Cold Weather – On very cold days, it is very important that you layer up. It is better for you to have too many layers on than too few. As you start to warm up, start taking layers off. I would also recommend long tights, shorts or skirt over the tights and then sweat pants on top of everything. That should keep your body nice and warm and loose. As for your hands, try and have pockets with fleece material on the interior. Another option would be hand warmer rocks.
There is a packet that you can buy that will heat up once you crunch up the little rocks. You may purchase that and keep them in your pocket as well. It is very important to keep your hands warm. If your hands get super cold and numb, it will be very difficult to feel your shots and maneuver the racquet the way you would like.
The Sun – One of the first things you should check out when stepping foot on the tennis court is where the sun is. This will help you determine if you would like to serve first or receive. If you can, you should always try and have your opponent serve first into the sun. This is a great way to get out to a quick lead as they struggle to figure out the sun.
When it’s your turn to serve into the sun you have two options:
- Try and block the sun with your tossing hand. While the ball is up in the air, extend your 5 fingers and use your hand as a shield.
- Try and toss your ball where the sun is not. This may take a few practice tosses to find out exactly where that spot is. Do not try and go after a toss that you have lost in the sun. Let the ball drop and start your serve over again. There is no penalty for catching the ball and starting again.
The Wind – Now this one is my Achilles heel. I have always struggled with playing in the wind. I have won some and I have lost some, badly. A good way to prepare your mindset for that dreadful windy day is to remember that your opponent has to deal with the same condition as you do. If you go in with that mind set, that makes it a little easier to have to cope with. The winner of the match is going to be determined by who manages the wind the best. First things first, let’s find out which direction the wind is blowing. Take a look at flags, trees or even your hair if it’s long enough. Knowing which direction the wind is blowing in is half the battle.
Now how do we play the wind to our advantage? If the wind is blowing north and south (toward your opponent or toward you), I find it easier to hit into the wind. This way you can hit out on your shots and the ball will stay in the court. If you are hitting toward the wind, you will have to take some pace off of the ball and try and put a little extra top spin on your shot to keep it in.
When the wind is blowing East and West (toward the left or right), you want to hit toward the opposite direction the wind is blowing. For example, if the wind is blowing toward your right, you should try and hit majority of your shots toward your left.
When the wind is swirling, simply hit the ball right down the center of the court. The wind will take the ball all over the place but hopefully the ball will stay in play.
Outdoor conditions are tough for us all to handle, go into the match with a positive attitude and know that your not the only one that will have to struggle.
Good luck to everyone as we transition into our outdoor season.