Keeping Cool on the Tennis Court
Heat exhaustion is a major contributor to poor performance on the tennis court. There are several causes of heat exhaustion, including the weather, surface temperatures, hydration, inappropriate clothing amongst many things. this article will deal with the main ways to keep cool on the tennis court.
Sweating is the body’s natural way of keeping cool, as when the sweat evaporates, the skin surface is cooled. It is therefore vital to be well hydrated before you start playing, and to continue taking in water as you play. Sweat is basically water, so have a couple of litres at the side of the court, and between games, take a few sips to keep the sweat flowing.
Loose clothing is best, to allow the air to travel over the sweaty skin to cool. As soon as you start feeling warm, remove any outer clothing like track suits, and continue playing in shorts or skirts and loose tops. If you are playing in direct sunlight, the sun can add to the heat on your head, so it would be advisable to wear a light coloured hat, or headgear.
The colour of the clothes is important too, as lighter colours reflect the heat away from the body, whilst darker clothing absorbs heat, and just makes you hotter!
The materials used in the clothing you are wearing can also assist. Many sports clothing manufacturers are making ‘breathable’ clothing now, that helps the air to cool the player down.
Some players wrap a water soaked cloth around the neck, as this is where the blood supply to the head is closest to the skin. This can help to cool the blood supply going to the head.
Surface temperatures can also have a serious effect on increasing body temperature. On a hot day, the court surface can transmit the heat through footwear, increasing the heat in the feet. Proper tennis shoes are designed to prevent this from happening
Take a short break between games, and in direct sunlight, try to find a bit of shade. Fan yourself down with a towel, and don’t forget to take on some water.