November 18, 2017
I want to take a moment to give out a big THANK YOU for all of you that have subscribed to this blog. I have enjoyed trying to come up with new topics to blog about that would give you an opportunity to improve your tennis game. With Thanksgiving approaching, I find this a good time to show gratitude to you all and wish everyone a very happy Thanksgiving! Enjoy the blog!
We have all been there before. The sun is in your eyes during a serve. The wind howling to your back as you try to lob your opponent. Or you’re playing a tough match during a hot day, leaving you drained before the first set is even over. Weather can create havoc to your game....if you let it. Knowing how to handles these conditions can allow you to have the right mindset and clarity to do your best in the least favorable of conditions. Let's take a look at the different weather situations that you might encounter and how to handle them.
Playing In The Sun
Here you are doing a beautiful job of setting up a point where all you have to do is hit an overhead smash to finish it. And then you look up. The sun’s glare in your eyes can be paralyzing, keeping you from reaping the rewards of finishing a point you worked so hard in setting up. There are a few things to consider when having this situation. I first look at the angle of the sun with my toss. Do I need to adjust the toss so I’m not looking into the sun when serving? Where is the sun moving throughout the match? Are their clouds that can eventually block the sun out? All of these questions help me prepare for playing with me facing the sun. I also suggest warming up with the sun in your face so you can see what adjustments you need to make before the match rather than making adjustments on the fly. Lastly, I suggest trying out sunglasses. I used to be against this but after living in Colorado with the sun being so bright, the sunglasses are a staple for me during my lessons and even during matches. The key is to get some comfortable and secure ones that you won’t notice them that much.
Playing In The Wind
This is the biggest issue tennis players seem to face during matches. Windy conditions seem to bring players to a more even playing field. Often the player with the better strokes does not necessarily win, as strategy is more important than anything in these conditions. In general, the wind can impact you differently depending on how hard you hit the ball. Remember the slower the ball travels across the net, the more susceptible it is to being impacted by the wind. If the wind is blowing across the court (sideways), it’s imperative to be aiming even more down the middle of the court. Also know that you might be hitting your weaker shot more than you would like. For example, if the wind is blowing to my left and I’m a righty, I won’t be able to run around and hit my forehand as much as I would like. If the wind is blowing towards or away from the net, spin (or the lack thereof) is essential. If the win is to your back, keep the ball from sailing long by hitting a lot of topspin. Otherwise you risk the chance of hitting the ball long as the wind will take it longer than you want it to go. If you have the wind to your face, flatten your strokes so that you can keep the ball deep. The wind will keep the ball in the court so you don’t have to worry about hitting it long as much as with the wind to your back. Also, hitting the ball flat will help you keep the ball deep, which is essential in your chances of winning.
Playing In The Heat
Heat not only impacts you physically, it also impacts how the ball bounces. The extra heat makes the ball have more air pressure, causing the ball to bounce off of your racquet at a higher rate, making it harder to control. Combat this with a short backswing and possibly having a racquet strung with higher tension for more control. The ball will also bounce higher off of the ground, making topspin king in this situation. Use topspin serves and groundstrokes to get the ball to bounce high, leaving your opponent to do one of two things. Either they have to take the ball on the rise (risky) or move back and let it come down a bit before they strike it. Pushing your opponent past the baseline when they are hitting their groundstrokes keeps them from pressuring you and giving you ample time to react to their ball.
Playing In The Cold
See this video on some tips on how to play in the cold!