MYTH or FACT: Why Do Tennis Players Blow on Their Hands
Sports professionals across multiple sports use different hand gestures for a variety of reasons, but tennis players in particular blow on their hands between points or when preparing for the next move. And their fans are left wondering what could be the reason behind that. Let’s find out!
Tennis players blow on their hands for different reasons. Sometimes they do it out of habit or to prepare themselves for the opponent’s serve. Other times they blow on their fingers to bring down their hand’s temperature in humid weather or to warm it up during cold weather.
In addition, they employ other ways to ease down their playing hand. Tennis is a contact sport that requires players to use their one dominant hand to the max, so they have to comfort it in every way possible.
Reasons Why Tennis Players Blow on Their Hands
Let’s dig deep and explore the reasons tennis players blow on their hands.
Believe it or not, many tennis players are superstitious like other ordinary people. Owing to their superstitions, they blow on their hands, believing they perform better on a court that way.
There are players who wear the same headband and pair of their lucky socks to every match, thinking these things make them win the match.
Blowing on the hands is one of the players’ many superstitions that they think makes them perform well on a court.
Superstitions have got nothing to do with a player winning a match but they only give players the much-needed push to win a match, especially when they’re competing against a strong player.
Like every other contact sport, tennis is also a high-pressure game, so players need to use their antidote to defeat a strong contender. For some of them, blowing on their hands is the remedy to winning a match.
#2 Deal With Hot Weather
Most tennis tournaments take place in Summers, and tennis involves holding a racquet for extended periods. This makes the players’ palms sweat profusely, loosening their grip, so they blow on their hands to make them dry for a firmer grip.
They also use hand towels to wipe off the sweat and make their hands dry for a better grip but doing this between points and serves is not practical all the time, so blowing is the only convenient option at hand (quite literally).
When they blow on their hands, the air dries off the moisture, which doesn’t let the racquet slip off their hands, so that’s a pretty smart move, I believe, to achieve a sturdy grip instantly.
Other than blowing on the hands, players also frequently change their grips.
If you’re an avid tennis fan like me, you must have noticed players changing their grips many times during a match or applying materials like chalk or gel to improve their grip.
Changing grips or applying chalk/gel is not convenient when you’re trying to close a match, but once these techniques are used at the right time, they turn out to be quite helpful.
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#3 Deal With Cold Weather
Tennis tournaments majorly take place around summers, and seeing sportsmen play in freezing temperatures is not a common sight. However, there are occasions when tennis players do step onto the court for a match in winter.
A contact sport, as I said, is not easy, and in winters, where you can barely feel your hands, playing tennis is an uphill task.
Players blow air on their fingers to warm up their hands and be able to feel them at least.
The air helps bring up the temperature and get the blood flowing through their hands to make them grip the racquet easily.
Sometimes, players even blow on the racquet strings to keep them warm.
Alternatively, players wear hand warmers or gloves to keep their palms warm while playing in winters. There are times when blowing on the hands doesn’t work as effectively, so they have to use alternative methods to relieve the numbing sensation.
Some players even keep heaters on the bench, so they can keep the body warm and running during changeovers.
Not only do the hands need heating, but the strings and racquet too, so the players need to use space heaters or gloves to overcome this problem.
» I have also written this post about: Top 10 Best Tennis Strings For Spin – The No.1 Guide
#4 Prepare For the Next Move
Different tennis players have different quirks on the courts and one of them is blowing on their hands. I’ve explained a few reasons they do so, like bringing the temperature up or down, drying their sweaty palms, and more.
In addition to these different reasons, players blow on their hands out of habit. As I said, they have different quirks.
Like football and cricket players have different ways of celebrating victory, tennis players blow on their hands to gear up for the next move.
It’s like they do this by default and are so tuned to using the hand gesture that it becomes like a ritual for them. It is something they follow religiously.
#5 To Prevent Blisters and Burns
Tennis is an extremely challenging contact sport that leaves blisters and burns on players’ hands. The firm grip of the racquet for extended periods intensely hurts their hands.
Even with all the pain, they cannot quit mid-way, so as a means of temporary relief, they blow on their hands. This attempt may not solve the issue, but it triggers a comforting response that keeps the players going through the entirety of the game.
Friction between sweating palms and racquet leaves blisters and burns so players keep blowing on the fingers either to avoid getting them or to provide some respite.
Rafael Nadal is one of the players who keep taping his fingers to prevent blisters and burns.
» I have covered more on this subject in this blog post: 9 Best Babolat Tennis Racquets – The Best Guide
#6 Relieve Numbness
Keeping a tight grip on the racquet and using the full forearm force of your playing hand for a long duration can leave it numb and aching.
Players blow on their hands to bring them back to action and make them functional to counter the numbness.
This may not do much to ease the pain or bring only temporary relief, but that’s the best players can do at that point in time to alleviate numbness. At that given point, it soothes their aching muscles and takes them a long way in the match.
During the match, there’s not much that players can do, so they have come up with solutions to overcome issues in the most manageable ways possible.
Humans are a creature of habit, and tennis players pick up certain habits as they progress in their career. Different players have different quirks.
Ernest Gublis likes to juggle tennis balls before beginning a match, while Marion Bartoli jumps or hops on the court and then there are so many of them who like to blow on their hands out of habit.
This is just their own way of gearing up for the match ahead or something that develops into a habit, which they eventually start practicing every time they set foot on a court.
In tennis, blowing on the hands is nothing unusual for players. A habit of some players that boosts their confidence and helps them tackle the competition ahead of them.
What better than a little action that can be so beneficial in the long run?
» Read more about this in my post: Top 20 Greatest Female Tennis Players (All-Time Rankings)
Why Does Roger Federer Blow on His Hands?
The world’s top-rated tennis player, Roger Federer, has a few quirks up his sleeve too, where he likes to shake off his hair or blow on his hands. Well, that’s just a reflection of his personality. Moreover, he blows on his hands to remove excess moisture and sweat.
This is also a part of Federer’s reset routine where he likes to gear up for the next move while simultaneously forgetting about the previous point. This lets him focus better.
In addition, players need a strong grip to play efficiently, so they need to dry out as much moisture as possible and keep their palms sweat-free. For the same reason, Federer blows on his hands to achieve a completely dry hand.
Contrary to this, there’s a locker room joke that Federer doesn’t sweat as much, so I’d like to say blowing on the hands is just the player’s swagger. And this is how he likes to keep his fans enticed.
Does Blowing on Your Hand Work in Tennis?
Yes, blowing on the hand actually works for tennis players. This is actually the most effective and prompt way of drying the moisture from the palm and keeping it cool during humid conditions.
Once the hands are dry, tennis players get to have a firmer grip on their racquets and they can eventually perform to the best of their abilities.
Blowing on the hand also relieves numbness and warms up the fingers and palm in winter. If you’re a tennis aspirant, I’d advise you to try your luck with this method and see how this works for you.
The best way to test the efficacy of this trick is to do it right before playing a serve. It will help you have a firmer grip on the racquet and perform well on the court.
» You can also read my post: How Does Seeding Actually Work in Tennis?
There are a number of reasons tennis players blow on their hands, and I hope my article has solved the mystery for you. If you’re an avid fan or a professional tennis player, you could also try this technique out to achieve any purpose you want to achieve.