Tips for Beating the Heat

Carolina Racquet

Professional
Summer is here! We're having our first substantial heat wave here in NC and I'm curious what others do to beat the heat and the effects it has on tennis stamina.

One thing I've recently added was buying a Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero bandana wetting it and loosely tying it around my neck... aka Jimmy Connors back in the 80's. I found it keeps my body temperature down, whether it's real or a placebo effect.

Other than hats, and hydration, any other tips that can help make the hot weather easier to tolerate? Thanks..
 

mikeler

Moderator
Ice water on the neck during changeover, a goofy fishing hat to cover your neck, spend non-tennis time out in the heat and know that it will take a few matches for you body to adjust to it, so don't overdo it.
 

ollinger

G.O.A.T.
Perhaps the most confounded issue is whether one should wear a hat in very hot weather. There are dual effects at play: solar radiation on the head can contribute to warming and overheating, and this can be prevented with a hat, but dilation of superfical blood vessels in the scalp is an important cooling mechanism and potential source of heat loss (and the reason we're always told to wear a hat in very cold weather), so a hat can trap this heat and prevent it from being dissipated. The recommendation of people in the field is that if you wear a hat, it should be very ventilated so as not to prevent this heat dissipation, not always the case with most of the hats sold to tennis players.
 

TennisLovaLova

Hall of Fame
Best advice I could give, coming from a really warm region of the world, would be drinking hot tea as much as possible.
It helps not feeling the heath and cooling down your sytem.

Also, the Tuareg who live in the desert wear clothes. "For protection, the Tuareg wear layers of loose-fitting cotton clothes. The layers of cloth keep sweat close to the body. This makes the sweat evaporate more slowly, conserving moisture and keeping the body cooler. "
There's a concept of internal temperature under those layers.
 
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Summer is here! We're having our first substantial heat wave here in NC and I'm curious what others do to beat the heat and the effects it has on tennis stamina.

One thing I've recently added was buying a Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero bandana wetting it and loosely tying it around my neck... aka Jimmy Connors back in the 80's. I found it keeps my body temperature down, whether it's real or a placebo effect.

Other than hats, and hydration, any other tips that can help make the hot weather easier to tolerate? Thanks..

I seriously doubt the Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero bandana can actually affect body temperature, but if it feels cool, and makes you feel better, what is wrong with that?


I played with an Omni-Freeze Zero top on consecutive 90+ days.
The top did wick and dry well, and there was a slight sensation of cooling from the material.

There is an interesting story on how the material was "discovered" by a Columbia engineer (Woody Blackford) at a trade show:

"“Someone wanted to pull me aside to demonstrate a waterproofing membrane but then told me that the membrane was not waterproof in fact, but really breatheable,” says Woody. “I’m like ‘Oh, that’s likely to be a difficult sell.” Woody explains that a breatheable fabric that’s not waterproof leaves you no where. “Most knit fabrics – mesh, for example, are pretty breatheable.”

“But I tried to play with it, because I was curious, because I would love to see a membrane LEAK. So I put the water through it. In the back of my mind I was always sort of scouting for (better) cooling technology so when the water dripped through it, I said, “wow that feels cold.”

Woody followed up with the supplier to investigate and test the properties further with measurements and thermal imaging. Thereafter he concluded, “Hey, this could work.” Woody then showed the company the details of the property they were unaware of: that the polymer, in its aqueous state was an endothermic material that was able to lower the temperature of water while in it. “Of all the endothermic compounds, this is at the top of the list, says Woody.

An exclusive contract with the supplier was forged. “We didn’t buy it as membrane,” says Woody, “but as a polymer. And their material wasn’t the only part of the solution. We have our own fabrication and design patents – so it’s a combination.”"
- http://www.magiconline.com/mfa/6/columbia-sportswear

Academy_Omni-Freeze_Zero_TechPage.jpg
 
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Best advice I could give, coming from a really warm region of the world, would be drinking hot tea as much as possible.
It helps not feeling the heath and cooling down your sytem.

