sprints: Sprint from baseline to the net and back, repeating for 3 sets with 30 seconds rest between sets.
- High knees and butt kicks: Perform these exercises in place for 1 minute each to elevate heart rate.
Cool-down and Stretching (2 minutes):
- Slow jogging or walking around the court to gradually lower heart rate.
- Static stretches for major muscle groups used in pickleball (legs, arms, shoulders, and back) to improve flexibility and aid in recovery.
Are you getting better? Fitness assessment can be used to determine the fitness level of pickleball players at the start of a training period, and to monitor changes in fitness in response to the training. See our article about Fitness Testing for Pickleball.
- Which Factors Make Successful Pickleball Players?
- The component of fitness most important for success in pickleball?
- Fitness Testing for Pickleball
- Energy Expenditure for Pickleball - depends on the intensity level, game duration and your body weight.
- Pickleball Basic Rules
- Pickleball - difference from Tennis
- Calculating Energy Expenditure
- Pickleball Main Page