I’m sitting here writing you this email on one of the windiest days here in Oklahoma. We’ve been on court all day and it’s been interesting, to say the least. It makes me wonder….
Do you like playing in the wind?
Well, I can tell you my client's answer to that question this morning was…
“NOT AT ALL, WIND'S A B**CH”
It totally caught me off guard haha, but I completely understand where she is coming from.
Truthfully I find in most cases players hate the wind because they don’t know what they should be doing and they feel like they can’t play their game (or play it well that is) on a windy day.
It’s all about playing smart, playing percentages and learning to use the wind to your advantage.
Let’s outline some basics of playing in the wind first.
When you’re with the wind (wind is blowing at your back):
- Higher Heavy Balls: This is a high percentage ball that creates a huge opportunity to push back your opponent (using the wind advantageously) and have them hitting balls outside their strike zone.
- Court Position Forward: Be ready to move forward because the wind will slow the ball down and often fall short in the court on your side. It’s not about hitting winners on those balls, but more about recognizing them early so you can be in the best position possible to hit a solid shot and take advantage when you’re able.
- Court Position Backwards: You are able to move back off the baseline on the high lofty balls if needed. This gives you the opportunity to let the ball come back down into your strike zone.
- Attack Short Balls: Since you are going to be moving forward more on this side, you can look to attack more short balls. But keep in mind, when you are with the wind, you still need a heavier topspin ball (which creates good margins and brings the ball back down into the court).
When you’re against the wind (wind is blowing into your face):
- Drive Through The Ball: You want to cut through the wind on this side with a little flatter ball. It’s all about getting the depth to your opponent so they can’t attack. This is why you still need some topspin for margin, but much less than when you are with the wind.
- Court Position: You will look to take the ball on the rise because if you move backwards the ball will often jump up out of your strike zone and even sometimes over your head. Your goal is to neutralize the point with your on the rise ball, you should not be going for a winner from that position.
- Slice: This is a very effective shot when used correctly. It helps the ball to slow down and stay low out of your opponent's strike zone.
I’m not saying that you will ever LOVE to play in the wind, but I can say you will learn to use it to your advantage and be able to control the baseline with your groundstrokes with these key factors.
Make sure to look out for PART 2, where we discuss serving in the wind and transitioning to the net in the wind.