As I write this column, it is about 72 and sunny here in Seaside, in December. It is the reason we have all come here. How could anyone not love the weather this beautiful day?
But on the tennis court, this sunny day can present a problem for your opponents if you know how to use it. The sun will hang lower in the sky from about November to March here at the beach. If you have the sun in your eyes, it can really be blinding.
The first way to use the sun is to lob more. Most players don’t turn enough to get the sun out their eyes. Most players don’t use their non-dominant hand to shield the sun from their view. Most players just hit a weak overhead when the sun is in their eyes.
Second, simply loft more shots. Don’t hit a high lob but try instead to add a few feet of net clearance with a little less pace on some of your ground strokes and let the ball bounce up toward the sun. You will be amazed at the number of mishits this will cause.
Third, look for the lefty. If a team has a left-handed player on the sunny side, hit it to them every shot (unless it’s Rafa). They have a sun-blinded view of nearly every forehand they hit, and it will frustrate them to no end. And since most players have a bigger forehand than backhand, it will take away that advantage.
Fourth, plan on hitting a bigger return. Players tossing the serve up into the sun will rarely hit a good serve consistently. Take full advantage of this. After all, this is the one time that you know where the ball is going to be hit. It is going to be hit in that square right in front of you and probably not hit as effectively as usual because of that “big yellow ball” shining right in their eyes.
It is great to have a third player on your side in doubles, and if you use the sun correctly, it will feel like you have just that. I’ve never met anyone that the sun did not bother in some way. Remember though that this advantage only lasts for two games at a time, and then you’ll have to switch sides with your opponents. Hopefully they did not read this article.
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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