January 23, 2011

Dress To Play Great Tennis In The Cold

Does your tennis ball look like this?
I want to play tennis outside but its just so cold!

Here in the U.S., we are all being absolutely hammered weather-wise with record-setting cold temperatures and mounds and mounds of snow across the country. In Houston, where I play, we don't have the snow but we've definitely got the cold. Its been down in the 30's recently and, while I know that doesn't sound too bad if you're reading this in Massachusetts or Ohio, I also know you're not trying to play outdoor tennis in December. But we're attempting it here in Houston.

So, for those of us who can get outside for tennis in this FREEEEEZING weather, what do you wear to play your best without getting frostbite? How do you stay "in-it-to-win-it" when you really just want to stay "in-the-house-and-drink-hot-chocolate"?

The secret to playing, and enjoying, any outdoor sport in this icy weather is to wear lots and lots of layers. I know - its uncomfortable to swing at balls in a bulky ensemble. But its even worse to stiffen up because you're numb with cold. Here's how I layer on the gear to achieve maximum warmth with minimum interference:

The top looks like this:
  • tank top (a racer back tank with built-in bra cuts down on the bulk)
  • long-sleeved wicking t-shirt
  • fleece pullover or hoodie
  • ski-type vest (the best option) or jacket (I have one that's quilted and not too heavy) (and pink!)
On the bottom?
  • tights (of course)
  • yoga pants (my preference, ball can be tucked in the back) or skort (ball gets tucked into the shorts)
  • wind pants (just for getting out on the court and maybe for warm-up, I for one cannot play in these)
And the rest of the outfit:
  • hat (while a ski-type hat may seem necessary, even a regular baseball-type cap will keep your head warm)
  • gloves (maybe, I can warm-up in gloves but can't play in them, if I need gloves to play, its too cold to play)
  • scarf (OK, this is totally worn just for looks, I have way too many cute winter scarves for living in Houston)
The great thing about layers is they can be removed or added to as needed. You warm up with the big coat, the wind pants and the gloves but then take those off once your blood is pumping and you're ready to move. You get down to your t-shirt after the first set but then add back the fleece pullover if the sky gets overcast or the wind picks up.

I know you're like me - you want to play tennis all the time, even when it feels like you're whacking at snowballs. Wearing layers is a good way to make sure that, even in the winter, you're out on the court working on your game.

For more great tips on playing in the cold, check out this Tennis Fixation post: Cold Weather Tennis.

© Kim Selzman 2011 All Rights Reserved

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