View Full Version : Outdoor Courts

08-24-2007, 11:43 AM
I have a kinda "weird" problem. I can't play on any outdoor court.

I play about 2-3 times a week, total 5-9 hours. Most of it (95% of it) is indoors with my instructor(s). Whenever I'm playing somebody in a match indoors, I can hit devastating groundstrokes (I completely rip forehands and I am really accurate with my backhand) have a first serve around 75-80 (and actually get it in 65% of the time) and can beat the majority of my opponents. Whenever I go outdoors (mainly my school's courts), I get completely annihilated. My forehands sail into the fence, my volleys are completely inaccurate, my backhands end up in the alleys, my toss (for my serve) is way behind my head and the fastest serve I've gotten in was around 60. My first serve percentage drops to around 5% and I double fault around 10% of the time.

What is wrong with me?!!!

BTW thanks for reading all of this, I'll appreciate any and all advice

08-24-2007, 11:53 AM
I go through this when I switch from indoors to outdoors in the summer and then back indoors in the fall.

I believe its related to 3 factors:

difference is speed of surface: indoor surfaces are sometimes really fast and so your timing will be off when you switch surfaces (explains most of your problems).

environment factors; wind, sun, air resistance, background distubances. these all make playing outdoors more difficult to someone who plays indoors often.

Roof vs. no roof: When I go outdoors I can't serve for at all for a week or so. The roof makes it easier to view the ball and follo through the service motion.

When I move outdoors I try to stay outdoors all summer and usually get adjusted within a week or so.

08-25-2007, 04:21 PM
Neverstopplaying, thanks. I guess you're right. I always did think that my school's courts were a bit slower... However, if it usually takes people about a week to adjust, how is it that most of the good players at my school usually play indoors and then the week of tryouts come out and blow away the competition? One of my friends doesn't even go outside from November to the week of tryouts (around March or so) to play tennis and completely blasted me away on the outdoor courts.

If I sounded a bit critical of your advice, sorry, it's not meant to be.

08-25-2007, 05:07 PM
Obviously, there are many factors at play, here. Since you don't even know the root of your own problem, think of how much more difficult it is to come to a conclusion from a distance.

What we can do, however, is list possible sources of the transitioning difficulty.

a) Perception- The feedback from an indoor cort is different from what you find outdoors. The room echoes, sometimes booms, there is a finite- closed in feeling, the lighting is bland and uniform.

Moving outdoors, the light is garish (in comparison) the perspective is open and full of distractions. It may take some people longer than others to adjust.

b) Pressure- There is a different kind of pressure in trying out for a place on a team than playing against opponents that you are familliar with- basically for practice or fun.

c) Court differences and style of play. Some people may have a style of play that allows then to adapt to diffeent court situations with less transition time. You may not be one of them.

I (for example), at a league match, like to get to the courts early and warm up and get the feel of the courts and hit hundreds of balls- a partner on my team arrives exactly on time, walks straight onto the court, prefers not to take serves or to warm up- and hits an ace on this first serve.

So, what can you do about it?

1) If the indoor courts are fast, you might open your can of balls 10 or 12 hours before play during the week before tryouts. That may help slow them down and help with the transition.

2) If you know you have had transition problems in the past, you might start hitting on some outdoor courts a couple weeks before the school matches.

3) Try playing with a wider range of players with different styles, so that you feel comfortable and confident against anyone you might be paired against.

08-26-2007, 07:50 AM
Thanks bagumbawalla.

08-26-2007, 09:39 AM
Like said above, Its all because your used to the controlled environment of the indoor courts. You just have to get outside more to adjust your strokes to the courts.

If your forehand is sailing on you, add more spin to it, or just take some heat off it untill your comfortable enough hit the big one.

On your backhand and volleys, usually accuracy problems are a result of poor footwork, which in your case means that your court is playing alot different than the indoor one, which means your just gonna have to practice more on it.

And anytime you play outside your going to have to tweak your toss to get it in the right spot for you to hit, for you it sounds like you need to get it way more in front of you. Or if your first serve isn't doing so good, try hitting a slightly harder second serve for your first.

Hope this helps!

08-26-2007, 10:00 AM
One idea that you might find helpful is if you feel that the background of the outdoor environment and the different lighting make seeing the ball difficult (your decription of problems seem like you are timing the ball, whether groundie or toss, poorly), you could consider the sunglasses that Bolle' makes specifically for seeing Optic Yellow better (while muting other colors).

08-26-2007, 01:29 PM
Personally, I find that the wind is the biggest factor. Even if it's a light breeze it tends to have an effect on the ball flight. And when you play indoors for an entire season, you get used to the ball flying true with no changes at all.