Know your limits? Nah, set limits!
I see the same injuries among people trying pickleball for the first time:
1) Ruptured achilles caused by stretching to reach a ball – particularly a low ball – out of their reach.
2) Falling while trying to get to a ball … out of their reach.
3) Falling while backpedaling to reach a ball hit over their head and out of their reach.
There is a theme here – chasing balls Out of Reach.
It is futile to tell new players to “Know Your Limits” because they don’t know their limits or they base it on their fitness level at age 18.
Instead, I tell new players to Set Limits. The first time on the court, be conservative.
If the ball is over your head, let it go.
If the ball is farther than your arm, let it go.
If you have to take more than one step to get to the ball, let it go.
This might sound frustrating, especially to someone with an athletic background, but it is a safe way to test out a new sport without getting injured.
With each session on the pickleball court, the novice can set more ambitious limits, find their true reach and slowly expand it.