When the weather gets rough, it’s best to take the pickleball indoors.
For some, “rough” means anything short of perfect.
But if you’re willing to put in a little preparation, you’ll realize playing in the cold can be delightful.
Here are a few tips for making the most of the weather. As a bonus, once you’re comfortable in fair weather conditions, you’ll have more opportunities to play, which adds up at the end of the year.
Dress In Layers
Sometimes the oldest advice is the best advice. For example, we’ve all been told to dress in layers in wintery conditions. But the court is another excellent opportunity for layers.
Layers provide the immediate benefit of warmth and protection when it’s cold and raining.
As you play, you’re probably going to warm up. Without layers, you either have to suffer through, stop playing, or stop and change.
But when you’re dressed in layers, it takes a few seconds to adjust, and you’re ready to play comfortably.
Shoes and Socks
A good life tip is to invest extra in the stuff that separates you from the ground. Mattress. Car tires. And shoes.
Footwear is always important for racquet and paddlesports, but we need to care even more when it’s cold.
An extra thick layer of socks can help keep your feet warm, but if they’re not designed to wick away moisture, you’ll have a whole different problem.
If you’re unable to invest in active footwear with moisture protection, just bring two sets of everything.
Halfway through your match, take a small break and change out your socks and shoes. This can keep you on the court with just the gear you already have.
Sunscreen and Hats
Just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the sun isn’t shining.
Winter campers and hikers will tell you that sunscreen is just as important during winter as any other season.
Outdoor courts won’t come with a lot of protection from the sun, so you need to do it yourself.
Remember this when you’re using layers. For example, if you take off a long-sleeved shirt, your arms are now exposed and need protection.
When playing in the cold and wind, you may find yourself less likely to reach for the water bottle.
But hydration is always important when you’re playing, and it doesn’t change just because the weather is cooler.
When you’re warm, a part of you always knows to drink. But that voice can go away in the cold until we’re dehydrated.
Know When to Quit
Fatigue and exhaustion can feel different in the cold, especially if you’re not used to it.
And, once you’re out on the court, worsening weather can seem like not a big deal. After all, if you put in all this effort to get to the court, it’d be a shame to leave early.
But, these are reasons we should call it quits sooner than later. Of course, it can be frustrating to only get half a game in, but that’s nothing compared to how much time you’d miss if you pushed yourself too hard.
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What you do after the match can directly impact whether you enjoyed yourself or not!
This is when it’s worth considering what you want and need.
Here are a few simple ways to make your after match experience just that much better:
- Bring a warm drink stored in a thermos
- Spend a few extra minutes stretching out
- Drink extra water – just because you’re done playing doesn’t mean you’re done hydrating
- Prepare yourself a healthy after-game meal
With these six tips, you’ll be equipped to play pickleball even as the weather is less than ideal.
Have fun and take care of yourself out there!
Kalindi Dinoffer is trained in multiple aspects of mindfulness in life and in sports, sharing on her blog MindfulKalindi.com. She is also certified to teach yoga, fitness, reiki, and MFR. Kalindi also serves as VP marketing at OnCourtOffCourt.com, a leading supplier of tennis, pickleball, fitness and yoga training aids and equipment and has been published in Tennis industry Magazine and Pickleball Magazine, and has conducted workshops at conferences around the world. In her spare time, Kalindi plays tennis, pickleball and table tennis and enjoys outdoor activities such as hiking and biking and cross country skiing in the winter.