How to Play Pickleball Like a Pro!

What is pickleball?

Pickleball is a sport that combines different elements of tennis, badminton, and ping-pong. It can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton sized court with a slightly modified tennis net (it needs to be slightly lowered). It is played with a paddle and a small ball with holes in it. You can play in either doubles or singles (doubles are more common). This game can be enjoyed by all ages, with a multitude of skill levels and mobility ranges.

What are the rules/basics of pickleball?

The head of the paddle must not be above the highest part of the wrist at contact.

When serving:

  • The server’s arm must be moving in an upward arc when the ball is first struck, after that, when the paddle comes in contact with the ball, it must not be above waist height.
  • When serving, the servers’ feet must be outside of the court (not touching the court or the outside extension of the court ex. sidelines), at least one foot must be behind the baseline on the playing surface (see pictures below)
  • The serve also must go cross court to the opposing side
  • The serve will initially take place on the right of the court If a point is won upon a lone serve, the server and only the server, will move to the left side of the court and indicate that the serve will be taking place from there.
  • If the first server loses, then their partner serves until they lose and then the serve goes to the opposing team. Both players will have the opportunity to serve and score points until their team as two faults, then the serve will go to the opposing team (a fault is any action that stops the play because of a rule violation, a fault by the receiving team results in a point for the serving team, a fault by the serving team results in the server’s loss of serve)

When scoring:

  • Points are only scored by the team who is serving, games are typically played to 11 and win by 2.
  • When the serving teams score is even (0, 2, 4, 6, 8…) the first server of the game will be on the right side of the court when serving or receiving, but if the serving teams score is odd (1, 3, 5, 7…) the first server of the game will be on the left side of the court when serving or receiving.

Two-bounce rule:

  • When the ball is served, the receiving team must let it bounce before returning it.
  • After the ball has bounced once on each team’s court, both teams can either hit the ball before or after it bounces.

How to prevent injury while playing pickleball

According to The Center of Orthopedic and Neurosurgical Care and Research, the most common pickleball injuries are ankle sprains, Achilles Tendonitis, Hamstring and Quadriceps muscle strain, shoulder impingement, and wrist fracture  

Proper footwear:

Another way to prevent injury when playing pickleball is to wear proper shoes. You should wear shoes that provide balance and stability, as well as good traction.

  • The shoes you choose should be selected based on the surface you will be playing on (ex. indoor vs outdoor courts – indoor court more slippery)
  • Before stepping onto the pickleball court, you need to know and understand your limitations, do not push yourself past your physical abilities. You will become better the more you practice, do not over work yourself too early or it may limit your pickleball career.
  • In order to play at your best capacity, drink lots of water before and after matches, make sure that you are giving your body the proper nourishment of carbohydrates and protein, also, give your body the appropriate amount of rest in between matches.

Key aspects to include before, during and after your pickleball games:

  1. Warm up

It is crucial to warm up properly before engaging in a pickleball match. A good dynamic warm up should take place before playing, lasting approximately 5-10 minutes. For examples of dynamic warm-ups, view our running mechanics #1 blog post.

Starting with rally of some sort and stretching before hitting the court for a game is important. The main idea behind this is to get blood flowing to your muscles warming them up so they are less likely to be injured during play.

2. Practice

Some of the recommended training to prevent pickleball related injuries according to usapickleball.org is to stand and look as if you were hitting the ball overhead and take one step back, if you feel dizzy or off balance, you should try and do this drill without a ball until you no longer feel dizzy (see picture below).

Source: usapickleball.org

You should also warm up your knees before playing, practice twisting in a crouched position to improve stance and agility during your match (see picture below)

Source: usapickleball.org

Another stretch designed specifically for pickleball is a high knee lift with a twist. This warm-up helps to stretch your waist, shoulders, hips and it also works to improve your balance.

Source: usapickleball.org

3. Strength/ Balance and Flexibility Training

Since pickleball can be, at times, a rather quick game that requires fast movements and reaching, injuries will start to present themselves if proper care is not taken before, after and during. Ensuring that you incorporate a proper warm up before each game is essential loosen muscles and joints and increase blood flow to working muscles. In addition to warming up, incorporating strength and flexibility training in between pickleball games is a great way to strength bones, ligaments and muscles to prevent injury.

