The PureTennis Guide To Playing In Cool Weather
Updated: Jan 11, 2021
For some, this may be obvious, but it’s an important component of playing tennis in the cold. Wearing several thin layers of clothing is key - that way you aren’t weighed down by a bulky hoodie or winter jacket. Personally, I wear a long sleeve as a base layer, with some sort of dry-fit tee over that. Then I’ll throw my favorite Nike zip-up jacket over that. If it’s really cold I’ll throw some sort of long sleeve hoodie on. I personally like to remove layers as I get warmed up, something you can’t do if you wear one bulky baselayer!
In addition to my clothing layers, I also like to wear a thin pair of gloves to keep my hands warm. If you need to feel the racquet when you play, I’d recommend buying a pack of Hot Hands to keep in your pockets.
Bonus Tip: No, this bonus tip is not technically related to layers, but hey that’s why it’s called a bonus tip! Consider grabbing a pair of polarized sunglasses so the sun isn't bothering your eyes when you are playing.
Stretch it Out!
Your muscles will take longer to loosen up so be sure to stretch more than you would if playing indoors or in warm weather. I personally bring my foam roller, jog a few down and backs, and make sure to get hit some dynamic stretches before I take the court.
Dynamic stretching is stretching while moving a specific muscle group repetitively. Examples of dynamic stretches are leg kicks and arm circles. This not only stretches your muscles but also gets your blood flowing - perfect for helping you get nice and loose for playing in the cold.
Bring Your Water Bottle
Water during the dead of winter? Don’t you mean to bring your thermos? According to Water Logic,
“As the weather cools, we find ourselves wrapping up in more layers and turning on the heaters. This artificially warm environment is coupled with the dry air of artificial heating which leads to winter dehydration. Winter dehydration is harder to notice – particularly if you are not sweating and you are feeling cool.”
I personally try to drink a glass or bottle of water prior to playing and try to maintain a steady diet of water during my match so I don’t lose my hydration levels as I play.
Restring Your Racquet
The pace of a ball is determined by several factors, including the bounce of the ball. With a lessened bounce during the winter, the ball will naturally come off the racket slower, making it harder to generate more speed and power. To offset that, I recommend stringing your racket 2 pounds lower in winter.
“But, what are two pounds going to do for me?” - You to yourself right now.
In general, rackets strung on the lower end of the tension range provide more power than tightly strung rackets. When you hit a tennis ball, the impact causes the strings to deform or stretch. Energy from that impact is stored in the strings and then returned to the ball as it rebounds off your racket. Loose strings stretch more than tight strings and therefore, store more energy; so, when the energy is returned to the ball, you have a more powerful shot.
Hopefully, a few of these tricks and tips will help you this winter! Remember, layer up, stretch out, bring your water bottle, and restring your racquet. Oh, and have fun!