It’s only 9am and already it’s 82 degrees outside. A vicious warm breeze seems to blow on your skin. No no other way to put it: it’s too hot out! How do you stay cool and safe during pickleball when it’s so hot?
Probably the most important thing is to hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Ideally everyone should be drinking the recommended amount of water, most commonly described as 8 x eight oz glasses of water a day. According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine adequate daily intake of liquid is:
Of course the amount of fluids your body needs depends on your activity level and environment. But when you know you’re going to be playing pickleball on a scorching hot day, it’s a good idea to hydrate before, during, and after.
Whenever I am preparing for an outside tournament or a long day of playing outside in extreme temperatures, I will start my prepping the day before by keeping water or some other hydrating liquid at my side nonstop to make sure I’m meeting my liquid intake goals. Then the day I am playing outside, I like to have a variety of cold drinks at hand, usually a combination of water and some sort of electrolyte drinks like Gatorade or Vitamin water.
Besides hydration, sun protection and optimizing shade is also important. When playing outside, I always wear sunscreen, a hat, and glasses depending on the sun location. I try to limit my time in the sun. Put your chair and drinks in the shade and try to spend as much downtime in a shady spot as possible. In-between matches, it’s important to also have some protein snacks.
I’m not one to eat anything heavy during match play, but I always nibble on something in between games. You can usually find me stuffing some Gatorade energy chews in my mouth which are a great source of quick fuel with their carbohydrates, electrolytes, vitamins, and sugar. I also am a fan of dried fruit and gummy bears. Fruit and a protein bar are usually devoured in small portions throughout the day as well. I guess you could say I’m always nibbling on something when I’m not on the court.
If you’re known to sweat profusely, a change of clothes or at least some fresh socks make a big difference. Speaking of clothes, it’s also important to dress accordingly and layering is important. In the earlier part of the day, the weather can be cooler and a light long sleeve shirt or jacket comes in handy. Underneath my base layer is a lighter material and lighter colored tank top which is breathable and ideally dry wicking. It’s surprising how much hotter your body can become if you wear darker colors, especially as a tank top/shirt. I haven’t noticed overheating as an issue when wearing darker shorts or skirts.
Bonus ways to stay cool would be to have a misting fan and cooling towel. Also a half frozen Gatorade or water is like Christmas when you’re playing in 90 degree weather.
After playing I always make sure to restore all the nutrients and my dehydration back to normal with extra fluids and a good meal. Although if it was a bad day of pickleball, occasionally the meal is a Big Mac at McDontBeSoHardOnYourself.
The best way to stay cool while playing outside is to accommodate all of the little things that add up to make a big difference. When you’re feeling your best then you can play your best!
Remember to sanitize those hands! See you on the Court!
“if you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen!”
~ Harry S. Truman