Hot weather can quickly sap away your regular performance levels – your legs start feeling heavier and each one of your shots is hit with less power.
This kind of fatigue hits tennis pros and amateurs alike. It’s happened on a world stage — like at the 2014 Australian Open where temps rose above 104 degrees Fahrenheit and disrupted the tournament schedule — and on outdoor tennis courts in warmer climates.
So how can you safely get through the heat and keep winning points? Here are 10 suggestions to keep your cool:
1. Stay Hydrated
The number one rule is to take on as much liquid as you lose through sweat – that’s about 32 - 85 ounces during an hour of play.
2. Keep Your Drinks Cold
Cold drinks are absorbed by the body faster and they’re more refreshing on hot days. So bring a cooler to your match and fill it with ice and the drinks of your choice.
3. Drink Before You’re Thirsty
Thirst is not an effective warning system – in fact, your performance will have been suffering before you feel thirsty at all. Drink at regular intervals whether you feel like it or not.
4. Cut Alcohol and Caffeine
Drinking alcohol the night before the game puts you at higher risk of dehydration. Coffee has a similar effect on the body, so skip your morning jolt of caffeine and stick to water.
5. Play in Breathable Clothing
Letting your skin breathe is one of the most effective ways to stay cool. Mesh panels on our tops and shorts let air flow through them, and breathable fabric means you don’t overheat.
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6. Keep the Sweat from Your Eyes
You could go for the sweatband or try out a tennis cap like ASICS athletes Coco Vandeweghe and Steve Johnson that also blocks dangerous UV rays.
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7. Minimize Your Running Game
Baseline players beware: all that running from side to side will tire you out faster. Consider bringing your game closer to the net and end points quickly.
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8. Start Out Slowly and Acclimate
Your first few matches in the heat will be a real shock. But if you start out slow, your body should be able to acclimate. Be sure to stay hydrated throughout, though, even if your body is responding well to the hot weather.
9. Play at Night
A long tennis game on a warm and starry night is one of the joys of summer. Find a local court that has floodlights and play after dark. It’s a comfortable way to get your game in for the day and you don’t run the risk of sunburn.
10. Use Ice Packs
Cool down faster by putting ice packs against areas where important arteries are located, such as the groin and armpits. It cools the blood and boosts blood flow to your muscles.
Keep your cool on the courts and be mindful of how your body is adapting or reacting to the heat while you play or train. Plan on competing in the heat this year? Share these tips with your friends and team!
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