Furthermore, it is important to make sure that you have good balance before stepping onto the pickleball court. Adequate balance helps to prevent falls or hyperextensions that could result in sprained ankles, tears or pulls of joints, as well as potential concussions or wrist fractures.

Strength exercise examples:

Balance exercise examples:

The health and social benefits of pickleball

Pickleball is an activity that can be enjoyed by everyone, independent of age.

It is a great way to help you meet the Canadian Physical Activity guidelines of 150 minutes of moderate intensity physical activity. Furthermore, pickleball can increase your cardiorespiratory fitness (CRF). CRF is an important marker for health as it reflects the ability of the respiratory and circulatory system to supply oxygen to working muscles during physical activity. Thus, low CRF (inefficiency or low capacity to supply oxygen to muscles) can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease events and all-cause mortality.

As with many forms of physical activity, pickleball offers improvements in mental health, incorporates social engagement and increases overall physical wellbeing. Pickleball is a fun and engaging game that will make physical activity easy to accomplish without having to do, what some may consider, boring exercises alone.

Benefits of pickle ball for Older adults

Pickleball tends to be a great sport for the older population to partake in. Pickleball is a great option for older adults who are looking to become more physically active as it’s an activity that is low impact. Pickleball is also a great way to increase agility and balance. Balance issues are prevalent among older adults and account for most injuries related to falls that can be devastating. Therefore, incorporating low impact activities that work on balance, such as pickleball, can offer peace of mind to older adults who may have a fear of falling.

Below is a list of additional benefits pickleball (and physical activity in general) can offer:

Have you recently played a game and just aren’t feel “right” on the court?

The physiotherapy team at the Right Move can help! Whether you are looking for strength, balancing and flexibility exercises to incorporate into your exercise routine in between games, or have an injury that is causing pain while playing, physiotherapy is right for you.


There are many modalities that the team can walk you through to ensure you are able to play in top shape for you pickleball games.

If you have any questions regarding pickleball and physiotherapy, please each out via email (admin@rightmovept.com) or phone (613 384 3222) and we would be happy to answer them!

Where to find pickleball in Kingston

Are you unsure where you can play pickleball in Kingston? Head on over to kingstonpickleball.com or ontariopickleball.com to learn more.

Cycling Mechanics

Proper Bike Fit

Proper frame size

The best way to ensure a bike fits you properly is to stand over the frame and see if there is about 2.5-5cm or 1-2 inches of clearance between the bike frame’s top tube and your groin. The graphic below outlines the various parts of a bike frame.

Additionally, this table is a good reference when picking the right bike frame for your height.

Adjusting the seat’s fore/aft position

For the majority of people, the seat position should be kept level, however, some may find it more comfortable with the nose of the seat angled slightly downwards.

The KOPS Method

Knee Over Pedal Spindle or KOPS is a method used to obtain the perfect bike fit. This method starts with sitting on the bike on a level surface with your foot in the 3 o’clock position on the pedal.

Once in this position, dangle a string with a small weight on the end from just below your knee cap. The string should hang in the middle of the pedal (see picture below as a reference). If this is not the case, adjust the seat forward or backwards until it does settle in the middle.

Setting the handlebar height

Generally, the height of your handlebars should be above the height of your seat for a more upright riding position which will allow for more comfort during your ride. However, the handlebars can also be positioned below the height of the seat for a more aerodynamic forward-leaning performance position.

Pedalling dynamics

Regardless of cycling discipline, all cyclists can reap benefits from improving their pedal stroke. These benefits include injury prevention and improved efficiency and economy. To maximize pedalling economy, cyclists should focus on pedalling in “circles,” not “squares.” This may seem intuitive because the cranks move in a circular motion; however, power is not generated equally through the pedal stroke. Let’s break down the pedal stroke into two simple phases and strategies to improve it.

