Playing tennis in 40 degrees and playing
tennis in 90 degrees is definitely a change. Most importantly
you have to dress accordingly. If not, you may be too sick
the next day to play. I suggest wearing several thin slayers
of clothing so you can take off small amounts as you warm
up. If you have a large sweatshirt on over a t-shirt you will
be going from one extreme to the other when you remove the
sweatshirt and you may get really cold extremely quick.
There are two things I cannot stand wearing
when playing tennis. One is sunglasses and the other is gloves.
These two things drive me nuts. I would rather have ice-cold
hands than try wearing gloves when playing tennis. However,
if they do not bother you they might not be a bad idea. I
find it extremely difficult to feel the grip with gloves on,
no matter how thin the gloves are. Gloves are not a bad idea
on change-overs if you can find a way to keep them warm as
you play. The colder your hands are the harder it is to find
the right position on your grip. Sunglasses can be helpful
as the winter sun is lower in the sky and more likely to be
a constant bother. I have seen few people who can actually
play good tennis with sunglasses on but it is definitely a
Last but not least, be sure to stretch a
lot before you play and as you warm up. Your muscles will
take longer to loosen up in the cold and you do not want to
pull any muscles. Be sure to take your time in the warm up,
and try to hit in the warm-up 5-10 minutes longer than you
Ok, enough with the boring stuff, let's get
to the fun part.
If you are not as in shape as you wish you
were, the colder the weather the better. Without the 90 degree
sun and 90% humidity bearing down on you, you will be able
to play longer and stay in the longer rallies without feeling
like you are going to pass out.
The cold weather has effects on the ball.
The colder the weather the less bounce the ball will have.
Your topspin will have less effect but your slice will be
more deadly than ever. Drop shots are also more effective
since they will not bounce as high. If you have a big kick
or topspin serve beware, the cold weather will take some of
the kick/bounce out of the ball. Flat serves and slice serves
will be more effective for you in the cold and force your
opponent to have to get down low for a ton of balls. This
also means that the ball will bounce low for you too. Bring
your racquet back early for good preparation to adjust to
the low bounce, and start your backswing lower than you typically
If you have a topspin approach shot and
a slice approach shot you may want to try to lean more towards
some slice approaches on any ball that does not bounce much
higher than the net. This keeps the ball extra low and really
forces your opponent to get low to get under the ball and
hit a passing shot which is tough.
You also need to move to the ball more than
you would in warmer weather. Since the ball is flatter it
will not get as deep in the court as it would if it was warm
out. Be sure to move well into the court for shorter balls.
With the ball being a little flatter, be
sure to aim deeper and hit harder to keep the ball from landing
too short and allowing your opponent to step into the court
to hit every ball.
When playing in the cold make sure you can
adjust your game to the conditions. Playing smart can really
benefit you in these types of situations. Keep the ball low,
if the ball comes back the ball will not have as much bounce
as you are used to so adjust your shots appropriately. Be
sure to dress warm and in thin layers, and do not underestimate
the importance of stretching and a nice warm-up before your
match. I actually know a guy who went out to practice his
serve in the cold without any warm-up. He had a big serve
and just started swinging away. His hurt his shoulder so bad
that day that he had to learn to play left handed, and he
will play left headed the rest of his life. Take care of yourself
in the cold, play smart and have fun. If it gets too cold,
get off of the court and live to play another day.
*** Quick winter tip: Many places take down
the nets in the winter (yes, I hate it too) When I was in
college my school would take down their nets for a long time.
Once in a while the weather would be warm enough to play but
there would be no nets up. Just trying to go out and hit rallies
with someone without a net is impossible, your sense of depth
is way off. You do not need to carry a net around with you.
I used to have police tape in my tennis bag. If you tie the
police tape to the net posts it works really well. I do not
recommend playing a match like this, but it is great for practice.
You actually do not need the lower half of the net for depth
perception, just the top band.
Luck on the Court!