Lights a problem?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by NLBwell, Sep 8, 2012.

  1. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Just played a tournament match under the lights - beautiful night, no wind, perfect temperature. Lights are actually pretty decent as far as most courts. Problem is that I hadn't played an outdoor match under the lights in years. Lost 6-0, 6-2 to someone I woundn't think that I would lose to very often. Barely won a point in the first set, just couldn't see the ball to contact it. Started to get some idea of where the ball was in the second set - or at least thought so until a serve I never saw hit me in the groin area (and he didn't have a big serve, thankfully). Couple other guys from my USTA team also played that night. One lost the first set 6-0 before winning the match in the end. The other played a guy he would normally beat 6-0 and was on serve late in the first set when the other guy had to retire.
    I used to play a lot under the lights many years ago, and never had any problem. It never occurred to me that lights could be such a problem. I've played under much worse lights than these, before. I was thinking maybe it was just me having a bad day, but the other guys took a long time to adjust, also.
    Do any of you have problems under the lights, or is this just a statistical anomaly that all 3 of us took a long time to adjust to the lights?
     
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  2. escii_35

    escii_35 Rookie

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    The older I get the harder it is to play competitive matches under lights. Playing under home court lights is not too painful but if I'm at a foreign court or if I have not played under lights in a while I avoid certain shots and sequences.
     
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  3. NTRPolice

    NTRPolice Semi-Pro

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    Very few facilities have proper lighting for tennis.

    You need halogen bulbs and you need a lot of them in lots of different locations. Most public parks here have incandescent bulbs in the 6 corners of the court. That isnt enough.

    It drives me nuts when serving, because of the ball is lit and the other half is sitting in a shadow.
     
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  4. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I play under the lights for well over 50% of all matches because almost all leagues start at 6 pm or 6:30. We play a huge number of league matches at the Mobile Tennis Center since they field probably a third of all teams. MTC has 70 odd courts spread out on two different sides of a road. The newer courts and their lights are better but the ones on the older side are awful.

    On the side of the road with older courts there are five rows of courts like the diagram below and they are tiered so on one side you're looking straight ahead into the lights on courts at a lower elevation while on the other side you are looking at two rows of lights on the courts at a higher elevation.

    To add to the fun the courts are old and somewhat dirty on this side of the road so that balls quickly get discolored and darker making them even harder to pick out from among the array of lights in your eyes.

    I almost want to forfeit in advance whenever we play on this side of the road and the last time we played a match there we got about the worst possible court, right on the center court of the middle row. Bah! Balls come right at you and you can't pick them up till the last minute.


    X = a court, 0 is where I last played a match, stuck in the middle

    higher elevation courts
    XXXXXXX
    XXXXXXX
    XXOXX
    XXXX
    XXXX
    lower elevation court
     
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  5. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I wear contacts and lights are a tough thing for me. In the summer, I rarely play at night so it's a non issue. But, it's unavoidable in the winter months. Even if you can start right at 5, you'll end under the lights in January.

    I definitely shank a few more balls per match, but it would be odd for me to lose to someone that I am significantly better than. It's the even match ups that can be skewed.
     
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  6. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    A lot of indoor facilities have poor lighting. Just too dim for aging .
     
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  7. West Coast Ace

    West Coast Ace G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah. It's definitely tough. Ball seems to get on you in a hurry.

    If this wasn't a change of plans, you should have gone for a hit a night or 2 before to get acclimated.

    And like @FloridaTennisDude said, unless you're going to put the sticks away - or only play on the weekend during the day - after work tennis is going to go into the night.
     
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  8. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I hate playing at night. For some reason I have a tougher time judging distance to the ball at night, especially serves/overheads. Must be age...or bad memories. As a kid I took a fly ball to the face in a night game (hardball). I was a bloody mess.
     
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  9. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    I used to hate playing under lights. As others have pointed out, aging eyes + contact lenses makes it a challenge.

    But I have found that you can get used to it - I now play under lights fairly regularly, and I don't mind it nearly as much as I used to.

