Every tennis player has their own quirks on the court when they are in the middle of a match. One of the more common quirks is blowing on the hands.
From an outsider, this might seem like nothing more than a habit developed over the years that serves no actual purpose. However, some players believe that blowing on their hands is a strategic move in the right situations.
Why do tennis players blow on their hands? Tennis players blow on their hands to improve grip in some way. When it’s hot out and the hands are sweaty, blowing on them can dry the hands-off. For colder temperatures, the warm breath can heat up the fingers and inject some life into them.
Players might not always do it for strategic reasons, as it also develops into a habit on the court during dead times.
Warm Weather Blowing on the Hands
The majority of tennis matches take place during hot weather, so players are constantly toweling off and trying to stay dry.
All that sweat can really throw off a player taking swings to the ball with a racquet, as the grip gets slippery. Professionals can change the grip as often as they like, but amateur players might need to find another solution instead of using a new overgrip every single day.
That’s where blowing on the hands can first come into play. In essence, the mouth acts as a dryer for the fingers. Toweling off and wiping the fingers in certain ways can only help so much, so blowing on them will help to cut down on the amount of moisture dripping down the fingers.
How effective this ultimately comes down to the player. It does have some impact on the hand’s dryness, but probably not as much as people would like. After all, when a player is in the middle of a match that is 3+ hours long and it’s 90 degrees outside, it will take more than some blowing on the fingers to stop sweat completely.
Cold Weather Blowing on the Hands
If hand blowing takes place during warm weather, how can it also be effective during cold weather? In this instance, it all comes down to getting that warmth from the mouth.
The air a person breathes is pretty warm, and this tactic works for other athletes or even people just walking down the street. Blowing into the hands can warm the fingers up and allow for better movement.
Professional tennis is rarely played in cold weather, but even cooler temperatures can throw a player off. Getting the hands warm is essential to having the ability to hit the ball the way players are used to.
Whether it be blisters or burns on fingers, tennis players are dealing with some issues that might not be obvious to fans watching. Since the fingers are so important to grip the racquet, sometimes blowing on them is to help alleviate any kind of pain.
Blisters usually form on the hands and fingers of tennis players. By the time they reach professional levels, they already have calluses built up that help out. At the recreational level, it might be more common for blisters to develop and need some type of relief.
Blowing on the fingers won’t do a ton to make blisters go away, but they do help a little bit in the entire process. A better fix is to use tape to protect the irritated skin, or to just rest until everything is healed. It might not be the answer tennis players want, but it’s hard for blisters and burns to go away while still playing every day.
Creatures of Habit
All athletes have their own quirks and superstitions that they picked up at some time in their career. For some, it might just be blowing fingers. It’s a relatively harmless quirk, and we’ve already discussed how it can have a positive impact in the grand scheme of things.
If it’s only a habit that’s rarely serving any type of actual purpose, it’s more likely to happen when a player is about to return a server. They are waiting for the server to prepare, and it gives them something to do. In a way, it keeps the body moving, and players can still focus on their opponent while blowing on their fingers.
Alternatives To Blowing on Fingers
Now that we know that blowing on the fingers can help control sweat and warm up the hands, what are some other tricks players use? There are many different solutions out there, and most players have at least one or two that they find better than others.
Toweling off is usually the best way to handle sweat, but it gets tough going to the towel after every point. Not only is it time-consuming at the recreational level, but it can annoy the opposition at times as well. They make chalk and gels that help control sweat as well, so keep that in mind for changeovers.
To warm up, there are hand warmers available that are cheap and easy to implement. Also, wearing clothes with warm pockets can allow players to put their hands inside in between points. Getting that little bit of extra warmth can make a big deal in tennis.
Finally, dealing with blisters is best done with some athletic tape. This protects the fingers and allows them to heal the way they should. When the tape is put on the fingers the right way, it doesn’t cause any type of hindrance for those playing the game.
Some players will swear that hand blowing their fingers makes a huge impact on how they play overall. Others are quick to admit that it probably doesn’t do much of anything, but they are not about to stop at this point.
At the recreation level, many have picked up this habit simply because they watch a lot of tennis on television. When the cameras catch even the best of the best out there doing this, it seems like it would actually be effective. It’s pretty simple to see that it does make some impact, but probably not as much as many would like.
The best way to see if blowing on the fingers helps out individually is to give it a try. It might just be a way to improve play weirdly. There are other tricks to stopping sweat and warming up during play, but this is a practical option worth doing seconds before a serve comes.
There’s no right or wrong way to take care of certain finger issues on the tennis court. Ultimately, as long as a player is satisfied and feels confident in what they are doing, they should stick with their routine. It’s got them to this point, and there’s no reason to say that it won’t continue to provide value.