Phase 1: Power phase

The vast majority of the power is generated from the 12 o’clock to 6 o’clock position, mainly by the hip extensors (glutei) and the knee extensors (quadriceps). Focusing only on the power phase of the pedal stroke will result in a “mashing” or “square” style pedal stroke that is less efficient, less economical and may prematurely fatigue the quads and glutes. There is also activity of the hamstrings during this phase, as they help extend the hip, albeit to a much lower extent than the glutes. Interestingly, during the power phase of the pedal stroke, the calf muscles (ankle plantar flexors) are active but would not be considered significant power-generating muscles. Instead, their role is to contract isometrically to create a rigid lever for the foot to transfer force to the pedal.

Phase 2: Recovery phase

The recovery phase occurs from 6 – 12 o’clock positions. During this phase of the pedal stroke, our knee flexor (hamstrings), ankle dorsiflexors (tibialis anterior) and, to a small extent, hip flexors are active (but not power generating) to ensure a smooth transition back to the beginning of the 12 o’clock power phase.

More serious cyclist will often have special cycling shoes with cleats on the bottom of the sole that locks the cyclist’s foot in place on the pedal. The advantage to cleated cycling shoes is that it allows for a greater transfer of force from the foot to the pedal. However, with their foot firmly secured to the pedal, many cleated cyclists believe that they can and should actively generate power on the upward pull stroke of the recovery phase (6-12 o’clock). Unless you are a track cyclist or quickly accelerating on a breakaway, this upward pull, or “negative toque,” is an ineffective pedalling technique.

We must remember that if one leg is starting the recovery phase of the pedal stroke, the other leg is starting the power phase. The power generated by the opposite glutei and quads overwhelms any collective power contribution of the hamstrings, tib ant, and hip flexors. Therefore, the best strategy is to actively utilize the recovery muscles to “get out of the way” and unload the pedal to facilitate the crank getting back to the top of the pedal stroke.

How can I incorporate this information to improve my pedalling?

Pedalling at a relatively high cadence (+90 rpm) makes it challenging to modify the stroke “online.” Therefore, it is helpful to anticipate the two areas of transition between the two phases, the top and bottom of the pedal stroke, and initiate their respective actions early. Think about “kicking” your leg outwards at the top of the pedal stroke and “pulling the heel backwards” at the bottom of the stroke. These simple tricks will ensure that you engage the appropriate muscle groups correctly and facilitate the “pedalling in smooth circles” goal. Another simple on-bike pedalling drill is to ride in a lower than comfortable gear (easy gear) and pedal at a cadence that is 10-15 rpm higher than you usually would. While doing so, your pelvis should remain firmly in contact with the saddle and not bouncing around or listing to one side. Please keep in mind that improving your pedal stroke will not occur overnight. It will take time for your central nervous system, proprioceptors, and muscles to adapt.

Fueling for your ride

Proper fueling is fundamental to any exercise, especially regarding high intensity exercise, endurance, or competitive racing. Ensuring your muscles have adequate energy supplies to complete the given exercise task will ultimately help you prolong time to exhaustion and fatigue while also enhancing performance.

Why is it important to fuel for my ride and what does this mean?

The body has various forms of stores of fuel and substrates to acquire the needed ATP for muscular energy. The two main energy sources in aerobic exercise primarily comes from the oxidation of carbohydrates (glycogen) as endogenous substrates from the liver and muscle in the form of glucose and exogenous sources of readily available carbs acquired through varying forms of gels, liquids and solid food, as well as the oxidation of fats (triglycerides) from adipose tissue in the form of free fatty acids.

For the most part, carbohydrates are the primary energy source for high intensity exercise, while fats are the primary energy source of endurance exercise. However, during prolonged, intense exercise such as that in competitive/distance cycling, energy production becomes highly dependent on carbohydrate-based fuels. 

Our bodies have a limited storage of glycogen. As reported by Hawley and Leckey (2015), during prolonged strenuous exercise (greater than 60% VO2max), such as cycling, muscle and liver glycogen stores deplete, dropping blood glucose levels to the point of fatigue. Fatigue will begin to occur at around 70% VO2 max as a result of inadequate carbohydrate energy if in a fasted state. This can lead to hypoglycemic symptoms (i.e., dizziness, confusion, shaking and reduced motor drive) that will ultimately impair performance.

When and how should I be fueling for my ride?

Fueling for rides will look different depending on intensity, duration and frequency. Below is an outline that will include casual cycling and competitive/distance cycling (70km +) fueling.

