Playing tennis at high altitudes

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by kevhen, Aug 29, 2007.

  1. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    I did this for the first time and noticed that the balls moved much faster and bounced much higher and you also become winded more quickly. Topspin forehands were bouncing 7 feet high instead of 5 feet using new full pressured balls. Balls were often sailing long due to less air to slow them down. Rallies were generally short because of this which was good since you become more tired quickly chasing balls with less oxygen for your lungs.

    I played at West Yellowstone and also Jackson Hole which are both over 6000 feet above sea level.

    It took awhile to adjust my game to the conditions but found hitting high kick serves to my opponents backhand was a good play.
     
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  2. spdskr

    spdskr Rookie

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    The high bounces from standard new balls at altitude are commonplace and have resulted in ball manufacturers offerring high altitude (lower pressure) balls. As far as your conditioning is concerned, that takes some time to adapt to (months). No wonder the US olympic training facility is in Colo Spgs, CO. Even I feel like a fitness superhero when I'm at sea level after living at altitude for the past 17 yrs :) .
     
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  3. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    What you just experienced is what a lot of players will experience the first time they play in Arizona for the adult league national championships. If they have not played at a high altitude area they will be in for a surprise. It will specially be hard for those who don't have a lot of spin on their strokes. If they don't adjust quickly they will find a lot of their balls sailing long. It feels good though for those who don't hit with a lot of pace because they will feel like they are hitting bigger because of the extra pace they get from the thin air. :)
     
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  4. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    I've actually been living in Colorado Springs for the past few years and never notice a difference when going back to sea level. I heard some players at the State Games Championships this year talking about how different it is to play here, and this was the first time I'd heard it mentioned. They were actually from Wisconsin, which is where I'm from, and whenever I go back home and play I never feel a difference.

    I also switch between using the high altitude balls and regular ones while playing and haven't ever been thrown off by it. Maybe some people just notice the difference more than others, or take a bit more time to adjust.
     
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  5. burosky

    burosky Professional

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    In terms of noticing the difference, it depends on whether the player was forewarned or not. If forewarned, the player becomes more conscious about it and tends to attribute balls they hit long to the thin air. If not forewarned, the player tends to be confused about hitting it long. The higher skilled players usually adjust quickly while the others may take a while longer. Obviously, after a while you get used to it and don't even notice the difference. That just comes with the adjustment.
     
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  6. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    For a 3.5 rated guy, my opponent had a high kicking topspin forehand that was going above my head. I don't know any 3.5s who can do that at sea level. When I went for flat forehands, they almost all went long and when I hit dropshots, I could aim short and they would still usually make it over the net. Serving was a dream though since a hard serve wouldn't slow down and a kick serve would bounce very high. My slice serve had good pace too so I could ace him with it if I went hard to his forehand side.

    Rallies were short though even though he was a speedy, consistent player and so am I, as we both made many more errors than usual dealing with higher bouncing balls, more pace on them, and what felt like a smaller court with balls easily sailing long due to less air to bring them back down. We both had to scale back our games some. I would just place the ball (short to his backhand and then deep to his forehand) and make him run to constuct points and open up the court. I won 6-1, 6-2, 6-1.

    I think the key at altitude is to hit with lots of spin and drive your opponent deep.
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2007
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  7. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    If you were not using high altitute balls then I imagine the game was ridiculous. I live in Salt Lake. If you use non-altitude (normal) balls here, it is a total serve game.

    There was a group from Chicago playing on the court next to me Sunday (using normal balls). We just smiled as we played :D

    By the way, I went to the University of Iowa for 7 years (undergrad and grad). Is that where you are "Kevhen"?
     
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  8. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yes. I graduated from U of Iowa in '92 but work here in Iowa City now.

    Yes with fully pressurized balls, the game was ridiculous with the balls often over our heads and my 110 mph serve was landing like 6feet up on the fence. I think I held serve 10/11 but did get broken once when he made some good/lucky returns.

    I loved Salt Lake when I was there skiing last December. What is the tennis environment like? I see there is a big park with many courts in SLC. Where all do you play tennis at?
     
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  9. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I grew up in Iowa (small town about 1.5 hours north of IC). I finished undergrad in 95. Finished grad school in 2001.

    I play in the big park you refer to. There are 16 very nice courts, Lights stay on until 10pm. The tennis community is OK. I can usually find opponents between 4.0 and 5.0 to play. I work at the University so I can find quality opponents here. Nice indoor facility on the U. 8 fantastic courts.

    Skiing here is great. Much better than "Sundown", huh!?!
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    Yeah, I grew up just north of Cedar Falls.

    The Canyons and Alta were much nicer than Sundown and Chestnut Mt. Last week I took the lift to the top of both Jackson Hole ski resort and Big Sky mountain. Both of those places look like great skiing as well.
     
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