WARMING UP TO WINTER
December gives us here in the Central Valley of California the coldest days of the year. In
order to keep playing tennis in the cold we need to take some precautions.
When playing tennis in cold weather itâ€™s best to wear several layers of clothing. This
will allow you to take off a layer at a time as you warm up and not be too cold. Itâ€™s also a
good idea to put those layers back on after your done playing tennis to keep your body heat
in. Even if there is no sun to bother you, you should wear a hat. Seventy percent of body heat
leaves through the head. Wearing a hat will slow down that heat from escaping.
Some people like to wear gloves in cold weather. I like to wear a glove on my non-racquet
hand since I use a one handed backhand, this doesnâ€™t affect my grip. Wearing gloves on
your racquet hand my seem warm but itâ€™s like playing with a grip 4 sizes too big. Some
one even makes a glove that fits over the hand and racquet handle so you can still grip the
handle with your bare hand.
Warm up your strokes before doing any playing or stretching. Hitting your groundstrokes
with a deliberate float or moon ball will help you swing slow and through the ball. It creates a
longer swing with extended follow through. This will slowly stretch your arms and body as
you move through your shots with a slower speed.
Moving to the ball as you hit should be relaxed and deliberate. Donâ€™t try to run or sprint
to every ball. Make sure you donâ€™t go after balls that are too far away. Instead let the ball
bounce twice or run through the swing on wide balls. Making short quick, jerky movements
might cause a muscle pull or strain.
After warming a brief period of warming up with this method, youâ€™ll be ready to start
stretching. You may take a brief break to stretch your muscles at the net or remove some
clothing. Now you should be warm enough to go full throttle.
Once the body is properly warmed up, playing tennis in the cold can be just as rewarding.
Doug Hofer December 28, 2004