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Avoiding Fallbacks

In rollerskating, the number one injury is sprained or broken wrists. With the roller people, it happens mostly to beginners, generally in their first few times skating. In pickleball, we have a different, and more serious injury, which also happens mostly to beginners in their first few sessions.

If you are coaching pickleball, then the number one thing you have to watch out for in terms of safety is fallbacks. This is when a player runs backward in response to a lob, falls over his own feet, and crashes to the ground. When a person falls backward, it is difficult to brace for impact with the arms. That’s why people falling backward so often hit their heads on the ground. As a coach, I’m sure you want to avoid that. There are three things you can do:

1. Instruct all beginners on the dangers of running backward. Tell them to run in a C-pattern instead. They should be instructed to turn around, and run forward toward the back of the court, then continue to turn around so they are once again facing the net. They will actually arrive at the back of the court more quickly than running backward, and they’ll remain alive and uninjured. If you are running drills with your beginning and intermediate students, you might include a C-pattern drill.

2. If you are one of the players on the court, do not hit any lobs. Keep everything low for your beginners.

3. Make it ‘illegal,’ or instruct your beginning student to not hit lobs to their opponents.

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