Preparing for your tennis match is crucial. And I’m not just talking about your strokes. With the high temperatures and humidity we have here at the beach, you have to be prepared so you can beat the heat.
In order to win a match, you have to be there at the end, playing hard and smart, and not melting in the heat like a shave ice on a hot day. How can you accomplish that? Start by hydrating before the match, and keep drinking at every changeover. It doesn’t matter if it’s water or your favorite sports drink. The trick is to keep the fluids flowing to replace what you’re sweating out.
You also need to protect yourself from the sun. Like every outdoor activity here, apply sunscreen liberally before leaving the house. Then wash the sunscreen off your hands so that your grip doesn’t slip. If there’s no covered seating on the court, you may want to take an umbrella to sit under during breaks. (Hey, the pros on tour do it, although you’ll have to find your own ball boy or ball girl to hold it for you.) On almost every court, you’re likely to find a small spot of shade, so if your opponents are talking strategy on their side of the court, go to your shady spot until they are ready to start the point.
To help keep your cool on the court, wear performance clothing. The moisture-wicking fabrics of today’s performance apparel will make you feel cooler and dryer than your fashion cotton tees. Keep a change of clothing in your tennis bag, and if you feel especially wet, make a change. A dry shirt or socks will go a long way in making you feel instantly refreshed. Make sunglasses, sweatbands, hats and visors a part of your tennis wardrobe.
Keep a towel handy to wipe away the sweat and dry your hands. Improve your grip on the racquet with a rosin bag, tacky towel, or a new overgrip. Some overgrips are designed to absorb sweat, while others have a tacky feel to help you hold on to the racquet.
Take a cooler to keep your drinks cold. You can even put a towel on ice to wrap around your neck at changeovers. And always take the fully allotted breaks at changeovers and between points when the temperatures are high.
Lastly, use the serve and volley and the chip and charge to speed up play while on the court. You don’t want to rally back and forth from the baseline repeatedly. Shorten your points to help beat the heat.
Let your opponents sweat, and be there at the end to shake hands for the win.
Tracy Townsend is a resort tennis expert, and his company 30A Tennis manages Seaside Tennis on behalf of the Seaside Community Development Corp. You can reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (850)231-2214. For news, events and court conditions, find Seaside Tennis on Facebook.
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