Pickleball elbow

Author: Jennifer Lucore

Julia from Grand Prairie, TX asks: "What is happening when you get elbow problems? I did change my paddle... most of the players at my club are also having this problem."

Elbow problems are no fun! The one thing to check right away is the weight of your paddle. Many times a player has a paddle that is too heavy. Each person is different on what their best weight is but as a rule of thumb in the beginning I always suggest a weight close to 7.5 ounces. Try out a few paddles: one at 7.5 and then compare that to say 7.1 ounces. How does that feel? Can you still create the power needed to get your groundstroke deep in the court? Also try different makes of paddles. There are a large selection of paddles with varying materials, each giving a player a different feel on the ball.  For example, even though I know what my favorite weight is, that weight on different branded paddles gives me different feels on the ball and my arm. I've also had similar issues with a few paddles out there that generate either a dead feel or vibration that radiates up my arm.

Second, check the size and your grip on the paddle. A grip that's too large or too small may force you to hold onto it to tightly, which puts stress on your tendons. How you grip the paddle can have similar consequences. To master a proper grip, hold the handle as if you were giving it a light handshake  leaving  a finger's width of space between your fingertips and palm.

Lastly, your stroke technique may be a contributor to the problem. A stroke that stops mid-swing, relies too heavily on forearm muscles or is too "wristy" upon impact can all lead to pain.

Give these a try incrementally to identify the cause of your pain so you can increase your enjoyment of this great game; hopefully one or a combination will help!

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