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Dembe: It’s time for outdoor tennis! Here’s how to get ready

Apr 28, 2016
written by: Joel Dembe
written by: Joel Dembe
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Now that the warm weather has returned to many parts of Canada, it’s time to pick up that racquet and get outside. With many clubs opening their outdoor courts the first weekend of May, it’s a great time to be planning for the tennis season ahead – I know I can’t wait! Here are my tips on how to prepare for the upcoming outdoor season:

How to find a community tennis club

An easy way to find a local tennis club is to use Tennis Canada’s helpful court finder, which includes over 1,000 courts across Canada. You can also find information about local tennis clubs, outreach programs, summer camps, and nearby tournaments with your provincial tennis association. Many of them have this information located on their websites as well.

court finder

For me, wheelchair accessibility is a bit important, so I always call ahead to the club I’m interested in to ask about court access. Many clubs across the country are removing barriers for persons with disabilities, which is a great thing!

In some cases, the actual court surface perhaps can come into play when deciding on what club fits best. Do you enjoy playing with longer rallies? Clay courts might be best. Clay is also a low-impact surface, meaning it could help you to prevent injuries long-term.

NTC outside clay courts

Many clubs throughout Canada also have special events, tournaments and social gatherings, so be sure to check the summer schedule to see what’s happening around your club.

Choosing what to wear

The weather can still be unpredictable in April and May, so it’s best to equip yourself with several different types of clothing. Windbreakers, spring jackets, track pants, and yes, toques, are helpful, especially in the early outdoor season.

To prevent injuries, it’s always best to wear layers to warm up before you begin playing a tennis match.

DC team

For some, keeping up-to-date with the latest “fashion” in tennis can be important (definitely not for me!). Many local sport equipment stores or tennis shops have brand-new clothing to select from in the springtime, so be sure to stock up on the latest trends.

Finding the right equipment

stock ball racquet

Besides clothing, many racquet companies like Wilson or Babolat release their new models each spring. Many of these “new models” are merely cosmetic, so be careful when selecting a new racquet for the upcoming season. The best way to determine which racquet is best is to demo it on court a few times. For me, I would know almost immediately after hitting with a new racquet whether or not it worked for me. You can also talk with your local head pro for information on new racquets that could potentially improve your ability on court.

There have also been some cool new tennis innovations made in the last few years. Did you know that it’s now possible to track the spin rate and velocity of your shots? There are a few racquet companies starting to do this, with Babolat leading way. Also, with wearable technology becoming more and more popular, devices like the Apple Watch are now able to track your movements on court.

How to find friends to play with


One of the biggest obstacles for many tennis players (especially newer ones) is finding a group of people to play tennis with. While many clubs have social leagues and doubles sign-ups, sometimes this isn’t available depending on your club.

A really cool website here in Toronto that I recently discovered is called “I Love Tennis” – which makes it easy to find and meet new players in your neighborhood. Hopefully soon, we’ll see this service expand to other cities as well. It never hurts to introduce someone new to tennis!

Get your body ready


If you’ve spent the entire winter staying indoors and being non-active, you will probably want to get your body ready for the outdoor season. Cardio Tennis is a great way to play tennis, stay active, and get a massive sweat going! Many clubs across Canada offer Cardio Tennis programs. It’s also a great way to meet new people.

How will you be preparing for the outdoor tennis season? Connect with me via Twitter and let me know what you’re doing to get yourself ready for the upcoming season. I wish everyone an active and healthy spring and summer ahead!