Casual riding

For casual cycling, proper fueling is still important but is not as tedious as competitive/distance riding. Fueling for casual cycling will incorporate a well-balanced diet consisting of proper carbohydrate, fat, and protein ratios.

A good rule of thumb for daily carbohydrate intake of ~ 45-65% of total calorie intake or ~130g and protein intake of 10-35% of total calories or ~0.8-1g/kg/day to allow for optimal energy levels during any given exercise routine and modality.

Competitive and distance riding

As mentioned previously, due to the finite stores of liver and muscle glycogen in the body, carbohydrate-based energy becomes imperative in distance/competitive cycling which requires more energy for longer periods of time. Thus, we require exogenous sources of carbohydrates before and during exercise to prolong performance by decreasing the drop in blood glucose that would lead to hypoglycemic conditions and fatigue

Pre- ride- sufficient glycogen stores support blood glucose homeostasis

Incorporating a carbohydrate loading regimen is essential to ensure adequate starting glycogen stores are available to fuel your rides to prevent a drop in blood glucose levels and prolong time to exhaustion.

Pre-loading muscle glycogen concentrations in a 1-day carb loading regime (~10g CHO/kg) prior to competitive or distance cycling is sufficient in increasing starting muscle glycogen content.

Furthermore, the ACSM highlights that athletes should be consuming 1-1.4 g/kg carbohydrates every 1-4 hours leading the event.

During – CHO feeding during improves time to fatigue

Glycogen sparing is a term that is used to refer to sparing of liver glycogen stores to prevent glycogen depletion for as long as possible and thus, avoiding exhaustion. Glycogen sparing allows for energy to be available during the later phases of exercise. Glycogen sparing is acquired when exogenous sources (carbohydrates ingested via liquids or foods) of carbohydrates are consumed to maintain adequate blood glucose levels to sustain the high rate of carbohydrate oxidation needed to maintain performance.  Consuming multiple transportable carbohydrates (ex. glucose, fructose) in a variety of forms (i.e., carbohydrate mouth wash, gels, liquids, solid food) in the later phases of your ride will encourage glycogen sparing and prolong time to exhaustion.

Below is a general guideline for exogenous carb consumption for various durations of cycling:

During Brief riding (>45 minutes or 20-30 km): CHO not needed

During endurance exercise (1-2.5 hours or ~50 km): 30-60g of CHO mostly liquid form

During ultra endurance (>2.5-3 hours or >75km): up to 90g of CHO gels, or liquid

There are different forms of carbohydrates that can be consumed:

The best combination of carbohydrates to improve time during performance is glucose-fructose (sucrose) ingestion as it has the least symptoms of gastrointestinal discomfort as compared to glucose sources. Sucrose can be in the form of drinks, gels and solid food. Drinks and gels are more readily available and easier to consume while riding.

Post ride

Post ride fueling is just as important as pre and during fueling. Consumption of a variety of carbohydrates post exercise is essential to maximize muscle glycogen resynthesis that will allow for adequate restoration of muscle glycogen concentration. For adequate restoration to occur, our bodies need approximately 24-48 hours for repletion.

Refueling after a ride will include 1-1.2g/kg/hr of CHO for the first 4 hours post exercise followed by a return to normal daily fueling regime. This will allow for proper replenishment of glycogen stores and recovery.

Furthermore, protein ingestion post exercise is also important to help repair damaged tissues. For adequate muscle protein synthesis, ~0.24g/kg of protein sources would suffice.

Muscular Balance

Incorporating strength training between rides is a beneficial way to increase your cycling efficiency, improve recovery time and decrease risk of pain and injury. Improving muscular strength, especially in the lower body, is beneficial to increase neuromuscular coordination. Improved neuromuscular coordination of your legs will in turn improve the power phase of the pedal stroke.

Furthermore, exercises that emphasize unilateral movements (single limb movement) such as the single leg deadlift highlighted below increase stability, fixes asymmetries of the lower body and increases muscular balance and coordination to optimize pedal stroke efficiency.

Below are a few movements to incorporate into a strength training routine in addition to your cycling workouts.

