You probably don´t like windy conditions while playing tennis, however that doesn´t mean you can´t use the wind to your advantage. You will see the wind as your friend once you understand how to play in windy conditions 🙂
The wind can be an issue when you play outdoor tennis, especially in the fall and winter months. Some courts are very well protected for the wind by for example wind screens or a bunch of trees, however some courts won´t be protected enough.
In this article we will give you general tips on what to focus on when playing in windy conditions, what to do when you have wind from the side, wind with you and when the wind is blowing against you.
When you play tennis in windy conditions there are a few things you should do to give yourself a the best chance of stepping of the court as the winner of the match.
- The first thing you need to understand and to accept is that you probably won´t play your best tennis in windy conditions. Now you know your level probably won´t be greatest, it´s important not to get frustrated. I know that´s easier said than done but remember that both you and your opponent have to deal with the same wind. The one that keeps calm and plays smarter tennis will probably win the match.
- The second important thing is to understand where the wind is coming from. Playing with the wind in your back will increase the speed of any shot coming off your racquet. Playing with the wind in your face on the other hand will ofcourse slow down the speed of your shots.
If the wind is blowing sideways make sure you adjust your shot selection based on where the wind is coming from. So, if the wind is blowing towards the right side of the field, play more balls to the left side of the field. This all sounds very easy but especially on amateur level players still forgot about it.
- The third thing to understand is this: Avoid the more risky shots. The more simple you are able to play in windy conditions, the better. For example that short cross forehand shot that you normally always put into the court, is highly likable to fly out on these days when playing towards the wrong direction wind wise. For aggresive players this idea mind sound very boring, however you should still try to go for the shots you feel very comfortable with. Just stay away from the lines a bit more than usual 🙂
- The last tip for playing in windy conditions might actually be the most important one. PAY EXTRA ATTENTION TO YOUR FOOTWORK. While quick footwork should always be part of your game, when playing in windy conditions it´s even more important. If the wind is blowing the blow a bit away from you, you will need to be prepared to make a few small but quick adjustment steps just before hitting the ball. If you are not paying extra attention to your footwork you might stand still too quick thinking you are ready for the ball, which on windy days will result in poor timing and therefor framing the ball.
So these were the general tips you should implement no matter where the wind is blowing from. Let´s dive into the more specific wind direction tips.
WIND AGAINST YOU (wind in your face)
- Use your dropshot more often, play it with a bit more power compared to normal because of the wind direction.
- Hit shorter balls if your opponent is not comfortable coming closer to the net or is not comfortable attacking the ball, the wind in your face will make the ball even slower.
- High 1st serve percentage. Since your serves will go slower than usual thanks to the wind, it´s not smart to go for for aces. Use the serve you are the most comfortable with, without giving your opponent a lot of chance to attack the return ofcourse. A slice serve or a kick/spin serve might be a good option for these windy conditions.
WIND WITH YOU (wind in your back)
- Play shots with more spin than usual when having the wind in your back, adding spin to your shots will help them to drop down before the baseline
- If you decide not to play your shot with much spin, make sure to play your groundstrokes low over the net. If you will play your shots too high over the net, they will fly out very often.
- Attack the net. Your opponent will have a hard time hitting a passing shot, their shots will go slower because of the wind while you can keep pressing your opponent with faster volleys/smashes than normal.
- Imagine a smaller court, the baseline of your opponent will come 1-1,5 meter more infront than it actually is. This will allow you to still hit the ball strong but now you will actually keep the ball in the field.
- Let´s say the wind is blowing from your left to your right. A great tip that will help you to put more balls into the court is the following: Try to imagine the side line to be 1 meter more to the left. With this idea your opponent´s left side of the field is bigger than the right. This will for sure help you to decrease your mistakes when you are playing with wind from the side.
Next time you will step on the court the first thing you want to check is where the wind is coming from. From now on, you will always be aware of where the wind is coming from.
Learn to enjoy the battle on the court also in windy conditions. The wind can be your friend, but also your enemy. It´s up to you 🙂