ON COURT SUMMER FITNESS
With summer right around the corner it becomes necessary to adequately prepare each time
you go out to play tennis. Preparing in advance will help you enjoy yourself more and recovery
The sun poses the first problem that needs to be addressed.
Of course the first preparation is sunscreen. Use an ample amount on any part of the body
that will be exposed to the sun. Put the sunscreen on at least a half hour before going out to
Secondly, I like to wear a hat. If you can play in a wide brimmed hat that supplies more head
coverage, that would be ideal. A hat will also help keep your head cooler.
Try to wear light colors to reflect the sunâ€™s rays. Dark clothing absorbs the sunâ€™s
rays and get quite hot.
Have plenty of cold water to drink. Ice water is best to cool the body down quicker. Drink
water on every change over, even if your not thirsty. Your thirst is not a good measure to see if
you body is getting dehydrated.
Towels and sweat bands should be another summer tennis staple. I always carry at least
two towels, one to dry the sweat off and the other to dowse with the ice water to cool down my
head and neck. The Aussies used to tie a handkerchief, soaked in ice water, around their neck
when playing in hot conditions. I would bring a small ice chest and soak one handkerchief in
ice water while I wore another one while playing. On change overs I would switch the
handkerchiefs so I could wear a cold one every two games.
The racquet handle can often be overlooked. Always bring extra overwraps to change when
your handle gets too wet. Drying powder or sawdust can be good to spread on handle when
conditions get too slippery.
Finally, and the most important are your eyes. Most people donâ€™t like to wear
sunglasses when they play tennis, however it would be wise to do so. Your eyes are very
valuable to keep safe and the sunâ€™s rays can damage the retina of the eye during long
exposures. Protect your eyes and wear a good pair of sunglasses that wonâ€™t fall off easily.
Remember to keep your body cool when playing in the heat. If you become dizzy, light
headed, headaches, or stomach ache STOP playing and get yourself in the shade to rest. Itâ
€™s not worth pushing yourself or you health till you get heat exhaustion.
Good Luck and stay safe to have tennis fun in the sun!
Doug Hofer, USPTA May 13, 2004