Why Not Enjoy Playing Tennis in the Fall and Winter This Year?
The Grand Slam season ends every year with the U.S. Open in September, and it doesn’t begin again until January with the Australian Open. Just because the pros aren’t playing during the colder months, however, doesn’t mean fall and winter are bad times to play tennis. There are some adjustments to be made when playing tennis in cooler weather, but the effort is worth it to enjoy a great game all year long.
One great reason to play tennis in the fall is the cooler temperatures. Summer tennis can be quite draining, especially when both the temperature and humidity are high. Everyone wants to get court time early in the morning to avoid the worst heat of the day, so finding an open reservation can be difficult. Because many players stay home during the fall and winter, it is easier to reserve a court at any time during the day.
Fall tennis can be played outdoors when the temperatures allow. It is nice to be outdoors, and there are some great views available as the leaves turn color. Playing tennis year-round also helps you stay in shape during the “off-season.” Plus, it is an excellent opportunity to work on weak aspects of one’s game and stay in rhythm to avoid the normal readjustment during the first couple of weeks of spring tennis. Here’s what you need to know about playing tennis in the fall and winter:
Adjust for Indoor Play
When the weather becomes extremely cold and the snow begins to fall, it is time to move indoors to enjoy a game. This can be just as fun as outdoor play, but there are a few adjustments that need to be made for indoor winter tennis. Tennis balls will bounce less during cold weather. Racquet strings contract and become stiffer, and they can even break. To compensate for these conditions, you need to hit the ball a bit harder and aim deeper into the backcourt. Choose rackets with softer strings. They will at least partially compensate for the stiffness and won’t break as easily or as often.
Drinking enough water is a good piece of advice at any time of the year, but while playing tennis in colder weather, be sure to keep well hydrated. This can easily be forgotten when the heat and humidity aren’t present. However, it is imperative to keep the body well supplied with liquids to avoid many adverse effects.
Warm up Thoroughly
Spend a little more time warming up prior to the start of play if it’s cold out, even if you are playing inside. The colder weather requires a bit more loosening up than the height of summer. Inadequate warm up time can cause muscle tightness and injuries much faster in the fall and winter than in the spring and summer. Make sure to add in an extra stretching regimen to loosen up the muscles. Take the extra time to make sure the body is ready to go before jumping into a rigorous match. After the match is over, consider doing a few winding-down exercises, too.
If You’re Outside, Dress Appropriately
Proper dress is important to ensure protection against the cold. This seems counterintuitive, as playing tennis warms up the body, but proper clothing is essential. Use multiple layers for your core, while leaving the arms and legs freer for movement. The best type of clothing to wear is made from materials that absorb less sweat, like nylon or polyester. When sweat is absorbed by clothing, it stays next to the skin and makes the body colder, defeating the purpose of layering.
Consider wearing sunglasses as well, even if they are not a normal part of your tennis attire. The sun is lower in the sky during the fall and winter months. A good pair of shades will protect the eyes against extreme glare. Lastly, don’t forget to wear a hat when playing outside. A significant amount of body heat escapes through the head, so a hat should keep you a little warmer.
Beware of Seasonal Hazards
When playing outside, beware of puddles or wet spots on the court. These are always a hazard, but in temperatures hovering around freezing, it is more likely that they will cause a slip. Make sure that your tennis shoes have a good strong tread that will grip the court even in colder conditions.
Tennis in the colder months can be an enjoyable experience. Just remember to take the proper precautions to stay warm and healthy.