I write “Tennis on Vacation” but I might as well be talking about any activity you like to do and which you don’t want to give up when you travel. The most popular vacation exercise that people do is obviously running. That’s easy. You pack some shoes and, after you are wearing the shoes, move your feet somewhat faster than a walk. Other sports, however, are not quite so easy. Golf, for instance, can be a pain if you’re the sort of person who insists on using his/her own clubs (because checking those things as luggage for air travel is a nightmare). Playing tennis is, fortunately, not difficult. A 27” racquet fits quite nicely in most checked luggage and can be easily protected by surrounding clothes. I think, though, that we shouldn’t fool ourselves about the difficulties of athletic activities while on vacation. The real stumbling block, if we want to be honest, is motivation, not equipment.
Just Go Do It
I’m on Thanksgiving vacation as I write this article, and believe me when I say that being lazy is just as attractive to me as it might be to you. I enjoy running, but I don’t enjoy it so much that I regularly “find” time to run while on vacation. I’d much rather sit around eating pumpkin pie and cookies. Tennis is different. I go out of my way to find a public court. “But, but… ” you say. Yes, I know. Standing on a court staring over the net at nobody can be a bit boring and depressing (But wouldn’t it be funny to see someone doing that!). It’s definitely nice to have someone readily available with whom to play, but it isn’t necessary. Have you ever shown up at a court and asked someone already there if they’d like to rally a bit? Give it a try because I think you’ll be surprised; tennis people are usually just as desirous for fresh competition as you are for someone to help you get better.
I was without a partner once a few months ago. Thus, I set up a basket to practice serves. It wasn’t but 15 minutes before I had a guy wandering over asking me to play. He wasn’t very good, but that’s not the point. We had fun rallying together, simply playing at the same level so we could both have fun. Sometimes the mission is competition, and sometimes it’s just to run around having fun. So, it’s simple; get out on that court and start playing. Either you will find someone to play with or someone will find you. If not – well, just hit some serves or find a wall to bang around on. If you want to get really creative find any solid surface (garage door, bus, chimney, horse, wagon or driver) and practice volleys! Thinking outside the box is what we need to do when our normal routine is thrown awry. Heck, if you’re inside and it’s raining outside there are numerous ways in which to bounce a ball on your racquet or against any random indoor surface (not babies though — babies don’t like that).
Find a Court!
The USTA has a tool on their website that will find the closest court to wherever you may be. Give it a try here. There are also a couple of tennis court finder iPhone apps, but I haven’t tried any so I can’t vouch for them (and thus, will not advertise any of them – but you can do a search. If they’re good, let me know.)