This is the time of year when many players start to venture outside for their tennis matches. The wind tends to make tennis quite challenging, especially in the early spring. In addition, those of you going from indoors to outdoors have to adjust to all of the imperfections when playing in the elements.
There are several keys to playing effectively in the wind. First, watch the ball from your opponent's racquet all the way through the contact with your racquet. Next, be prepared to use your feet to get to the ball as quickly as possible so you can adjust if the wind changes where you anticipated the ball to be. Finally, hit your shots to a big target and expect that the wind is going to move the ball from where you are aiming.
Winning a point in the wind is often a result of being able to hit three or four good solid shots. Making contact in the middle of the strings is going to be a challenge and if you are doing that better than your opponent, there is a great chance that the match will go in your favor.
Remember that all of the things I have stated about playing a match in the wind are also applicable to a match in perfect conditions. The difference is that the consequences of not following these ideas are much greater if the wind is blowing. I often use the idea that "you are playing more against the wind than you are your opponent" because if you can handle the wind better than your opponent, you will usually win the match.
Challenge yourself to watch the ball closer than ever, move your feet towards the ball as quickly as possible, and focus on good solid shots rather than trying to hit that winner near the lines.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at email@example.com or call 865-300-7323