How to handle summer heat at the tennis court

Summer has many benefits for tennis players. You can play outside in the fresh air. There are plenty of tennis courts with different surfaces available. The prices for courts are lower than during autumn or winter. However, summer brings also some drawbacks. Anyone who did suffer from heatstroke or sunstroke knows what I am saying. How to handle summer heat at the tennis court is the main summer challenge tennis players face.

What Healthy Risk do you face?

Sometimes you do not have any other choice but play during the high temperatures in the direct sun. To get heat or sunstroke is much easier than you think. Even healthy young man or women can get sunstroke if they underrate hydration in summer. If you are taking any pills you should check how they influence your body during the heat. Many medicaments (e.g. for allergy, thyroid or blood pressure) impact thermoregulation ability of the body. People taking such medications are at higher risk to suffer from heat or sunstroke.

What to do at such moments? How to enjoy the tennis game and not risking your health? Here are my rules I follow during the summer.

Hydration is the core!

You probably bring your bottle of water to practice or game even in normal weather conditions. During the summer heat wave, you should care about your hydration regime more.

Hydration before the game or practice

Firstly, I try to drink a lot of water regularly before the match or practice. It does not mean I will drink two liters of water minutes before the game, but I will drink a little bit more like usual from the morning at the match/practice day.

Hydration during the game or practice

Unfortunately, I am not a pro tennis player, so there are no ball boys who would put my water bottles in a fridge or came with an ice towel during a break to help me cool off. Therefore I have to care about my hydration regime myself.

The basic rule is to bring enough water to the court. I always bring at least one liter per hour of playing (but one and a half liter is better). If I have scheduled a short practice session for one hour, I would bring one or one and a half liter of water with me. I would bring three or four liters for two hours match.

The exact amount depends also on actual temperature on the court. Higher the temperature, the more water I will need.

I try to drink a little bit of water after every second game (like tennis pros do) or every 5 to 10 minutes.

Keep in mind, it is always better to bring more water to the court than you need. The worst thing you can experience is missing the water at the end of the match. It will put you down not just physically but also mentally.

Hydration after the game or practice

I always try to hide into the shadow after the game. Then I take some shower to cool me off a little bit, take some light food (bananas etc.) and not surprisingly drink some water again. I also take some magnesium after the long game, to prevent any muscle cramps later. I use to drink more water also after the game during the rest of the day. I feel I need to refill the body with water sufficiently after any physical exercise I do during a summer heat and it definitely helps to regenerate.

Make also dress adjustments during the summer

Hydration is the most important thing during the summer heat at the tennis court. But I do not underrate way I dress during a play. I always use a cap on my head when I play on direct sun. I try to dress in breathable t-shirts and shorts mostly white colored. I try to avoid using any black or dark colored dress during summer.

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Listen to your body

Now you know rules I follow during a summer heat wave when I have no choice than to play during a day. However, the most important rule is to listen to your body. It gives you a pretty clear signal what to do and what not to do. I always adjust my tennis schedule to the message I am getting about fatigue from my body. Believe me, it is not worthy to risk your health during a hot sunny summer day because of a tennis.

Tell us more about how you handle summer heat at the tennis court in the comments section below.

Posted in BLOG, How to ..., Tennis Column.

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