Top Tips for Summer Pickleball: Enjoy the Game Safely and Effectively

Pickleball, the fastest-growing sport in the U.S., is a favorite warm-weather and summer activity for many. Playing pickleball in the spring or summer can be immensely enjoyable, but the hot weather also presents challenges such as dehydration and heat exhaustion.

Whether you’re a seasoned player or just picking up a paddle, here are some essential tips to help you enjoy summer pickleball safely and effectively.

1. Stay Hydrated

Hydration is key when playing any sport in the summer, but especially so in pickleball where games can extend for long periods. Because pickleball is so fun and oftentimes, casual, players can forget how long they've been playing and this can lead to dangerous health issues.

Always bring a water bottle to the court and take regular sips throughout the game, even if you don't feel thirsty. Electrolyte-enhanced drinks can also be beneficial to replace salts lost through sweating. Pick up some sports drink, Liquid I.V. or other beverages to ensure you're hydrating effectively when it's hot out and you're sweating.

2. Wear Appropriate Clothing

Choose light-colored, breathable, and moisture-wicking clothing to help keep your body cool and dry. A hat and UV-protective sunglasses are also crucial to protect your head and eyes from the sun. Don’t forget to apply a broad-spectrum sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, and reapply every two hours, or more often if you’re sweating heavily.

3. Play During Cooler Parts of the Day

Avoid playing during the peak heat hours between 10 AM and 4 PM. Early morning or late afternoon are ideal times for summer pickleball. Not only is it cooler, but the sun's intensity is also less, reducing the risk of heatstroke. Check your local courts to see if they have night lights, as playing after dark under the court lights can be super fun!

4. Use the Right Equipment

Summer conditions can affect both players and their equipment. Balls specifically designed for outdoor use are better suited to handle the warmer and often windier conditions. Also, ensure your paddle grip is absorbent enough to handle increased sweat, or consider using grip tape or gloves to improve handle traction.

5. Adjust Your Playing Style

The heat can drain your energy more quickly than cooler conditions. Consider adopting a more strategic playing style that conserves energy. Focus on placing your shots accurately rather than relying on power. This can help you manage your stamina better throughout the game.

6. Take Regular Breaks

Give yourself time to rest between games or even during games if necessary. Use these breaks to hydrate, find some shade, and check in with how your body is feeling. Listening to your body is key to preventing overexertion. If you're wearing a fitness device, check in to make sure your heartrate is at a comfortable level at all times.

7. Be Mindful of Symptoms of Heat-Related Illnesses

Know the signs of heat exhaustion and heatstroke—such as excessive sweating, dizziness, nausea, and headache. If you or anyone else exhibits these symptoms, it’s important to stop playing immediately, seek shade, and hydrate. If symptoms are severe, seek medical attention.

8. Socialize and Have Fun

Summer pickleball is a fantastic opportunity to socialize and enjoy outdoor activities. Participate in local pickleball events or leagues to meet new people and improve your skills. Many parks and recreation organizations or cities will have tournaments or events throughout the summer. Remember, the spirit of pickleball is as much about community and fun as it is about competition, so hydrate and get out there this year.

Beat the Heat

Playing pickleball in the summer is a fantastic way to keep fit, enjoy the outdoors, and meet new people. By following these tips, you can play safely and enjoyably throughout the hot months. Stay cool, stay hydrated, and keep swinging that paddle!

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