Also, the Tuareg who live in the desert wear clothes. "For protection, the Tuareg wear layers of loose-fitting cotton clothes. The layers of cloth keep sweat close to the body. This makes the sweat evaporate more slowly, conserving moisture and keeping the body cooler. "
There's a concept of internal temperature under those layers.

I doubt there will be an upsurge in tea drinking on sweltering tennis courts.



The Taureg use of loose fitting clothing calls to mind Arabs who traditionally have worn robes to protect themselves from the direct effects of the sun.

I doubt we will see such garb on tennis players.

But tennis shirts, shorts, a hat and maybe a bandana can protect the skin from the direct rays of the sun.

Perhaps a different purpose for clothing may make sense as well.

Rather than keeping sweat from evaporating, shirts that wick well and promote evaporation would best keep body temps from elevating.

Of course this means a player must stay well hydrated and take in enough sodium to keep up with the perspiration losses.
 
Perhaps the most confounded issue is whether one should wear a hat in very hot weather. There are dual effects at play: solar radiation on the head can contribute to warming and overheating, and this can be prevented with a hat, but dilation of superfical blood vessels in the scalp is an important cooling mechanism and potential source of heat loss (and the reason we're always told to wear a hat in very cold weather), so a hat can trap this heat and prevent it from being dissipated. The recommendation of people in the field is that if you wear a hat, it should be very ventilated so as not to prevent this heat dissipation, not always the case with most of the hats sold to tennis players.

I've been wearing this white adidas hat that has many small perforations for several years on hot sunny days:

While mine is a different model, this picture does show the material that should allow for evaporation:

adidas-tennis-hats-3.jpg



Since I had a positive experience with the Columbia Omni-Freeze top. I just recently picked up a hat that has material that seems to wick and evaporate perspiration well, although the "cooling" Omni-Freeze material is just in the headband.
 
Summer is here! We're having our first substantial heat wave here in NC and I'm curious what others do to beat the heat and the effects it has on tennis stamina.

Other than hats, and hydration, any other tips that can help make the hot weather easier to tolerate? Thanks..

Wonder why Federer trains in Dubai in the heat of July (where it often gets to 120 degrees Fahrenheit) to get ready for the summer season?
- http://straightsets.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/19/training-with-federer-in-dubai/


It takes a full 14 days of training in the heat to experience all the physiologic changes your body will go through:
Heat-Acclimatization-Changes.jpg

The above diagram is from an article on heat acclimation for runners, but the basic principles apply to tennis players: http://www.irunfar.com/2010/04/heat-acclimation-for-runners.html

[And no, one hour on the courts followed by several days in air conditioned homes, cars and offices does not count.]



The USTA includes tips for dealing with the heat and how best to hydrate in their free, easy-to-read Recovery in Tennis booklet:
http://assets.usta.com/assets/1/15/recovery_project_coaches_booklet.pdf
 
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LuckyR

Legend
Summer is here! We're having our first substantial heat wave here in NC and I'm curious what others do to beat the heat and the effects it has on tennis stamina.

One thing I've recently added was buying a Columbia Omni-Freeze Zero bandana wetting it and loosely tying it around my neck... aka Jimmy Connors back in the 80's. I found it keeps my body temperature down, whether it's real or a placebo effect.

Other than hats, and hydration, any other tips that can help make the hot weather easier to tolerate? Thanks..

It depends what part of the heat is impacting your game. Some decompensate mentally due to the discomfort. Those do better with things like ice towels etc that do little physiologically but make players feel better. Others are talking about the actual physiological effects (dehydration, muscle cramping due to dehydration etc), no doubt about it the biggest impact is hydration followed by electrolyte repletion. You can't alter your body temp anywhere near as much with clothing gimmicks as you can with the sweating mechanism.
 

Rob1

Rookie
Wear white clothes, eat a banana before playing, coconut oil,
electrolytes drink, put a little salt in your water, drink lots of
water the night before and the day of, and have some electrolyte
tablets to be safe.
 

6789

New User
ice under cap

I put handful of ice under cap and reload every changeover. Keep cap very tight to prevent spillage.
Hope this tool helps readers like you.
 

