Fall is here and that means the wind—and all the little annoyances it brings with it—is too. Plain and simple: Playing tennis in the wind can be a pain.
But just because you might not like the wind, that doesn't mean you can't use it to your advantage.
The wind can be an issue anytime you play outdoors. Some days are better than others, and some courts have better windscreens, trees or adjacent buildings that can block a lot of the wind. Here are five ways you can play more effectively in the wind.
1. Focus on Footwork
Proper footwork is often the biggest challenge in the wind. Lots of little steps are needed to make sudden adjustments. Players who take large steps as they prepare to hit can be caught off-guard when the wind picks up moves the ball before they can swing.
Keep your steps small so you can adjust your position to strike the ball cleanly.
2. Tweak Your Groundstrokes
Playing in the wind will force you to make adjustments in your ground strokes as well. Give yourself a larger margin of error when you aim for those corners and passing shots.
Remember, the harder you hit the ball, the less the wind will affect the ball as it travels to its destination. The slower you hit the ball, the more that wind will play havoc with the ball.
If the wind is giving your opponent troubles you may want the wind to push your shots around to keep your opponent off balance.
3. Adjust Your Swing
If you are someone with a huge backswing, you might consider shortening the back-swing to hit your shots. The bigger your back-swing the more time the ball has to move around from the start of your stroke to the point of contact.
When you are hitting into the wind try aiming a little higher than usual. If you use your normal ground strokes the wind will make your shots land shorter in the court, allowing your opponent to attack your shots more often. You also need to hit the ball harder to keep your shots deep.
Approach shots should be hit short and low. This will force your opponent to hit up to try to pass you at the net, which is tough to do, especially in the wind.