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8 Ways to Stay Cool on the Court
Here are eight tips to keep your body cool even on the hottest days so you can perform well on the tennis court and recover quickly after your match.
Freeze Your Water Bottle
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Fill your water bottle half full and stick it in the freezer, the day before you plan to play. Don't tighten the lid all the way when it's in the freezer.
Before you head for the court, grab the bottle (and the chunk of ice inside it) and top it off with some fresh water. You'll be surprised how long the ice will last, ensuring you have a cold drink even on the hottest days.
Pay Attention to Your Feet
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Hard courts trap heat and then send that right up through your feet. It's essential to wear quality tennis shoes to keep the bottoms of your feet and the rest of your body cool.
Wear flip flops to the court and change into your shoes right before your match. Wear socks made of wicking material to pull sweat away from your skin and prevent blisters. Stash an extra pair of socks in your bag for those extra-long days.
Tend to Your Neck
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Your body's pulse points, such as behind the ears, the temples and the wrists, are sensitive to the cold. Sticking your wrists under cold water, or placing ice on your neck, can produce a cooling effect. When you're on the court, use a bandana or wrist bands soaked in cold water to help you stay cool. Several companies make so-called cooling bandanas, which are designed to stay cold longer.
Dress Like You're Playing at Wimbledon
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White or light-colored clothing helps reflect the sun's heat, not absorb it. On hot summer days try to incorporate as much light-colored or white clothing as you can. White hats can be especially effective.
Hydrate and Re-Hydrate
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Your body loses a lot of water and sodium on hot days. If you're match is scheduled for a hot day, start drinking water the night before. Once you're on the court, drink a combination of water and electrolytes. Avoid caffeine and alcohol as they promote dehydration.
Choose Your Snacks Carefully
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Long matches and arduous tennis lessons or clinics can work up an appetite. Instead of reaching for salty snack or bar, try a hydrating food instead. Melon,sweet peppers, citrus and cucumbers are all packed with water.
Pick Your Play Time Wisely
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Move your weekly lesson, clinic or round robin to the evenings during the summer months. Don't like playing at night? Try early mornings. Be warned, in hot locales you might find it difficult to score a court at 7 a.m. If you do play during the day, avoid the 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. slot.
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Wear hats or visor to keep the sun from blasting your head and face. Hats with big rims or those that have a drape off the back will help keep the neck cooler. Sit in the shade between games. Look for shade spots that you can use, if only for a few seconds, in between points. It'll keep you cool and may even give you an edge over a tough opponent.