Barclay

Banned
Wear white clothes, eat a bananas before playing, grape oil, water consume, put a little salt in your the water, stay hydrated the night before and the day of, and have some electrolyte pills to be safe....
 

spaceman_spiff

Hall of Fame
I'm surprised that no one has mentioned this one: lose weight.

I know from experience that a 10-lb lighter version of me in a plain cotton T-shirt is cooler than the current version of me decked out in Climacool and Dry Fit gear.
 

Frank Silbermann

Professional
Perhaps the most confounded issue is whether one should wear a hat in very hot weather. There are dual effects at play: solar radiation on the head can contribute to warming and overheating, and this can be prevented with a hat, but dilation of superfical blood vessels in the scalp is an important cooling mechanism and potential source of heat loss (and the reason we're always told to wear a hat in very cold weather), so a hat can trap this heat and prevent it from being dissipated. The recommendation of people in the field is that if you wear a hat, it should be very ventilated so as not to prevent this heat dissipation, not always the case with most of the hats sold to tennis players.
Putting ice-cubes under the hat helps me a lot. But after losing much of my hair, I find that putting ice-cubes directly on my scalp is painful -- so I put them in a thin cloth bag under my hat.
 

Frank Silbermann

Professional
It depends what part of the heat is impacting your game. Some decompensate mentally due to the discomfort. Those do better with things like ice towels etc that do little physiologically but make players feel better. Others are talking about the actual physiological effects (dehydration, muscle cramping due to dehydration etc), no doubt about it the biggest impact is hydration followed by electrolyte repletion. You can't alter your body temp anywhere near as much with clothing gimmicks as you can with the sweating mechanism.
What can the sweating mechanism do which can't be done by, say, spraying your head and shirt with ice-water on every change-over?
 

Hollywood401k

Semi-Pro
It was 118 here in Phoenix, AZ the other day and a hat soaked in water did the trick. Cold water on your head and spine lowers your body temp dramatically. That being said, nothing beats just getting used to heat.
 

Vertiz

Rookie
Just drilled and and played three consecutive days in 90-100 degree weather. Basically drink a lot all day. Make sure you eat right, don't eat anything heavy. Drink often but not too much at one time. A mixture of Coconut Water and Gatorade is vital to prevent cramping as you'll be losing a lot of liquid.

In the end the best way to beat the heat is to play in the heat as much as you can. If you see a day is going to be hot (90+F), find someone and go out there for a hard practice or fitness session on court. This way you will not only acclimate yourself, but when it is cooler you will be playing in heaven. Andy Murray trains in hot Miami Florida for this reason.
 
there are some tricks but in the end you need to be in shape, don't have exessive fat and play a lot in the heat.

you will still suffer but your oppoent suffers more:)
 

wings56

Hall of Fame
as far as cramping goes, once i started using Nuun in my water, i stopped having those problems. epic find for me.
 

dbusiness

Rookie
Down in South Florida you deal with the heat, humidity, and high UV index. As previously mentioned training or practicing in the heat to accumulate to the conditions is going to help. Once you've accumulated to the heat then you need to address the other issues.

To replenish fluids drink plenty of water, coconut water, for the long tough matches to replenish vitamins and minerals I use Trace Minerals Power Pak, if I need some caffeine than I use Zipfizz which has vitamins and minerals also. You will also want
to bring some extra shirts. This weekend I sweated through 5 shirts in a tough 3 set match.

Lastly the UV index one of the reasons you wear a hat and a shirt. I use a sunscreen with Zinc Oxide for the back of my neck and arms called Natures Gate SPF 50. I've tried every major sunscreen there is and this is one of the few that works great. I found out later that this sunscreen sits on top of the skin which in my experience made me feel considerably cooler. You will probably be sweating a lot so apply the sunscreen after 2 hours, just remember to wash it off your hands so that you racket does go flying out of your hands.

The ice towels, cubes are only going to provide a temporary feeling of being cooler, this may help you psychologically for a few points but the info listed above will help you last in the heat.
 

m2nk2

Hall of Fame
Playing a match in 30 degrees heat on saturday. Haven't played in those conditions for 18 years. I'm worried now lol :)
 

DirtBaller4

Rookie
I like to bring a big beach towel, extra shirt and a few frames so I can switch when I get too sweaty.

