The tennis courts are 200 percent more crowded in the summer, as this season is the most popular time of year to play. That’s a statistic I made up, but it seems like it could be true judging from the number of people we have eagerly calling the MyTennisLessons office ready to refresh their skills.
Yes, June and July offer plenty of opportunities for players to attend camps, visit tennis resorts and travel with their teams. The problem is, while summer is a great time to play tennis, it’s also the most dangerous. When the sun’s out (and our guns are out) we’re more susceptible to things like sunburn or dehydration. Stay safe on the court this summer and stick to these safety precautions and tips for tennis players.
Think you’re invincible to the sun? Tell that to your sore, sunburned flesh after you’ve been out on the court for a few hours without having applied sunscreen. The best way to prevent sunburn (and worse, skin cancer) is to lather up.
- Wear broad-spectrum SPF 30 sunscreen. Don’t bother buying anything of “greater strength” than SPF 30 because it doesn’t actually exist. While there’s bottles of SPF 50, 70 and even 90 on the shelf, they aren’t more protective and will you a false sense of security. But do look for the “broad-spectrum” label, which means the lotion shields against both UVA and UVB rays.
- Reapply. Reapply. Reapply. If you’re playing tennis correctly, you’ll be sweating a lot, which means sweating off your sunscreen. Keep reapplying even if your sunscreen is labeled as waterproof.
People who stand by the water cooler all day have a rep for being slackers, but don’t be ashamed to constantly drink throughout the duration of a tennis lesson or hit. It’s not difficult to get dehydrated if you’re playing under the hot sun for hours. And getting too dehydrated can be dangerous.
- Make sure you drink plenty of fluids not only during, but also before playing tennis. Take a water break at least every 20 minutes or more frequently if the heat is extreme.
- If you’ll be out on the courts for more than an hour, alternate between water and a sports drink, like Gatorade or Vitamin Water, to replenish minerals lost when you sweat.
It’s a great day on the tennis court if your forehand is on fire, but a dangerous one if your body is heating up. Heat stroke happens when exposure to extreme heat affects the body’s ability to regulate temperature. Its main symptom is a body temperature of 105 degrees or greater, but can also cause patients to faint, vomit or have difficulty breathing.
- Heat stroke is associated with both sunburn and dehydration, so follow the recommendations for preventing the two.
- Avoid the court during the hottest parts of the day and don’t play at all if the heat index (measurement that takes into account both temperature and humidity) reaches above 105 degrees.
They may be small, but they can still ruin your day. A few blisters on on your feet are sure to keep you off the court for a while. Don’t be a fool — make sure your feet stay dry and cool.
- Choose your socks and shoes with care. Wearing a brand-new pair of sneakers for a tennis match probably isn’t a smart idea. Purchase some nylon or moisture-wicking for more breathability and sweat absorption. You can also double up on socks if you feel a blister coming on.
- For even more blister protection, try band-aids, like Blist-O-Ban, or a powder, like Body Glide anti blister balm.