Whether it’s tennis, pickleball, or racquetball, any court game can get your heart racing with its quick-paced action. You may want to improve your performance to enjoy the exercise even more. Learning how to get into shape and improve your agility on the court goes a long way toward reaching the top of the mountain.
High knees are a common exercise you’ll see from NFL running backs before they hit the gridiron, so you may never have considered them for the court. However, engaging in this activity will make you more of an agile force.
Start by standing upright and elevating your knees to your hip while the opposite arm moves forward. As you progress through each rep, keeping good form is integral. Otherwise, you won’t strengthen your core and back muscles.
It may seem awkward initially, but it’ll become more natural as you warm up. Ideally, high knees will help you explode toward the ball, allowing you to cover more of the court than you ever have.
There’s no official name for this pre-match routine, so we’ll call it by what it looks like—butt kicks. You may have done something like this exercise before, but now you know it provide benefits.
Butt kicks are essentially the inverse of high knees, as you lift your legs as high as possible, with the goal of kicking your behind. Your quads and hip flexors will appreciate you focusing on them before your match, especially if you’re in it for the long haul.
Skipping is one of the most effective things you can do to bolster your agility. Skipping makes you light on your feet while moving quickly. This is paramount in any tennis, pickleball, or racquetball game. It can be a more enjoyable cardio activity than running, so consider skipping next time you want to become more agile and improve your endurance.
Any court contest necessitates quick feet. Otherwise, you’ll be on the losing end more than you want. A quick feet drill is another common one you’ll see from NFL players. You’ll want to try to alternate your feet with small, hasty movements. It’s perfectly fine to do this in a vertical line, although switching directions does wonders.
Backpedaling and Lat Shuffles
You can combine these two classics if you want to warm up properly. Lateral movement is critical in any court game. You’ll want to warm up for pickleball by incorporating a lateral shuffle. Since the court is smaller, you can leave minimal points of attack for your opponent when you’re so nimble.
Once you reach the sideline of your lateral shuffle, you can try backpedaling and keep repeating the process. Backpedaling is more prevalent in tennis because it uses a longer court. Still, it’s a good skill in any sport.
Incorporating these exercises in your warm-up routine is the first step in getting into shape and improving your agility on the court. By doing so, you’ll experience less huffing and puffing with your hands on your knees and more fist pumps after emerging victorious.