Most tennis leagues have some rules guiding match play and the weather. Sometimes, though, players are tempted to stretch those rules in order to get a match in. When rain is the question, the answer is pretty clear. The courts are too wet to play. This summer it appears that heat is going to be the significant weather challenge. We all know how much hydration matters when the temperatures creep up, but we also forget that to be hydrated we have to take in enough water every day, not just as preparation for an outdoor event. Every tennis player I know seems to have a system or routine that helps ensure that they will not have to cut short their court time. You also have to consider that many tennis centers do not have shaded areas for the players. You are in direct sunlight, high temps, and exerting your energy. You simply must work out a plan. Some basics for hydration:
Water is still the winner. Don’t wait until you are thirsty to drink. If you are thirsty, you’ve waited too long.
Eat fruits and vegetables, especially those with water–lettuce, watermelon, grapes, tomatoes, etc.
Fruit and vegetable juices can be a nice addition to your water regime.
Sports drinks are beneficial as you approach and/or during your tennis match or other activities. (Keep a cooler courtside.)
Some basics to tackle the heat:
Invest in a chair that has a shade cover or bring an umbrella for courtside play breaks.
Keep a towel in ice water to cool yourself off a bit at changeovers. (I recently started keeping one in an old tennis ball can. Repurposed use.)
Between sets, when a break is allowed, find shade.
Consider a portable, personal fan. They come in handy if there are delays or during short breaks.
Wear light clothing and sunscreen.
Sometimes, it is just best to reschedule. If you can control the time of play, look for the cooler option. Heat exhaustion, dehydration, or cramping all have the ability to keep you off the court for days, so err on the side of caution. We all want to play, and playing safely keeps us playing.