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Winter Tough on Your Game?
By:  Scott Baker | Tennis4you  | Tennis Forum  | E-mail

Winter is always a tough time of the year for any player's game. I personally do not get out to play as much tennis in the winter as I would like to. The last 2 winters I barely played at all. I know that some tennis club's prices make it entirely unaffordable to play as much as you like if any at all. However, that does not mean that you cannot do something to help keep some of those tennis skills you spent all summer working on.

I recently had to get creative to keep my tennis game fine-tuned. I went down to the basement, cleared out a 10'x10' area and started hitting volleys and half volleys against the basement wall. I know that this sounds boring, but let me explain. Instead of driving 10-20 minutes to the court, I walk downstairs in 10-20 seconds. Within 10 minutes of being downstairs in the basement I can hit more balls against the wall than I would have hit in a match. You can hit well over 500 volleys or half volleys in 10-15 minutes and call it a day. I am done before I would of been able to drive to the club.

This is by far and away no substitute for the real thing, but this helps me to keep some of my timing, brush up on my volleys, work on my touch and hand eye coordination. If I had enough room in the basement I would clear out enough space to hit ground strokes too. However, my basement is not tall enough to hit the follow through as I doubt most basements are.

That is one simple idea. What can you think of to work on your game during the cold season? Venus and Sernea Williams used to practice tossing the service toss at a mark on the ceiling to help perfect their service toss. There are all kinds of things you can do. Just a couple of times a week and you may do just enough to keep your game intact.

One thing that can always help is those rare days in the winter where the weather breaks and you can go out and hit outside. Unfortunately a lot of places take their nets down for the winter. When I was in college they always took their nets down early and then put them up really late. I tried hitting once without a net and all depth perception is lost. We took some police tape off of a dorm somewhere and used it as our net. It actually worked really well. You do not need the bottom part of the net to hit balls. You do however need that top stripe. If you cannot afford a net find something to substitute. You may be able to get out and play 4-5 times this winter outside.

Look for tournaments during the winter. If you cannot afford to play indoors all winter due to membership fees look for some indoor tournaments. These may cost $15.00 to play and you could potentially get a few matches in. That is cheaper than regular court time for one match where I play in the winter. You may not do too well from being slightly rusty but court time is court time so grab what you can.

Exercise is another thing that always helps a tennis game. Be sure to stay fit and keep those holiday calories away. It is double tough to get back to the court after time off and not only have to worry about your game being way off, but having to worry about being out of shape!

Stay tough in the winter, your summer game will love you for it!

Good Luck on the Court!
Scott Baker