How to optimize your pickleball game

At Performance Optimal Health, we want to serve as a resource​ and share with you simple, tangible steps you can implement​ to empower you to live better and play more pickleball.

February 10, 2024 | Larry Piretra, DPT, CSCS


Top exercises for pickleball athletes

  • Dynamic warm-ups
    • Butterfly skips
    • Walking quad
    • Hamstring/calf reach
    • Walking lunges
    • High knees
    • SL kicks (Frankensteins)
  • Resistance training
    • Pushups (chest, triceps)
    • Rowing (back strengthening)
    • Internal/external rotation w/bands or weights (shoulder stabilization)
    • Lunges and squats (glute and hamstring activation)
    • Planks/bridges - w/ or w/out bands (core stability)
    • Wrist curls/extension (strength and stability in wrist)

Recommended recovery strategies

  • Stretching post matches
    • Sets: 3-5 reps; duration: 30-60 sec
    • Muscle groups: hamstrings, calves (Gastrocnemius/Soleus), quadriceps, wrist flexors/extensors, latissimus dorsi
  • Modalities
    • Normatec compression therapy reduces inflammation, improves circulation, flushing of lactic acid, promotes lymphatic drainage
    • Sauna reduces of muscle soreness, improves heart health, stress modulation, improves sleep
    • Cryotherapy reduces pain (reduces delayed onset muscle soreness), promotes recovery, improves metabolic panel, endorphin rush

Staying hydrated

  • Risks of dehydration
    • Can have a negative impact on performance, leading to cramping, fatigue, and a decrease in overall performance
  • How to stay hydrated
    • Drink plenty of water pre, during and post-match
      • Pre: 17-20 oz (2-3 hours before)
      • Warm-up: 8 oz
      • During 7-10 oz (every 10-20 minutes)
      • After: 8 oz within 30 min of playing, 20 oz over the next 2 hours
    • Incorporate electrolyte-rich drinks, which replenish the body's mineral levels, ensuring optimal muscle function and hydration

Healthy Carbohydrates

  • Carbs like quinoa, sweet potatoes, or whole grain pasta, replenish glycogen stores and enhance muscle recovery further.


  • Protein plays a pivotal role in repairing damaged muscle tissues and promoting muscle growth.
  • Including a protein source in your post-game meal or snack can help kickstart the recovery process.


  • Fats such as avocados, nuts, and olive oil, provide essential fatty acids that support joint health and reduce inflammation.
  • Healthy fats improve performance and decrease injury risk.


  • These food groups replenish micronutrients and antioxidants that support overall health.

Larry Piretra

Larry Piretra

Larry Piretra, PT, DPT, OCS, CSCS, TPI-M2, is a physical therapist and strength and conditioning specialist who serves as the Naples Site Lead. He specializes in working with racquet sport athletes, including pickleball, tennis, padel and more. As a Titleist Medical and Fitness Professional, Larry also serves as the Golf Programming Lead for Performance.

Meet Larry