In some countries tennis is played outside all year long. In other countries season is divided into indoor season and outdoor season. It doesn’t matter where we live because we will always have an opportunity to play some balls with no roof over our heads. It means that opponent won’t be the only challenge we will have to deal with. Weather will be too.
Conditions to play tennis can vary every day. It makes this sport so specific because different weather conditions force players to apply different technical and tactical skills. It is impossible to play exactly the same when it is a sunny day and when it is really windy. Awareness of current situation, plan for the match as also having skills to execute it are abilities to players should develop every day to be ready for changes in the weather.
Many times players struggle mentally when they play in the conditions that they can’t call „comfortable”. One of the biggest challenges for players at all levels of performance is wind. Wind has a big impact on the depth, trajectory and direction of the ball so that is why players make more mistakes even while using own favorite shots. To cut down on own errors and increase consistency of own shots players have to apply specific adjustments into own game to choose the most effective tactic for the particular weather condition.
Good players can play well in all conditions. They are prepared for the challenge technically, tactically, physically and mentally. They understand that weather is another obstacle on their road to the victory and they treat in the same way they treat real opponent. Analysis of the condition is needed to choose the most effective tools so players should use time before the match or break between the points to include windy condition into own plan for the next points.
There are few aspects that have to be considerer while being on the court in windy condition:
- Mental approach
That is the most important thing. Without proper mindset it is impossible to play quality tennis when the wind blows. The biggest mistake play can make is to treat uncomfortable weather condition as a danger. Wind is another obstacle like good forehand of the opponent or pain in the knee so players have to accept that they can’t control the wind and they can maintain good level of play by adjusting own game
- Different sides = different tactics
We have to understand that wind usually blows in one direction. It means that switching sides on the court will force player to change own tactical approach and technical execution. While having the wind blowing from behind us it is effective to play with more spin because wind will add power to the shots. On the other hand if the wind blows in our face it will stop our balls so adding more power to the shots will allow to keep the balls quite deep. There is also one other situation when the wind blows from the side. It this case player should know that the ball will be pushed to the side of the direction of the win so positioning to the ball and tactical decisions have to include proper adaptations.
- Smart target
If the wind blows there is no point to aim close to the line. Until the ball bounces on the court wind can push the ball to either direction so players should aim at bigger targets away from the lines to maintain desired consistency. Even when you have easy ball to attack you should still aim further from the lines because there is a chance that your opponent won’t be able to deal both with your power and wind.
- Accept mistakes
If you think that your performance during windy day will be at the same level as during the regular sunny day you are wrong. You have to accept that you will make more mistakes than usual. However keep in mind that your opponent will do them too. It is all about finding proper solutions and making few less mistakes than your opponent. If you will execute this plan you will increase your chances to win the match during windy condition.
We can definitely call tennis „the game of adaptation”. Players have to adapt to own performance during particular day, to different opponent, to various surfaces as also to the weather conditions. For the most players wind is the most difficult condition that they struggle with but with proper preparation even the heaviest wind won’t deprive you of winning the match. Incorporate specific technical, tactical, physical and mental factors and you will have fun every time on the court.