    The worst for me is twilight after sunset, when the lights are on but there is also some lingering natural light. There is about a 30 min period where I really struggle seeing the ball.
     
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  10. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    ^^^totally agree with that 30 minute twilight statement.
     
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  11. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    I agree with all the troubles, but I found that my disposable contacts (single use) work better under lights. They are monocular... distance only, whereas my regular contacts each have a different perscription (one for closer distance, one for further) which many people have. Not having to compensate for the different focal points might be one less thing for the brain to have to deal with along with the improper or dim lighting.
     
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  12. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    Seems problems with the lights is a lot more common than I thought. Interesting about contact lenses since mine are setup to be somewhat different for easier reading. Seems that since all three of us had problems and we are all getting older, maybe it is just aging.

    (Not a whole lot of outdoor night tennis around here, because when the days get shorter, it starts getting cold and snowy.)
     
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  13. beernutz

    beernutz Hall of Fame

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    I wear Acuvue Oasis contacts which are just like the ones you describe and while they are infinitely better than glasses at night for me they still don't help much on the worst lit courts I've had to play on. I'm spoiled in that the lights on our home courts are pretty good and that there are only two rows of lights on them to deal with.
     
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  14. Fusker

    Fusker Rookie

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    Certain courts are most definitely tougher than others. The technology is there to do the lighting well, but this is often a case of building codes getting in the way. The last decade has seen many municipalities adopt "dark sky ordinances" that basically require lighting to be "full cutoff". Essentially what that means is that no lighting is cast upwards of the 90 degree plane above the fixture.

    While this is generally a great concept (who needs light spill from parking lots for example) it is poorly apllied to court lighting. With no uplighting, the ball disappears against the sky the moment it is higher than the lamp. The other negative effect is that lighting tends to pool below the fixture and results in spotty, uneven distribution at eye level.

    Some of the older courts around here have lights angled at 45 degrees. While the lights are older, they actually work better.
     
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  15. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    I wear the same brand. I don't like driving at night either as I am not 100% confident on the depth perception of approaching cars.

    I have actually told opponents that my vision is a little off at night. I welcome them to challenge my calls and I tell them that I'll happily over Ryle myself if I see a wrong mark or something goofy. It puts it front and center that I want to be fair.
     
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  16. Bobby Jr

    Bobby Jr Legend

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    Aaaah. the night time issue. I played a league match recently - hosted at their club. At my end behind me was a park... behind my opponent (about 19yrs old) was another row of lit courts. For some reason we played a set without changing ends (which is quite common in some night leagues here). I won it 7-5 but was really struggling to see the ball.... when I walked down his end to get some water after the set I noticed how much brighter his end of the court was and said we should swap for the second set. He said it didn't matter since it was night - no sunlight distraction etc. I said if it doesn't matter then he wont mind swapping.

    The next set I went up 4-0 - he basically couldn't hit a ball... then he called for ends saying we'd played 4 games and the lights were a disadvantage to him. I refused and won the set 6-0. I took note of our team and, mysteriously, the other two were both put down the dark end also.

    Our team won comfortably in the end with the loss of only one match but i asked our club admin to email the rest of the league teams - this club included - highlighting how they attempted to get an unfair advantage by putting visiting teams down the dark end of the courts. Sneaky ****ers...

    Them damn lights - they are an issue globally!
     
    #16
  17. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    That is the worst time of day for me. Whenever it gets overcast or dark, I've found that night vision glasses really help me. They are yellow tinted and brighten everything considerably. I think I bought them for $10 off Amazon.
     
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  18. Clive Walker

    Clive Walker Rookie

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    It's an issue at some clubs but the majority around here have very good floodlights, Most of the time through the winter it's dark by 5pm so a good proportion of the tennis year is spent under lights. I must say I've never really had much a problem with it, but then the UK weather is not exactly renowned for tennis excellence, maybe we're just used to it.
     
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  19. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    OP, this isn't your imagination. Dusk is the period when neither the rods or cones in your eyes are working 100%.

    Dusk is the toughest time for anyone. Aerospace physiologists make it a point to educate this point to pilots.

