One of the most common conceptions is that tennis is a summer sport. It is only taught in the school’s curriculum during the summer term and in the UK we have most of the top professional tournaments during the summer. For those who engage in the sport, you’ll know that this is far from the truth.
The weather plays a huge part and also the seasons of other sports, such as football and Rugby, which are played from Autumn to the end of Spring.
Tennis has a global reach and is played worldwide. While it might be summer in one hemisphere, it is winter in another. The professional tennis circuit, for example, has tournaments all year round across various countries and you’ll find lots of local tournaments running throughout the winter, like the 11&U event we are hosting this Saturday.
Now in the UK, I believe we do have a lack of indoor facilities to allow players to practice and compete irrespective of the weather conditions outside, but fortunately at Stony Stratford Tennis Club, on Tuesday 3rd October we are putting up our Air Dome over courts 8 & 9 so everyone can enjoy another winter season of indoor tennis.
Tennis is played on a variety of surfaces including grass, clay, hard court, and even indoor carpet. Different seasons may be more suitable for preparing or maintaining certain surfaces. For instance, the grass-court season is closely aligned with the summer, but you’ll find many clubs across the UK with astro turf or artificial clay, like we have. These courts are fantastic during both the summer and winter, allowing rain to drain away fast and the frost to thaw quickly.
Again, facilities play a huge part in being able to play all year round especially with the dark nights of the winter months. Floodlights are essential and all 9 of our top class courts are under lights.
As we know, tennis is a physical sport and one problem during the winter is the cold, especially cold hands! Over the last 30 years I have been coaching outside and I know it is all about preparation. As long as you dress appropriately with lots of layers, gloves etc., after a good warm up which may take longer in the winter than the summer, we can raise the body temperature and increase blood flow in the body. Once this process is started, it doesn’t take long before the players are taking off layers and able to continue playing without the cold being an issue. Very often that fresh air and exercise on a dark night is exactly what we need to help us raise our energy levels during the winter.
For players to develop and maintain their skills, it's essential to train all year round. Limiting tennis to only one season would hinder player development and readiness for competition. There are so many more benefits from tennis than just competing and the development of those skills like decision making, dealing with adversity, emotional control etc. need to continually be practiced.
Now as the nights draw in and the temperatures fall, the energy and life at the club continues to thrive. Where some clubs only attract players into the game during the summer, we attract them throughout the year due to our impressive facilities, coaching programme, competitive opportunities and club sessions.
This Sunday, 1st October, the BBQ will be fired up and the bar open as we have another major event at the club for all members, their friends and anyone interested in tennis. Two former Great British Davis Cup players, Danny Sapsford and Luke Milligan, are looking forward to running coaching clinics for 5-10 year olds, 11-16 year olds, adult club players and adult team players. At 2pm they will be pairing up with Team Stony Tennis coaches, Phil and Richard, to compete in a doubles exhibition match which is free for everyone to watch. All funds raised on the day will go towards helping disadvantaged kids to get into tennis and benefit from the physical, mental, social and emotional support this sport gives.
To book your place on the clinics, please click here, otherwise just turn up to enjoy.
We look forward to another great winter and seeing you all on Sunday!
Director of Tennis