Welcome to Tucson, AZ where the sun is always right in your face. Be that as it may, tennis players must learn how to play in many weather conditions. This can make things difficult for players not willing to adapt accordingly. Differing weather conditions and virtually unquantifiable variables are simply a part of tennis. That being said, this week’s tip will offer a few solutions to one very big and bright variable that effects the most important shot in tennis, the serve.
As a player, I can definitely relate to the unpleasantness of serving into the sun. Moreover, my willingness to figure out solutions to common challenges that may threaten my chances of winning EVERY SINGLE service game is something that has been key to my serve over the years. It was simply not an option for me to lose my service games. This “key” I am talking about is simply the formulation of dynamic service motions, stances and tosses. Moreover, if you are a player with one service stance & toss then you will inevitably have a difficult time adjusting in certain situations.
Here are the solutions:
#1. Develop a “sun-serve.” This is the most practical option in my opinion, but must be deliberately practiced in order to be effective. Basically, you will want to forget about looking at the service box. Change your stance so that you are facing away from the sun and toss the ball out to your side about as far as you can extend and no higher than your head. You will most likely need to slice this serve, but you will no longer need to look up to hit this serve. Practice tossing the ball in different directions and heights without hitting it in order to find your “sweet spot.”
#2. Drop Serve. Yes, seriously. If the sun were really bothering you then I would think about employing this tactic. It gets the ball in play and there is virtually no chance you will look into the sun.
#3. Use your hand to block the sun. This usually works a little better on the overhead, but sometimes all players’ need is to hold their non-hitting arm up a little longer than usual. This is similar to dropping the visor in your car when you are driving.
#4. Avert the focus of your eyes. Just like if you were driving into the sunset, one option is to use the marked lines on the road to help guide you in the right direction. The same concept applies to the serve. This will definitely take some personalization in terms of where you will want to focus, but as long as your timing is consistent this solution could be a great choice.
#5. Invest in some high quality polarized sunglasses. This may seem very obvious, but if all else fails I would give this option some consideration. I personally cannot play tennis in sunglasses.
This is a very basic and watered down explanation of dynamic service motions, stances and tosses, but I hope it opens up new opportunities to expand your tennis game.
As always please feel free to ask any questions in the comments below.
- Carlos Bermudez Tennis