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Brooke Buckner returning a serve.
Brooke Buckner at the 2024 Pickleball Central Indoor USA Championships. PPA Tour

The best pickleball warmup routine

DALLAS, TX – Coaches generally have their athletes jog to get warmed up and ready for practice, and while pickleball might appear to be a little less demanding than other competitive sports, warming up is still super important.

Stretching, drilling, and serving are some of the most common ways players get primed to play the game they love.

Kyle Mobley shared his routine on the pickleball Facebook forum:

“100 forehand dinks, 100 backhand dinks, 50 alternating dinks. 100 forehands off a wall, 100 backhands, 100 alternating. 25 speed-up/reset forehand, 25 speed-up/reset backhand. 10 to 15 punch volleys off the wall to finish. Takes 10-12 minutes. I play my best pickleball when doing this prior to stepping on court.”

“This will be the only routine that actually works. Otherwise, you will throw away the first couple of games as you warm up. Never depend on the people on the other side of the net to warm you up,” added Mark Mclaugjlin, who approved of Mobley’s routine. 

Some people admitted that their routine was simply walking on the court and just starting to play. This takes some confidence, I’ll admit that. I don’t think that routine is for me, though, because I typically get the yips on my first couple of dinks and forget how to hit the ball.

Other people approach their warmups with some basic stretching.  

“Stretch calves, hamstrings, and quads, then dink and hit a few long shots,” said John Hulit. 

“Stretching, dinking, practice serves,” said Marti Martha Johnson. 

Serves are often a forgotten or disregarded part of warming up, but that shouldn't be the case. After all, the pros practice their serves before they play, so if it’s good enough for them, it’s good enough for me.

Ben Johns serving next to Collin Johns at Veolia Austin Open
Ben Johns serving during the men's doubles competition at the 2024 Veolia Austin Open. PPA Tour

“I stretch, do squats, lunges, touch my toes, then on the court practice some dinks, volleys, and full swings,” shard Paul Mancini.

Some routines can be as simple as Angela Murphy’s, “Dink, volley, drop shot, split step.” 

However, as Bill Wilson pointed out, don’t take too long warming up on the court. There’s a national pickleball court shortage, and you certainly don’t want to be a court hog. Warm up efficiently, stretch off court while you’re waiting for court availability, and get to playing.

Though Dan Kunz’s response of “Lions don’t warm up before they attack” certainly made me chuckle.

It’s all about finding the routine that works best for you. Listen to your body and adapt. What your doubles partner needs may not be precisely what you need, so seek out the perfect formula.

But don’t forget, you’re always better off stretching and warming up than not, so get to the court a little early, do your thing, and then get down to business.

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