Why Tennis Players Blow On Their Hands

There are many different things tennis players do during a match that might seem a bit puzzling to the average viewer. Watch any professional match, and at least one of the players will likely be blowing on their hands and fingers in between points. Not everyone does it, but some players can’t help but do it between almost every single point.

Why do tennis players blow on their hands? Most tennis players blow on their hands as a routine to get ready for the next ball. But, there are also players that blow on their hands to cool them down or to get the temperature up in cold weather conditions.

Dealing With Extremely Warm Conditions

Tennis during the summer can be pretty tough to play at a high level. In particular, holding onto the racquet is very difficult, as sweat starts to build up and make it harder and harder.

There are many different ways for a player to combat sweat. Players put on replacement grips frequently. They are easy to put on and replace when they get worn out, and top-level players might go through multiple grips a match.

There are also grip enhancers like chalk, gels, and more that help people out a lot. It might not seem like the biggest difference-maker in the world, but if applied at the right time, it can help reduce any type of slipping.

Then there are the standard things any person does when they have sweat covering their hands and fingers. They can wipe things off on their clothes, use towels, and yes, blow on their hands and fingers. This is to mimic what a blow dryer would do in a restroom. It might seem a little awkward at first, but it does an adequate job of eliminating sweat from time to time.

This is the most common answer when players are asked about blowing their hands and fingers. It makes sense because a sweaty grip can compromise all parts of a player’s game. It’s impossible to switch out grips in the middle of a game, so this is one way to get some quick drying in.

Dealing With Colder Conditions

Watch any outdoor sport, and there are plenty of athletes who are constantly blowing into their hands during the colder months. This is to warm up the hands as much as possible, even if it is just for a few seconds.

Once hands start to get very cold, it is nearly impossible to have any true touch or feel. Since that is so important for tennis, most players are doing whatever they can to warm up their hands.

The good news for professional tennis players is that there are very few matches that take place in cold weather conditions. There might be the occasional cold day or two at a tournament, but most are going to be held during the warmer months.

More Common At The Recreational Level

At the recreational level, this is a lot more common. Players are trying to get out there and play as often as possible, but depending on location, some months are pretty chilly. It gets even worse if the match please play during the night. 

Other alternatives to blowing on the hands to warm things up are hand warmers, gloves, or even a small space heater near the bench between changeovers. 

In really cold weather, the hands and fingers must stay warm, but the actual racquet and strings need warmth as well. Some players have either gone as far as blowing hot air from their mouths on the strings to warm them up a bit. In a sport that comes down to the smallest of margins, players are always looking for an edge.

Dealing With Blisters, Burns & More

Constantly swinging a racquet around for hours a day can develop some pretty nasty issues on the hands and fingers. The most common issue is developing a blister on the hand. Rafael Nadal is the most famous player right now who is constantly taping up his fingers to protect them from all his blisters.

Burns can also form just by the friction between the hands and the grip. Many people compare this to a carpet burn or something similar, and although it might not seem like much, it can severely affect how a person plays.

These issues are hard to play with because they only get worse as someone tries to play through them. That’s why players are trying to find as many remedies as possible to reduce the pain and make everything go away. Blowing on them can call the information down, and also reduce the level of pain.

Other Reasons Why Players Blow On Their Hands

Believe it or not, some players have just developed this into part of their routine to get ready for each point. Roger Federer is just one player who seems to do this all the time, even when he doesn’t have to. It gives off a laid-back, cool demeanor that also refocuses a player on a new point.

Think of it more as a way to feel locked in before a point. It might seem silly to some people, but when a player has been doing it for years and years, it just becomes part of the routine they can get behind. It makes more sense than some other routines out there players follow.

Does It Really Work?

For any tennis player who is considering this, try things out and see what kind of change it makes. It’s an effective method to not only cool the hands-off, but warm them up.

When looking at tapes from the past, many players did this for years and years to gain an edge. Tennis is so dependent on having the right grip and making just the right strokes that it can certainly help.

One of the best ways to test it out is to go ahead and do it right before serving. It is where a lot of people struggle with gripping the racquet the right way, so it’s easy to measure effectiveness.

Most people won’t run into too many issues at the beginning of the match, but towards the later stages, that’s when things start to change. It might be the difference between winning or losing a match, so people should try it out and see what works for them the best.

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