Seems like a no-brainer, right? You wear clothes when you play tennis. And shoes if you can. I’m sure there are people in Kenya that go without shoes to do everything, but the proper footwear is probably a good thing to have stateside. The proper gym wear is important when playing tennis, as Mark Twain said, “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” Really funny and totally true.
There is a certain amount of confidence a new set of clothes comes with, just like a shave and a haircut or a nice warm shower. It refreshes you and makes you ready to move on to the next challenge. Competing in tennis is no different than going to the gym or starting a new climb, perhaps taking on a taller mountain for example. You want to be at your best and the right set of footwear, pants and shirt is essential.
So let’s start at the bottom and work up. Keeping your feet fit and healthy is as important as your overhead stroke when you serve. Every step you take puts tremendous pressure on your joints, especially your ankles and knees and if you don’t protect these very important parts of your anatomy, your tennis game is in trouble.
Get the proper footwear before you even step on the court and continue to monitor the condition of your shoes while you play, keeping a solid account of which way the tread deteriorates, in particular the outside or inside of your soles. If one portion or the other becomes worn away, you have an alignment issue with your legs, perhaps even in your hips, and this should be dealt with by a health professional.
Next is what kind of pants or shorts you should wear. Depending on the particular climate you find yourself in, this should be an easy choice but no less important. You want to be comfortable when you play tennis. How you feel about what you wear, the confidence boost it gives you, matters once you hit the courts.
You want pants or shorts that both support you and allow you to move quick, as agility is a very important factor on how well you play. You can choose form fitting long pants that will keep you warm or some open leg shorts that allow fast movement back and forth across the court, making sure you can field the balls that are coming towards you.
Next is the right kind of shirt, one that both keeps you warm or cooler if you are in a hot climate, and one that allows the proper movement. Keep the sweat from building up is important too and there are plenty of climate control type materials on the market that allow your torso to breathe. This type of polyester material is great for letting your skin get the air it needs and keeping sweat away from the skin and into the shirt so you can stay cool.
The next is the right type of headgear, which should be either a headband to keep the sweat from getting into your eyes, which many pro players prefer or a nice lightweight hat that will also keep any long hair up so you can keep an eye on the ball or your opponent where they should be. Many players enjoy wearing a golf type of hat for tennis playing, one that has a portion of the top taken off so it accomplishes two jobs; the first is to protect your eyes from the sun’s glare by having a big enough brim and the second is to keep hair up and away.
Some other extra gear could be wrists bands to keep the sweat of your arms off your hands so you can keep a strong grip on the racket. This extra bit should not be forgotten.