Winter weather is here. Don’t stop playing though and don’t be miserable while you play. Here are a few time-tested pieces of advice for the cold months:
Use regular-duty balls instead of extra-duty. Refrigerated rubber doesn’t bounce well so don’t compound the dead-ball syndrome with heavy, thick-cover balls.
Dress in layers so you can peel as you begin sweating. A hat retains body heat. Cover you ears, especially in the wind. Also, put your playing hand in an old sock (cut a hole for your racket handle) so you can feel the handle (gloves don’t work well).
Play with a loosely-strung racket. Tight strings and cold, hard balls can hurt your arm and shoulder.
Warm up adequately. You’ll know you’re ready to play when you break a sweat.
Pick singles instead of doubles. Singles keeps you moving and it’s good for you too.
Avoid the windy days. Wind is tough to play in even when the weather is perfect. Cold wind is the worst.
Play in the warm afternoon if you can.
Always accept an invitation to play indoors!
Don’t be a wimp! There are only a couple of weeks each winter when it’s just too nasty to play. Serious, hard-core players will be out there and they’ll be one step ahead of you when spring arrives.
Gary Sherby is tennis director at Racquets and Togs Tennis Center, 115 Bradford St., just off the downtown square. His tennis tips appear Sundays.