Are you struggling to play in the wind?

Nobody plays their best tennis in the wind. But, someone has to win the match...

by Federico Coppini
Are you struggling to play in the wind?
© TennisWorld

Nobody plays their best tennis in the wind. But, someone has to win the match... and I'm going to help it be you! When it comes to playing tennis in the wind, the first thing that will have a huge effect on your performance is your mindset.

Here are a few thoughts to help you think more positively about competing on windy days: Your opponent will not play their best: Although it's going to be tough for you to play your best tennis, it will be the same for your opponent.

By understanding the tips I'm about to give you, you'll have the upper hand.

The wind is a leveler

Competing on windy days makes the gap between you and your opponent smaller. If you're playing someone stronger than you, you'll have a better chance of beating them.

If you're playing a weaker player, they'll have a better chance against you, but knowing this can help you to stay focused. The wind can help you: Think about it this way: the wind can help your shots to have more power, more movement, and more margin for error if you use them in the right way.

Now that you're thinking a little more positively about playing in the wind, I'm going to share some technical and tactical tips which you can put into practice straight away. Follow these, and you'll end up looking forward to your next windy match!

Tip #1 - Feel the strength and direction of the wind.

Use your warm-up to figure out which way the wind is blowing, its strength, and its frequency. Understanding the wind will make a huge difference in how you perform in it.

Tip #2 - Follow the wind

Your positioning is always vital to hitting great shots, but even more so in the wind. If you feel strong winds into your back, you should move forward - Your opponent's shots will travel slower and land shorter as they're "against" the wind.

If you feel strong winds pushing you backward, then take a step back - Your opponent's shots are going to be faster and deeper as they're "with" the wind. The same goes for crosswinds... If the wind is pushing you left, step that way to prepare for the ball to move, and the same for right.

Tip #3 - Focus on footwork

This is key!! You'll have to move your feet even more than usual. As the wind can be inconsistent, you're going to need to stay on your toes ready to make last-second adjustments before you hit.

Tip #4 - Compact swings

It can be helpful to play with shorter backswings in the wind.

If you have a big backswing, the ball has more time to move around between the start of your swing to your point of contact. With a shorter, more compact backswing, less can go wrong.

Tip #5 - Play with variety when against the wind.

When the wind is coming down the court against you, this is a great opportunity to mix things up.

Drop shots are a great option as the wind will make them land shorter and will stop them from traveling toward your opponent. Lobs are easier to hit as you can hit harder without the risk of them going long, and you also have more freedom to hit bigger shots!

Tip #6 - Take the ball early when 'with' the wind.

When the wind is on your back, you have the perfect opportunity to put your opponent under pressure by taking the ball early. Their shots will be slow and sitting up nicely for you to step into and aim deep.

You won't need to add too much speed as the wind will do that for you. Coming into the net is also a good option as passing shots will be difficult for your opponent against the wind.

Tip #7 - Utilize crosswinds.

If the wind is blowing sideways across the court, you can use it to play with bigger margins.

If you aim into the wind, it can help to slow your ball down, keeping it in play. If you aim with the wind, it can help to make your shot move away from your opponent with more speed. Above all, make sure that you practice in the wind.

If you avoid training on windy days, you're wasting a perfect opportunity to gain an advantage over your opponents. Good luck!