Just how long should you play pickleball? You can’t seem to get enough of the fastest-growing sport in the country, can you? Perhaps you often lose track of time with your paddle in hand, eager to whack that whiffle-like ball to your opponent energetically. Yet, this leads us to question how long we should be playing.
One can play the game of pickleball for two to three hours at a time, several days a week, provided frequent breaks are prioritized and a warm-up takes place before playing. A stretching regime/cool down also needs to be included at the end of the activity.
Pickleball is an excellent social and physical activity that has the unique ability to unite all generations in a super exciting and fun-filled way. However, sometimes too much of a good thing isn’t always the best. Let’s take a deeper look at how long you should be playing pickleball.
How Long Should One Play Pickleball?
A general indication of how long one should play a pickleball session would be 2-3 hours at a time. It would be best to keep a session to no more than once a day.
Pickleball can be played several days a week, but ideally, not every day. The main reason for this would be that rest and recovery of the body are also deemed necessary.
Pickleball gives a great full-body and cardiovascular workout, and incorporating a rest day or two per week is always a wise idea to prevent the inconveniences of burnout, strains, muscle fatigue, and injuries.
Up to 2 hours of play a day is a good amount of playing time for singles games. Up to three hours a session would be sufficient time to enjoy doubles games. A game of doubles in pickleball is more common than a singles game.
Anything longer than 4 hours of play in one day is not a recommendation as it could be rather tiring. You’d soon feel fatigued and have a general loss of focus and concentration once your body indicates that it has had enough of the session.
If you start feeling run down and not performing at your best, take it as a sign that your body is asking for a break.
However, as with any sporting choice of activity, one needs to listen to your own body and consider your unique fitness level. As pickleball is for people of all ages, we must remember that everyone’s physical levels and abilities will not be the same.
A teenager, for example, would most likely have more incredible stamina compared to an older adult. Therefore, one could say that your age and fitness levels determine how often and how long you should play.
Athletically fit players are known to have the stamina for much more extended periods of gameplay, while others deemed unfit would most likely need more time to work on their endurance, speed, performance, and strength.
Younger players, such as small children, struggle to focus and concentrate for the same periods as adults. Therefore, shorter bursts of play would be ideal for younger children. The elderly would also benefit from shorter periods of playtime as they may not always keep up with their younger, faster, or more agile opponents or teammates.
How Long Does An Average Pickleball Game Last?
An average game of pickleball could take as long as 15-25 minutes for singles games and between 30 and 35 minutes for doubles games.
A person or a team plays the game of pickleball until they reach 11 points. However, the winner(s) has to lead by at least 2 points. For example, if the score is 11 to 10, one would need to continue playing the game until the score reaches 12 to 10.
A pickleball match is then considered as best out of the three games. Game three is to be played to 5 points, win by 2. Pickleball can be played as doubles (two players per team) or singles. A game of doubles is played more regularly than a game of singles.
Therefore, the indicated time above represents the average time for one team to reach 11 points. One could typically expect to play a game of pickleball in under an hour, and the number of players and the level of play determine the game’s duration.
If one commits to the suggested time of 2-3 hours in a single/daily session, you could expect to play several rounds of pickleball games. This mixture of great exercise and fun is undoubtedly a winning recipe.
Can You Play Too Much Pickleball?
It is certainly not surprising that this latest sporting craze can become addictive to some. Pickleball does cater to all ages and is much easier on the body. As pickleball is known to be a gentle sport, one can confidently say that pickleball is a lot less strenuous on the joints and muscles of the body. It is relatively easy to lose track of time while having great fun and fantastic social opportunities.
However, everyone must remember that rest days are still beneficial to the body. Too much of anything can be harmful. Become more aware of how your body feels after your sessions.
Know your body, listen to it carefully and take your rest days or seek alternative activities. Instead, plan a lighter version of exercise on your rest days, such as a brisk walk, a light hike, etc. Balance is the key.
Playing pickleball until you are physically exhausted or experiencing strains or injuries may negatively affect the body. Be sure to schedule time for rest and recovery. Let’s explore a few disadvantages of playing for too long.
- Many hours of play without sufficient rest periods may cause physical exhaustion or burnout.
- Not drinking enough water while playing for extended periods may bring on dehydration.
- Shoulder issues are notably more common in older adults. Rotator cuff injuries and wear and tear may cause shoulder pain.
- Lower back problems and muscle strains may occur.
- The condition called “tennis elbow” (lateral epicondylitis) is a common complaint. We can now refer to it as “pickleball elbow.”
Divide Up Your Pickleball Playing Time Effectively
Prevention is always better than cure. Try to divide up and prioritize time for warm-ups and cool-down activities in all of your pickleball sessions. An effective warm-up routine is crucial to any fitness regime or sporting activity. Warm-ups are often skipped and deemed unnecessary. Getting those muscles warm before any exercise is best to prevent injuries and mishaps.
Stretch and warm up for 15-20 minutes before your games. Don’t forget to cool down properly afterward, too. Try to cool down for at least 5 minutes after playing.
Another good rule is to take 2-3 minutes of a break between games. If you are participating in doubles matches, consider sitting out for a few rounds to take a breather here and there.
Remember to hydrate adequately. Taking sips of fluid at regular intervals is ideal.
When playing pickleball, always remember to warm up, stretch and cool down properly before each session. In doing so, injuries are less likely to occur, and one could confidently enjoy up to 3 hours of having good stamina and experiencing great fun. Always listen carefully to your body and allow time to schedule rest days to prevent burnout and body fatigue.