    Probably way too much info but here you go.

    http://www.aoa.org/x5352.xml

    Read the part about Mesopic Vision
     
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  20. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I played indoor for the first time in many many years recently and I could not adjust to how dark it was. Very off putting.
     
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  21. IA-SteveB

    IA-SteveB Professional

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    Lights were a problem for me when I first had LASIK. It took about six months before I felt like lights were not a problem for me post surgery.
     
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  22. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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    My disposables are Proclear 1 Day by Coopervision... they are much better for me than my Bausch and Lomb regular contacts (with the two different scripts). Maybe they just fit tighter, or maybe there is a manufactors difference with this brand?
     
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  23. Setmatch45

    Setmatch45 Rookie

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    As I get older going from indoors to outdoors or lights are hard to get used to. I really don't like outdoors at all but do get used to it after a few times.
     
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  24. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    I've also had difficulty seeing the ball as the sun sets. Our courts are surrounded by trees. In the early evening the sun glints off the leaves making thousands of little "optic yellow" dots even through our fence with black mesh. Shots that go high often blend into this background and the ball becomes just another yellow-green dot among many.
     
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  25. corbind

    corbind Professional

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    That was a great article. Long, but the details were quite helpful. :wink:
     
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  26. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I'm having trouble seeing your avatar. :)
     
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  27. g4driver

    g4driver Hall of Fame

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    mikeler ;) nicely done !

    Sunset on a SC beach on my birthday in October a few years back
     
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  28. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    Varies from facility to facility. Indoor carpet courts I play in Europe are great, but a lot of the courts in SoCal it's tricky on a night to. Worth opening a new can of balls for brightness even if just knocking up.
     
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  29. FloridaAG

    FloridaAG Professional

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    While I play at night because it is necessary, I see the ball much worse under the lights, even on a well-lit court. Depth perception and determining spin are my biggest problems
     
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  30. stapletonj

    stapletonj Semi-Pro

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    my brother even tries to wear sunglasses for a couple of hours prior to coming to the indoor courts, trying to get his eyes to perhaps stay more light receptive for awhile.

    It doesn't work...but don't tell him that

    Personally, I think he looks like a gray haired version of that guy in the Progressive Insurance commercials....
     
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  31. TimeToPlaySets

    TimeToPlaySets Rookie

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    I find serving to be a challenge under the lights. You're looking at black sky, your ball, and massive spots of white light. The contrast is tough.
     
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  32. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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  33. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I play a guy that loves to lob. Playing him in the winter stinks!
     
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  34. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Agreed, I have more success playing an aggressive net game at night. My UE rate from the baseline in a night match is noticeably higher. When I can get to the net I feel more comfortable judging pace and spin from a closer vantage point.
     
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  35. Mongolmike

    Mongolmike Professional

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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I can't judge ball speeds at night.
    Got a record of easy 0-30 with the number one singles of SanRafael's 4.0 team at night. The two times we played in daylight, we split 4 close sets.
     
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  37. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    I actually play a lot under the lights but still hate it. I know a lot of people here already mentioned that a lot of the courts just don't have very good lighting to begin with. For some reason, I just can't ever seem to adjust properly to the lights. I always play a lot better in the morning or during the day. I pretty much hit everything on the rise so when the lighting is even a bit off, I start shanking every other shot.
     
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  38. Wuppy

    Wuppy Professional

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    Lighting at most courts sucks. Unless you happen to be playing at Ashe ;)
     
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  39. BHiC

    BHiC Rookie

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    I don't play under lights very often, so it does bother me a little bit. I feel like I just can't see the ball as well. Unfortunately, I am young and don't wear contacts, so I have no excuses.:sad:
     
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  40. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Wish I had your misfortunes!
     
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  41. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    At the public courts where I play the lights are pretty decent. Every once in a while I have a problem with the lights on an overhead. Recently there was a soccer match going on during the night when we were playing and some cars at the far end of the adjacent soccer field had their bright lights on. That was a problem, as you were looking right into them from one end of the court.

    Anyway, yeah, I think that particular lighting systems might be a real problem for many players ... not just a statistical anomaly.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2012
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