This is a guest post by our monthly contributor, coach Marcin Bieniek, founder of instructional Enjoy Tennis Blog.
There are many differences in demands that environment can put on tennis players. In some climates wind is present all the time, some places are very humid, some are rainy, but there is one common factor that stands true for all — summers are hot and if you don’t learn to deal with it you will never be a very successful tennis player.
Playing tennis when others are looking for a shade to hide is something ambitious tennis players experience all the time. You don’t have impact on the weather, so you have to accept it. The best players in the world know what they can and what they can’t control and that is why they adapt really well to various challenges and use their knowledge and skills to deal with them effectively.
Sunny conditions put a lot of stress on technical, tactical, physical and mental side of players. If you are not aware of that or if you are not prepared for it, you can’t be successful during hot summer months.
Technical: When you serve and sun shines right into your face, your ability to change your toss is invaluable to maintain desirable level of consistency.
Tactical: If your opponent doesn’t have good endurance, high temperatures mean that you should force longer rallies.
Physical: Knowing that you are going to be tired much quicker than during winter season, your stamina, energy level and hydration routine will decide about your chances to follow your strategy and have good quality of shots.
Mental: You have to be ready to grind and face your doubts when after two games you should change your shirt.
Playing in hot environment is not easy, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare for it and beat your opponent. If you want to be the player who is not afraid of weather conditions you have to:
Train in these conditions
This is called experience. If you train in the environment that you are going to compete in, you will learn everything you need to be effective. Your body and mind will remember what you have done several times.
Work on skills that will prepare your for these conditions
Preparation is the key. If you know you have the necessary skills to cope with current requirements, you will step on the court with courage and positive mindset. That is why it is crucial to work consciously during daily practice sessions and develop various abilities that will allow you get on the court and play your best tennis in every season.
Don’t complain about things you can’t control
You have many powers, but changing the weather conditions is not one of them. All you can do about the sun and high temperature is to accept them. Complaining about the weather conditions will only put you in the negative mood and make you defensive. You know that it is not a recipe for success.
Always bring isotonic drinks, energy gels, a towel and a hat to the court
When we protect from the sun and nourish our body with water and energy, we will be able to execute our strokes and strategy. Isotonic drinks, energy gels, towels and hats will give your body a chance to function at the optimal level.
Prepare for a tough time
Let’s be clear – it is not going to be easy. Be ready for the challenge and step on the court with consciousness that you possess everything you need to beat your opponent. It all starts in your head — your mindset can help you win or it can make you lose even before the first ball is hit.
In some parts of the world high temperatures are present almost all year long, so players get used to it. The majority of countries don’t have that privilege, though — they have different seasons and tennis players have to prepare for each of them. Summertime is great for tennis, if we look at it that way. Of course, it requires specific adaptations, but that’s exactly what tennis players do every time. Adaptation is the key to being effective, so use weather as your friend and win the match easily while others are complaining.
Read more on this topic: How to play tennis in the summer heat without getting exhausted