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Ladder Of Healing And Improvement - Picklesphere

Ladder Of Healing And Improvement

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By Melissa Kildow  Pickleblogger

It’s a rainy summer day and I’m left alone with my thoughts. Everything hurts and I’m sore from yesterday. Motrin and ice accompany my breakfast. My heart rate quickens as I replay yesterday’s court performance.

Have you ever had an injury or had to take time off from pickleball? My last break from it was when I tore my calf last year during regionals and had to spend a few months resting and rehabilitating. The injury transformed me when I first started playing from a once confident player to an apprehensive one, dreading the “wrong step” to cause shooting pain in my dominant leg. Of course as I got stronger and the injury healed I overcame the obstacle, but I wore compression sleeves for months to hide the gnawing fear in my head of reinjury.

I haven’t been on a court in about 5 months because of a combination of Covid and because I gave birth to a beautiful baby girl and future pickleball star. While I was unable to play, I definitely thought about playing and even had dreams about it. I’ve been preparing to have a mental edge if I can’t have a physical one right away.

While I was recovering from my c-section, and planning my rehabilitation process, I realized the worst thing about having an injury isn’t just the physical aspect, but also the mental aspect of missing out. I missed my friends, my partners, and most of all I missed the game.

Getting back into the game can be a challenge both mentally and physically. There’s a lot of pressure to play at the level I once was when I last played almost half a year ago. The first day was gruesome. My legs felt heavy and slow. My mind knew what it wanted my body to do but my body wouldn’t cooperate. I saw improvements each time I played.

It took me about 3 weeks to really feel the rhythm and step back into more than just a shadow of my former self. I have to chant a mantra to be patient with myself, as I’m still healing and climbing back up the ladder of improvement, one rung at a time.

As I eagerly anticipate stepping on the court each day, I don’t think I’ve ever been this excited for rec play.

I hear the sound of a pickleball striking the ground. The familiar beat is like music to my ears.

Steady like a heartbeat, speeding faster at times.

How I’ve missed you.

See you on the court!

“If you’re climbing the ladder of life, you go rung by rung, one step at a time. Don’t look too far up, set your goals high but take one step at a time.”
~ Donny Osmond


Melissa Kildow
PPR-Certified Teaching Pro

Melissa is a 5.0 tournament player, teaching pro, and devoted mother with a serious passion for pickleball. Follow her foray through the Picklesphere as she writes about all the things we love about this sport, including strategy, the mental game, training, drills, diet and more.


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