I also bring a roller cooler with a gallon of electrolyte juice, ice, and a tumbler. While Fruit hydrates slower, it also lasts longer, eat some before the match.

Lastly, baby powder & sweat bands to keep the racket from flying out of your hand.
 

LuckyR

Legend
What can the sweating mechanism do which can't be done by, say, spraying your head and shirt with ice-water on every change-over?

Well, it can work constantly during the match (while spraying works every other game). In addition since evaporation is the cooling mechanism, using ice water spray will cut into that effect.
 

TimeSpiral

Professional
Super important topic. One you'll likely see come up often now that it's summer time.

Let's assume that hydration and sun protection (which is what he meant by hat, right? If not, please wear sunscreen) is a given, as the OP suggested. Other than that, there appears to be controversial information floating around here. Disclaimer: I'm not a medical expert, just some guy who lives in Florida who likes to try and make sure his information is correct.

1.) Bring a cooler filled with ice and some water (I like the medium-sized soft coolers with a shoulder strap). Fix the cooler to the fence using the shoulderstrap and a carabiner (or whatever you have. Bungies work too). The goal here is to keep the cooler off of the ground and other flat surfaces (like uncovered benches). Elevating the cooler will dramatically increase the length of time the water stays cool. I see so many people show up without this. This is how you keep your beverages and your towel cool. Don't skip this step. Oh, hopefully it's obvious, but put all the beverages you can fit into here. Rotate if you need to, as room is made.

2.) Cold towels around your neck (and/or wrists) will have a cooling effect on your body's temperature (1). Not only will it cool the blood running through major arteries, it also produces a psychological effect of feeling cool and fresh. Just remember to towel off after the wet and cold towel.

3.) Sweating is your body's natural cooling mechanism, but it's poorly understood in general. For the sake of brevity, heat is transferred from your body, via the skin, to the layer of sweat. The layer of sweat absorbs heat until it's hot enough to evaporate. This process effectively transfers the heat from your body to the environment (2). Some will use this to suggest that toweling off the sweat is counter-productive, but I always push back.

4.) Towel off the sweat during change-overs (after the cold and wet towel, of course). Once the heat has been transferred to the sweat, get rid of it! Your body can't count on you having a towel, or a nice breeze to help get that water off you, so it relies on evaporation. So, take a cue from nature, and evaporate that heated sweat with a towel! This lets the process start over with a thin layer of sweat and some dry area for sweat to quickly cover again.

5.) Change wet shirts in between sets. Once a shirt becomes saturated, it sticks to your skin smothering the pores, reducing their ability to sweat. Shirts that wick sweat are essentially creating a path for the sweat to evaporate through, but even they can become super-saturated. You have multiple shirts, so just bring a few and change. Easy.

6.) Wear high-performance underwear! This sounds silly, but it makes a huge difference (in my experience). It helps you stay dry-ish down there, which in turn, helps that part of your body stay cool. In this category, I'm just going to assume that you're all wearing a complete tennis outfit, wear all of the clothing is designed for extremely hot conditions.

7.) Take your change-over breaks, even if you think you don't need them. Especially if you split sets.

8.) Don't underestimate the heat during evening/night matches. Humidity and hot air-temps can be just as dangerous as those things+the blazing sun. I recommend ALL of these tips (-the sunscreen) for night matches.

9.) Don't be a hero, unless you need to be a hero. Don't try to tough it out. It's not worth it. If you are cramping on the court, start to get really confused (forgetting scores constantly), or stop sweating, I strongly encourage you to stop play and get out of the sun immediately. The heat can be deadly. Retiring/rescheduling/suspending a match is never deadly. If your opponent is being unsafe, and you become worried, offer to help (suspend play to run and grab a drink at the gas station, offer him an extra drink, hat, sunscreen, towel, whatever.) I've found that most will deny the help, but some won't. If your opponent becomes confused, or is obviously languishing, be prepared for him to collapse (hopefully this never happens, but if it does, get him into the shade and immediately call 911).

