Before I get going, I want to be sure you know that I have a very special announcement at the end of this episode regarding my Kindle book, Real Tennis Tips for Real Tennis Players. I'm doing something with my book for just a few days to celebrate this year's U.S. Open. So be sure and listen all the way through for that announcement.
As I record this episode, it's the Wednesday leading into the final weekend of this year's U.S. Open. The weather at Flushing Meadows has been hot, of course, but the players have also had to deal with the wind. And boy, do I hate dealing with the wind. I myself have played many a match where it felt like we were all fighting gusty, blustery, gale-force winds. And, with fall tennis right around the corner, I'm expecting more of that as my tennis teams start up again.
So how can you deal with windy weather conditions? What kind of tips can you apply when the winds are swirling all around? Here are my best tips for playing tennis in the wind.
1. Figure out which way the wind is blowing and plan your tennis play accordingly. It really pays to take the time between each point to pause and think about what kind of wind you're dealing with. Different kinds of wind call for different actions. So –
- If the wind is blowing at you or in your face, know that your shots will seem to travel slower and may end up in the net. Shots hit towards you will arrive much faster than you expect. To overcome this kind of wind, hit harder and aim higher. And move your feet to quickly get to balls coming your way.
- If the wind is blowing with you or towards your back, your balls can sail long and out. Shots hit in your direction may land shorter than you expect and stay low. When dealing with this wind, play it safe and keep your target at the middle of the court. Again, move your feet to quickly get to incoming balls.
- If the wind is blowing cross court, your shots may go wide. Shots coming towards you may blow off course, ending up right where you're not. You definitely need to get to the ball quickly and may even benefit from taking shots out of the air before they have a chance to blow away from you.
- If the wind is swirling, well, any of the above may happen. The best thing you can do, as stated above, is use your footwork to get close to the ball.
2. Go for the middle of the court. With all of the things that can happen to a tennis ball on a windy day, the safest play is usually to forget about hitting incredible winners and aim for the middle of the court. Not too short, not too deep, not too high, not too low, and not too close to any of the lines.
3. Change your serve. Instead of trying to ace your opponent off the court, windy conditions often call for you to just get it in. While this may go against everything you stand for, serving in the wind is sometimes just too unpredictable. And if the wind is blowing your toss all over the place, you can forget about hitting what is normally an easy serve for you to make. Getting the point started becomes much more important when the wind is playing havoc with your serve. This, in fact, has been my downfall during many windy matches as I was just positive I could hit a slice serve and didn't need to resort to hitting a puff ball into the service box. I would have done much better hitting the puff ball.
4. Don't overthink it. The wind can do all kinds of things with a tennis ball and can do them all at once. You can drive yourself crazy trying to figure out exactly what is happening at any one moment on the court. If the wind is gusting, blowing and then stopping and then blowing again, you can get completely crazy. So don't try to analyze the wind situation too deeply. Think about playing safe tennis – hitting to the middle, not going for the lines.
5. Realize that your opponent has the same problem as you. Tennis is a mental game. We already know that. Throw in some adverse, windy conditions and your game goes right out the window. But if you remain calm and realize that your opponent is working under the same adverse conditions that you are, you can regain your edge and win just enough points, sloppy or not, to win your match.
Those are my best tips for playing tennis in the wind. What kind of weather do you hate playing tennis in? What are your best tips for playing when the weather is less than perfect? Leave me a comment in the show notes because I'd love to hear what you're doing to play great tennis! You can find the show notes at http://tennisfixation.com/quicktips52.
And now for my special announcement. If you've been listening to this podcast on a somewhat regular basis, then you know I wrote a book jam-packed with tennis tips called Real Tennis Tips for Real Tennis Players. It's full of the kind of tips I give here on the Tennis Quick Tips podcast – tips that really work! Anyway, to celebrate this year's U.S. Open and to try and get my book into the hands of as many tennis fanatics as possible, I'm running a special sale on the book for just a few days. I've deeply discounted the book, making it available for only $1.99, which is about as cheap as I can sell it on Amazon. The sale will start tomorrow, Thursday, September 4, 2014, at 6:00 a.m. Eastern time and will end at midnight Eastern time on the last day of the U.S. Open, Sunday, September 7, 2014. You can find the book on Amazon by searching for “real tennis tips” or my name, Kim Selzman. You can also find a description of the book as well as a link to the book's Amazon page by going to http://tennisfixation.com/tipsbook. I'll link to this in the show notes too.
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To get details on my book Real Tennis Tips for Real Tennis Players and to find a link to the book's Amazon page, just click here: http://tennisfixation.com/tipsbook.
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Thanks so much for listening and, as always, Happy Tennis!