The Effects Of Cold Weather On Tennis Gear
How does cold weather change what happens during a tennis match? Well, first off, you'll notice that tennis balls are just less bouncy in the cold. In my post, Playing With Cold Tennis Balls, I explained the physics of why this is true. I'll put a link to that post in the show notes so you can go check that out if you want to read all about tennis ball physics. But, for now, just take my word for it. Tennis balls can have a kind of “dead” feeling in the cold.
Similarly, cold temperatures can affect the playability of racquet strings. Some types of string, like natural gut, polyester and nylon, will feel tighter and stiffer at temperatures below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
What Does The Cold Do To Your Strokes And Movement?
So what's the bottom line here? Well, with less bouncy balls and less springy strings, you can expect that you're going to have to hit harder to generate power and spin on your shots.
And since less bouncy balls don't move as deep or as high in the court, you're going to have to move quicker and bend deeper to get to those balls.
Using The Cold Weather Changes To Your Advantage
With all of that in mind, how can you take advantage of these cold weather changes? How can you put the cold weather to work for you on the tennis court? Here are my tips for doing just that:
First and foremost, be sure to warm your body up well before you start playing tennis in the cold. Your muscles will take longer to loosen up in the cold and you don't want to pull or strain anything. Doing a dynamic warm-up, rather than static stretching, is really important when it's cold. I talked all about dynamic warm-ups for tennis in Tennis Quick Tips Episode 18 and included several exercises that you can do on court. I'll put a link to that in the show notes for this episode.
Besides warming your body up, see if you can spend a little extra time in the warm-up you do with your opponent. This will help you see just how the cold is affecting your shots and see what the impact of the weather is on your opponent.
Adjust Your Strokes
Let's talk about what adjustments you'll need to make to your strokes. You know the ball is not going to bounce as high or as deep. If you want to hit topspin on your groundstrokes, you're going to have to adjust for this. To do this, get your racquet back early, drop your racquet head and start your backswing lower, aim deeper and hit harder. By doing these things, you'll get topspin on your ball and keep it out of the net.
While it's harder to hit topspin the the cold, low and slow shots, like slice and drop shots, are even more effective in this weather. If these are not shots you typically depend on, try throwing them in more often in the cold weather. They're not only easier for you to hit, they're even more difficult for your opponent to deal with in the cold.
On your serve, you may find the same problem if you rely on a topspin serve. Not to say you can't use it, but be sure to mix in some flat and slice serves. These won't bounce up the way a topspin serve does and will be more difficult for your opponent to return.
Finally, get in there and attack the net. Your opponent's shots are not going to be moving quickly or bouncing up as much, so you need to be up the net to get those low, slow balls and put them away.
Well, those are my best tips for playing better tennis in the cold. Let me know how cold it is where you are. What's the coldest weather you've played in and just how did it change your game? Let me know by leaving a comment in the show notes to this episode. You can find those show notes and all of the links to the resources I've mentioned plus several more cold weather resources over at tennisfixation.com/quicktips63.
RESOURCES AND LINKS FROM THIS EPISODE:
For more great tips on playing great tennis in the cold weather, check out these posts:
- Prepare For Cold Weather Tennis – Tennis Quick Tips Podcast Episode 23
- Playing With Cold Tennis Balls
- Improve Your Tennis In The Freeezzzzing Cold
- Tips For Healthy Winter Skin
Also, check out this post for dynamic warm-up exercises:
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© Kim Selzman 2014 All Rights Reserved
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