Single leg deadlift

  • Builds strength in your hamstrings. Optimal hamstring strength is important for cyclists to consider due to the repetitive nature of the sport. The constant flexion and extension of the knee joint could result in strains, sprains or tears if muscular strength and flexibility are not adequate. Furthermore, the single leg deadlift challenges balance, which is key a factor for cyclists to have, while also emphasizing core engagement.
  • To perform this move, start with your feet hip width apart. While ensuring you keep your hips square, bend at your knee on one leg slightly while leaning forward until your torso is parallel with the floor and your other leg extends straight behind you. Return to the starting position. Perform this movement in a slow and controlled manner.
  • For added challenge, you can perform this move with a kettle bell as shown to further enhance balance and core activation.
  • Complete 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps on each leg

Squats

  • The major driving muscles during the power phase of a pedalling stoke for cyclists are your glute muscles as well as your quadriceps. The squat is a great compound movement to engage both of these muscles to allow for optimal efficiency and reduce the risk of injury during cycling.
  • Start this movement with your feet hip width apart, toes slightly pointed outwards. Brace your core as you begin to lower down until your thighs are parallel with the ground. Return to the starting position.
  • The squat can be performed in a variety of ways which include body weight, using dumbbells or a kettlebell, or using a barbell.

Calf raises

  • The calf muscles are also another significant muscle that contributes to pedal stroke during the power phase.
  • You can do this movement either on a plat form or on the ground, with or without weights.

If you are experiencing any pain while cycling and would like to speak with one of our physiotherapists to locate the source of the problem, please don’t hesitate to reach out via email (admin@rightmovept.com) or phone (613 384 3222).

Running Mechanics Part 2

How to Improve Your Running Efficiency

Running Gear

It is important to ensure that you have a sturdy pair of running shoes that fit not only your feet but are appropriate for the terrain that you are running on. For treadmill running and road running, wearing a pair of durable running shoes with comfortable heal support is a good place to start. For track running and sprint training, spikes or more curved sole running shoes might be better. For trail running, a sturdy pair of running shoes with more grip and groves on the bottom for added support and stability may be needed. Asics recommends that your running shoes are replaced every 724-885 kilometers. Asics also suggest that if your running shoes don’t have any signs of excessive wear or use, you may be able to wear them slightly longer than the recommended usage without injury.

Furthermore, it is important to take into account the weather before you set out on an outdoor run. Proper attire is essential to avoid over heating or becoming too cold. Ultimately, clothing should offer sun protection, have moisture wicking and quick drying material, and proper insulation/air flow depending on weather. Clothing as such will help keep your body cool and ensure optimal comfort as your internal body temperature increases during the run.

  • Warm weather: clothing should help wick away sweat, quick drying, cooling and provide sun protection
  • Cool weather: layers that still optimize air flow , gloves, hear protection.

Sun protection is also another key aspect to take into account when running outdoors. Ultraviolet Protection Factor (UPF) apparel offers UV (ultraviolet)A and UVB ray protection and is beneficial for outdoor runs on sunny days. The higher the UPF rating the greater the protection from UVA and UVA B.

Below is a link to an article outlining everything you need to know about sun and UV protection when exercising outdoors:

Proper Running Form

To improve your run and ensure that the strides you are putting into your exercise are the most beneficial to your efforts, there are a couple different tips to take into consideration:

  1. Make sure that you are staying hydrated before, during and after your exercise. This helps to limit cramping and quicken the healing process after your workout.
  2. Be prepared and ensure that you are in proper running gear and are prepared for not only the terrain in which you are running on, but also for the climate you will be exercising in.
  3. Do not do too much too quickly. Plan ahead for your workout and have a progressive running plan.
  4. Check your posture throughout your run, make sure that your hands and shoulders are relaxed, your hands are resting comfortably at your waist, your strides are at a comfortable distance for you and that you are not landing too hard upon impact.

Below is an infographic from shape.com that highlights six check points for running posture and form. The following link is to the shape.com article for further information: https://www.shape.com/fitness/cardio/proper-running-form

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Strength Training for Runners

Incorporating strength training between runs is a beneficial way to increase your running efficiency, improve recovery time and decrease risk of injury or pain. Strength training will help maximize your leg power when running up hills or during higher intensity running. Furthermore, improving muscular strength is a great way to increase neuromuscular coordination which will in turn improve stride efficiency allowing you to run faster and further with minimal risk of injury.

