Enough Warm-up Time?

You drive to a tournament or league match, wait around for an hour to get on the court, try to stretch and then are told “Only a five-minute warm-up.”  Is that enough time?

“Let’s get real…”

A senior player writes, “The 5-minute warm up is a crazy item which is close to, if not impossible to achieve unless you have ball boys (still waiting for that!).   It is a rare occasion that there are warmup courts so, how do you do it?  Take two minutes for ground strokes, one minute each for volleys (ever have a guy who wants 5 or more practice overheads, that takes at least three of four minutes itself?), and one minute for serves.   Better not miss a ball and have to retrieve it from somewhere.”

“So, let’s get real… a 7-minute warmup should be absolute minimum and 10 minute the norm.   With 7-minutes, officials should call for serves at 5 minutes and then hopefully a little flexible.   With 10 minutes call for serves at 8 and be a little tougher.   Maybe in the first couple matches when there are lots of matches it’s necessary to do 7 minutes, but later on what’s the hurry?  10 minutes should be good for quarters on.

Why Not?

I agree.  In the grand scheme of tournament scheduling, if a match is one hour and thirty-five minutes vs. one hour and forty minutes, that is not going to dramatically impact court time.  So I would vote to give it on the front end.

P.S. Larry Turville reports that the January doubles tournament WILL have the full ten minute warm-up period and the CAT II should be able to do at least seven minutes in the early (busy) rounds.

Your thoughts?

Yesterday, I teamed with Chuck Kinyon in the 2nd Annual Huntington Lakes Senior Tennis Exhibition match vs (my January partner) Matt Davie and George Morton, who crushed us 6-2, 6-2!

with Chuck, Matt and George

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4 thoughts on “Enough Warm-up Time?

  1. I could not agree more. And I am a person who actually does not need that much warm up to play a match [mainly because my strokes are so bad there is nothing I can do to improve them. :-)] Five minutes is woefully too short, and it is correct that it is nearly impossible to find a practice court, especially in the early rounds when a bunch of matches are being called together and everybody else is competing for the same few practice courts at the same time.

    But not all tournaments are unreasonable about this. In the 50s nationals on grass that is played every August at Germantown, which I like to play because I am so old I have a built in excuse for losing, I live only 20 minutes away so I don’t have to travel, and I just happen to like grass as a surface, the tournament director gives a nice speech every year, just before the first rounds begin. She gives the usual instructions, but then she announces that the tournament will be “reasonable” about the length of warm ups, and the like. She always prefaces this with acknowledgement that a lot of guys travel a very long distance to play in this event, at great personal expense and inconvenience, and the tournament does not want to see anybody get injured or defaulted out of the tournament over something silly.

    She never actually says that the players will have more time than 5 minutes, but I have noticed that the roving USTA officials are not too quick to pull out their watches either. Rather, what seems to be enforced is kind of an overall “reasonableness” standard: If you only take 5 minutes, great. If you stretch it to 7 minutes, you might get a gentle non-verbal warning, like a tap on the official’s wrist watch, but nothing bad will happen. If you extend it to 10 minutes, you may still be ok but an official might stand there staring at his or her watch to let you know you are trying their patience. If you try to stretch it to more than that, you will be given a slightly less gentle verbal warning and you just know you need to start playing. Still no official penalties, however.

    It is civilized; it is reasonable; and it is another reason why I like the event.

    Marty, “reasonable” is all that is asked for! Thanks. George

  2. There is no way 5 minutes works for me. I will always find someplace to hit. More then once I have hit on a brick wall behind a store. If I travel very far the day of, I will find a court to hit on, on the way there. If I am there a day early I will locate a court somewhere to warm up on. Perhaps an apartment complex with sign that says for residents only. mmmm I am only looking for 20 minutes and getting kicked off a court is not something I am unexperienced with. (just call it youthful rebellion). Last summer I played my first grass court tournament and warmed up for 45 minutes on har-tru. Anything is better then just 5 minutes.
    Randy Beerman

    Randy, “necessity is the mother of invention”! thanks, george

  3. George, You probably not surprised for me to chime in on this topic and you probably are not surprised this is one of my pet peeves – inadequate warm-up. One way to help is to do a dynamic warm-up prior to going on the court. Movement exercises like arm circles, windmills, plus leg swings, karaokes, high knees, and butt kicks. At least you get your temperature elevated, increase blood flow, and heart rate increased. But the 10-minute of actually hitting is also important. By proper warm-up you improve your performance and more importantly reduce chance of injury.

    Larry, the picture i have is of Rafa coming onto the court already sweating! thanks, george

  4. Most good officials that I know, make it a “loose five minutes” and usually give the two minute warning at five minutes.

    Gerry, better than 5 minutes, but not as good as 10. Thanks. George

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