Dear parents, how many times did you say that? Dear coaches, how many times did you hear that? These are the words that are present especially during the summer time. In Europe it is regular to practice tennis in temperature over 30C in june/july. Unfortunately too many parents believe that playing in hot environment put their kids at higher risk and they decide to cancel training sessions. Is it ok? Is this decision smart? Here are my thoughts.
Parents think that high temperature can negatively affect young players’ bodies. This notion is right only if the preparation to practice session is not done properly. If we (coaches and parents) take care of appropriate steps before stepping on the court we can be sure that practice session will be safe and will lead to improvements in the game. So what are the areas that we should consider when temperature is going up?
1. Hydrate more
Hydration’s needs go up when temperature is high. Many junior players don’t pay enough attention to hydration so many times they step on the court already dehydrated. Parents should make sure that players consistently drink water at home so their bodies won’t shut down after few sprints on the court. Don’t forget to also take more water with you on the court because you have to rehydrate before, during, and after workout.
2. Provide energy
This point is exactly the same like the one with hydration. Take care of energy balance and you can be sure that your child is safe in any weather conditions. Make sure that your kid has banana in tennis bag to maintain high level of energy during the training session.
3. Wear hat and light-colored clothes
This is a little detail but it can make a difference! Protecting your head from sun is important to be able to function effectively in hot environment. Light-colored clothing absorbs less heat from the sun so it is easier to regulate body temperature.
4. Use sunscreen
2 minutes are enough to put sunscreen on your skin and be sure that your health is protected during sunny days. Tennis suppose to be healthy activity but if you are not prepared this beautiful sport can be responsible for sun burns or even a cancer!
5. Ask coach for a plan
Don’t assume that your coach’s job is to make the most demanding practice session just on this given day. Ask your coach what kind of plan he has to make players improve in this difficult environment. Smart coach will make adjustments!
So as you can see these 5 preparation steps will take care of your child’s safety. It is not the matter of temperature – it is all about preparation! Now you know what to do to effectively practice when it is really hot and to not cancel the lesson. But why should you bother to practice when others are resting in shade? This is why:
- Tennis is an outdoor sport so you will be forced to compete even when the temperature is really high. Without practicing in these demanding conditions you don’t have chances to come even close to your best performance when it counts
There is no better practice method than going against obstacles. Weather can be one of them. If your child is able to be motivated when it is over 30C it is a great sign that this player has a bright future in front. Encourage your player – not justify!
Tennis is about building and revealing a strong character. If you keep your kid away from difficulties he/she will also fail in life. Keep it in mind and focus on preparation – not on weather conditions.
No more cancellations. Parents – understand. Coaches – educate. Players – improve!
Marcin Bieniek is a professional tennis coach and founder of instructional website http://tennisisland.us. Marcin has been working with USTA, top 100 ITF and WTA/ATP players. He is a frequent contributor to TennisPro and TenisKlub magazines and he was a speaker at International Coaching Tennis Symposium 2016 at Hilton Head Island, USA.