Below are a couple options to incorporate into a strength training workout in addition to your running routine

1. Balance and coordination

Unilateral movement such as split squats or lunges increase stability, fixes any asymmetries in the lower body and increase muscular balance and coordination to improve joint stability and optimize stride efficiency.

a. Split squat – begin with one foot resting on a bench and slowly lower down. Hold briefly, then push through powerfully to return to the start position. This move can be done with body weight or weighted with dumbbells or kettlebells for added challenge. Perform this movement for 1-3 sets of 1-10 reps per leg. Progress to 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps per leg.

b. Lunge – begin standing with feet hip width apart and take a big step forward with your right leg while shifting your weight to this leg so your heel strikes the floor first. Lower your body down until your thigh is parallel with the floor. Drive your right leg backwards to return to the starting position. Repeat on on each side for 1-3 sets of 1-10 reps. Progress to 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps. For added challenge you can hold dumbbells in your hands.

During each of these movements, be aware of your breathing pattern to ensure you aren’t hold your breath. Breathe in as you lower yourself down in each of the split squat and lunge and exhale out as you drive yourself back up to the starting position.

2. Explosive power

Movements that focus on explosive power in your lower body are key to optimal running speed and efficiency of muscle fibre recruitment to enhance running performance.

a. Kettlebell Swing – beginning in a squat stance with the kettlebell between your legs, force your hips forward to drive the kettlebell to swing upwards to around eye level in controlled manner . At the top of the movement, squeeze your glutes holding this position briefly and begin to swing the kettlebell back down to a squat position in a slow and controlled manner by engaging your core. Perform this movement for 1-3 sets of 1-10 reps. Progress to 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

3. Core and upper body

Core strength is essential to ensure stability of your torso and prevent unwanted side to side movement while you are running. A weak core puts strain on other parts of your body such as your lower back and knees which can put you at risk for injury.

a. Plank – brace your core to maintain keep a flat back. You can perform this on your knees or an easier variation, on your feet and forearms or feet and hands for added challenge. Hold for 30-60 seconds and perform 2-3 sets. For added challenge, place a weighted plate on your back.

b. Walkouts – standing with you feet hip width part, bend over and place your hands on the floor. Walk your hands out until you reach a plank position. While bracing your core, hold in the plank position for briefly before walking your hands back to the starting position. Perform this movement for 1-3 sets of 1-10 reps. Progress to 2-3 sets of 8-12 reps.

If you are just starting out with strength training, begin with 1-3 sets of 1-10 reps 1-2 times a week. As you begin to increase your strength and ability to do each exercise, progress to 2-5 sets of 8-12 reps 2-3 times a week to optimize muscular strength and hypertrophy.

Orthotics and Bracing

Orthotics for Running

The right move now offers Footmaxx custom orthotic solutions. During an orthotics assessment we carefully evaluate a patients postural alignment, motor control, functional movements and investigate any pain being experienced. This is exceptionally useful for patients who participate in long term distance running. The use of orthotics helps to correct the patient’s posture and gait patterns. Footmaxx uses a pressure map gait scanner that provides us with instantaneous representation of weight distribution, pressure points and centre of pressure. In running practices, this ensures that the clients landing while running is not causing distress to joints’ or uneven weight distribution upon running impact.

For more information on orthotics, go to our services tab and select orthotics.

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Bracing for Running

Alongside the Footmaxx orthotics, the right move will now be offering BREG bracing. Bracing offers many benefits, such as enhanced structural support, this will provide further protection to athletes from injury and allow them to continue engaging in sport. This will be highly beneficial for running athletes, the custom brace will provide structural support for joints upon impact. Bracing can also provide pain-relief for our clients, it can alleviate joint pain and stress associated with osteoarthritis.

Further information associated with BERG bracing can be found under, our services- bracing.

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For more information regarding orthotics and bracing or to book an appointment with Ian Gilchrist for this service, please reach out via email at admin@rightmovept.com or by phone (613) 384 3222.