Spring is the season known for its wind, and that element can cause major difficulties on the tennis court. In this month's installment of Coaches Q and A, we ask Andy Brandi of the Harold Solomon Tennis Institute in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for some tips on playing in blustery conditions. Andy's advice:
Don’t we all hate to play tennis in the wind? It can be challenging; it can be frustrating; it can actually be a lot of fun!
Here are a few simple and effective guidelines to use when playing in the wind:
Most of the time, we act like the wind is only affecting our side of the court. Prepare for the reality that it is going to be ugly tennis and that it will be that way for both players. The one who mentally deals with it the best will be the most effective player, and the most effective player is going to win.
Concentrate on good footwork. You need to take small steps in order to adjust, to be in the right position. You must move your feet to the bounce. If you wait for the ball, it might never get to you.
Large safety margins are imperative. Do not hit the ball close to the lines. Start points up the middle and let the wind shift the ball for you.
Spin is the best way to control the ball and keep it in the court. Use topspin on your groundstrokes. Use a spin serve.
Before every point, check which way the wind is blowing and then plan your strategy. If you are with the wind, use lots of spin and maybe some high heavy groundstrokes to force your opponent farther back and allow you to come forward into the court. Against the wind, you will need to flatten your strokes out and maybe use some drop shots or angles.
One thing you must realize is that it is easier to hit groundstrokes than volleys in windy weather. When at net, the wind can force the ball into your body. It also will affect whether you can run around your backhand at the baseline.
Finally, have a sense of humor. The ball is going to do a lot of crazy things. The best advice is to play with the wind as your friend and not your enemy. It will make you a successful windy day player. Good luck!
Do you have a question for Andy or Harold? If so, please send it to clewis[at]zootennis[dot]com with the phrase Coaches Q and A in the subject line.
Monday, April 27, 2009