Hopefully my tone wasn't to serious, but I know people love tennis, and love to play, and that passion can often result in unsafe playing conditions, especially in super hot parts of the world (like Florida, Nevada, etc ...). It only takes you getting sick once before you never underestimate it again, and for some people, that "once" is a heat stroke and they die.

On a happy note--I get to play a match tomorrow! Yeah!
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Two frozen one-liter Nalgene bottles (water). One may have a packet of EmergenC mixed in. Running five miles in hot and humid weather regularly. Knowing that I'm in better shape than the vast majority of the people that I play.
 

Talker

Hall of Fame
I almost always take a good shower and soap down my whole body before getting out on the courts.

I figure this will take off most of the oil on my skin. The oil on the skin can cover sweat to some degree and decrease evaporation so less cooling.

Besides that you smell good if for only a little bit.
 

a10best

Hall of Fame
I'm mid 50's, grew up on the west coast, and I'm almost 6'2", heavy sweater, hwp yet people still call me thin.

In my mid-30's, I came to Miami to play in the summer. It was humid and hot in the low 90s, and I had to stop after an hour. It was too much.
Yes, I drank lots of water and eat healthy for the most part.
When I traveled back west and play in the mid 80s/90s there's no tiredness at all. I guess it's because I sweat less?

I had a league match this week in the 80s. I wore spf 50 clothing, white hat, toweled off, drank water during changeovers, ate high potassium sweet potato the night before.
I lost all energy serving 4-2 in the 2nd to seal the deal and I eventually lost the match in the 3rd to a younger guy in his mid 40s. It was a 2.5 hour match.

I really need something that combats the effects of the hot FL sun and humidity which tires me a lot faster. This does not happen when it's in the 70s in FL or in dry weather states.
Anyone in the same boat or am I just doomed in humid hot weather.

I didn't cramp because I drank lots of water and feel I get enough sodium.

I am considering an electrolyte powder that is sugarless.
EPO equine or Boost?
 

PhxRacket

Hall of Fame
I'm mid 50's, grew up on the west coast, and I'm almost 6'2", heavy sweater, hwp yet people still call me thin.

In my mid-30's, I came to Miami to play in the summer. It was humid and hot in the low 90s, and I had to stop after an hour. It was too much.
Yes, I drank lots of water and eat healthy for the most part.
When I traveled back west and play in the mid 80s/90s there's no tiredness at all. I guess it's because I sweat less?

I had a league match this week in the 80s. I wore spf 50 clothing, white hat, toweled off, drank water during changeovers, ate high potassium sweet potato the night before.
I lost all energy serving 4-2 in the 2nd to seal the deal and I eventually lost the match in the 3rd to a younger guy in his mid 40s. It was a 2.5 hour match.

I really need something that combats the effects of the hot FL sun and humidity which tires me a lot faster. This does not happen when it's in the 70s in FL or in dry weather states.
Anyone in the same boat or am I just doomed in humid hot weather.

I didn't cramp because I drank lots of water and feel I get enough sodium.

I am considering an electrolyte powder that is sugarless.
EPO equine or Boost?
Give Biosteel a try.
 

Crocodile

G.O.A.T.
We play a lot in the heat here in OZ and I think the key is to progressively get used to it. You can’t just come in out of the cold snd play in hot weather and not have problems. Players generally have problems early in the summer season and by the end of summer they will have already adapted to it.
Getting into excellent shape won’t hurt, wearing a hat, sunscreen, cool clothes and appropriate electrolytes and water are good ideas.
 

LuckyR

Legend
Your body does a great job of keeping your core temperature in a narrow range through sweating. So as long as you keep hydrated, which is difficult to do if you start the day dehydrated, you should be physically fine. Of course, you'll feel hot, even though your core temp is normal. That's the discomfort/emotional aspect. That's the part that you need "to get used to".

Electrolyte problems can crop up if you're starting the day sodium down and don't supplement, but technically that's not a temperature issue.
 
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