Impact of heat on the body

As the hot season approaches very quickly, you should be aware of the impact of heat on the body. High heat and humidity lead to two problems in the exercising body, the first is an increase in core body temperature and the second is dehydration. 

Increased body temperature (hyperthermia) leads to decreased muscle endurance, which means the muscle’s ability to contract repeatedly or in a sustained manner over long periods of time. High core temperature also causes a shift in energy production from aerobic to anaerobic mechanisms, which means the body has to use up its muscle energy stores more rapidly. 

Unfortunately, during a longer athletic event, the rate of adding energy (sports drinks, energy bars, gels, etc) can’t keep up with the rate of losing energy when heat and humidity are high. Finally, high body temperature causes a decrease in blood flow to the heart as blood pools in the limbs. If the heart doesn’t get as much blood, it can’t pump as much oxygenated blood back to the muscles. What does this mean for tennis players who play outdoor ?

Transition from outdoor to indoor tennis

Many of us have got used to playing in different kinds of natural elements like sun, wind or humidity for the last few months. The external factors will not be relevant once you transition indoors, and the game inside is very pure and controlled.
It’s important to keep in mind a few tips as you move your game indoors:

  • It’s easier to move from outdoor tennis to indoor compared to going from indoor to outdoor. The climate and temperature are controlled, and the spot you hit the ball is usually where it goes so there will be no need for you to plan for a crosswind.
  • The game will likely seem “faster” in other words, the ball will come to you quicker than you have probably gotten used to.
  • Typically, but not always the court surfaces themselves will be faster too. This fact alone can alter your strategy quite a bit, and it will take a slight adjustment period. Because of the court surface, usually a slice will tend to stay lower and be more effective than heavy topspin. Likewise, on the serve, a slicing, more penetrating serve will be more effective than it would be outdoors on acrylic surfaces.
  • Indoor tennis typically favors a more aggressive player. Since the game is faster, points tend to be shorter and favor big shot-makers. It also provides the ability for you to stand farther up in the court, or hugging the baseline, as opposed to standing too far behind the baseline. Since the ball coming at you isn’t likely to move around because of the elements, timing is easier and therefore opens up greater shot selection for you.
  • The bounce is pure indoors. There are very few bad or tricky bounces on most indoor courts, and therefore there are less adjustments you need to make with your racquet and your feet prior to playing a shot. This puts the onus on your stroke mechanics and playing indoors is a great chance to work on your game and specifically your strokes in a controlled environment.