As we enter the heat and humidity of the summer, it is important to realize there are steps players, parents, coaches and tournament directors can take to help optimize performance in these environmental conditions while also maintaining player safety. This page highlights many of the resources and information presently available through the USTA on the topic of preparing for, and playing in the heat.
USTA Hydration Poster:
The most effective way to avoid dehydration is to engage in a well thought out fluid replacement plan that includes hydration strategies for before, during and after play. Download this poster and keep it on hand to learn what steps you can take to prevent dehydration and heat illness.
USTA Emergency Care Guidelines for Tournament Directors:
The USTA and the Sport Science Committee have developed the Emergency Care Guidelines to serve as a resource for tournament directors as they prepare to run an event. All tournament directors should be prepared for a medical emergency or a disaster should one occur, including heat illness. You can also download a heat index chart to help you compute the apparent temperature a player "sees" depending on the heat and humidity.
Understanding Heat Illness:
Players who practice or play in hot conditions are susceptible to heat illness. The three stages of heat illness, in increasing order of seriousness, are heat cramps, heat exhaustion, and heat stroke. Learn more about each of these by reading this article.
How to Manage Water and Electrolyte Loss:
Your body produces heat during tennis -- lots of it! And as intensity and duration of play increase, you face an growing challenge to eliminate the accumulating heat, especially in hot weather. The best way for a tennis player to get rid of internal body heat during play is by sweating. However when you sweat, you lose precious fluids and electrlytes that need to be replaced. Learn how you can replace these essential nutrients.
Playing in the Heat: Reducing the risk while enhancing performance:
Whether you are getting ready to play in the extreme heat of the summer, or even if you will not be competing in the heat until next summer, now is a great time to reassess your strategy for minimizing the risk and problems associated playing tennis in the heat. Having a plan well ahead of time will help you to organize and implement your strategy for playing in the heat more effectively.
Skin Cancer Awareness:
Prolonged exposure to the sun can cause skin cancer. Learn practical steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing sking cancer.
Information from the Gatorade Sport Science Institute:
The Gatorade Sport Science Institute has many articles, written for coaches and atheltes, about the importance of fluid and electrolyte replacement that can be accessed from this site.
ACSM Fluid Replacement Guidelines:
The American College of Sports Medicine recommends taking preventative steps for staying hydrated on court. This article outlines practical steps players can take and also provides a link to a scientific position stand on exercise and fluid replacement.
NATA Heat Illness Consensus Statement:
The main objective of this staement from the National Athletic Traners Association is to educate athletes, coaches, parents and medical staffs alike on what can be done to avert dehydration, exertional heat stroke (EHS), heat exhaustion, heat cramps and exertional hyponatremia.
Heat Guidelines from the US Olympic Committee:
In September of 2003, the USOC held a summit on heat, hydration and pollution, looking specifically at how these environmental factors impact athletic performance. Read about some of the key pieces of information that came out of this conference.
The Australian Institue of Sport (AIS) provides several useful articles on fluid and electrolyte replacement. Download each of the articles and soak in the information.
Facts about fluid replacement.