A tennis player’s bag is almost as important as the racquet or shoes. It should be the Swiss Army Knife of your game and the contents should be considered very seriously. Some of these items you may not need and may be necessary if you are an older player. All of these are suggestions and this list is probably far from complete.
- Towel – When you are out on court and in the heat and sweating profusely, having a towel to wipe sweat off of yourself or your racquet could be a major edge over an opponent who doesn’t have one.
- Sunglasses – There is no rule that you can’t use sunglasses when you play. Many players prefer to use them, in fact. On bright, sunny days they can help you see the ball when it is between the player and the sun. A major thing to consider is polarized lenses can have an effect on depth perception to try to make sure the ones you are using aren’t polarized.
- Hat – Much like sunglasses a hat can be a major tool to help keep the sun out of your eyes and sweat out of them as well. Keep one handy if you can. There are some that are made of lightweight dry-fit material that help reduce sweating.
- Band Aids – You never know. Blisters are a common thing for players usually on the feet because of rubbing in the shoes and other times on the hand from holding the racquet. Plus, anything can happen and you need one to stop bleeding from a minor cut or scrape. (Fences can be nasty)
- Over-grips – This is almost a no-brainer but you would be amazed how many players don’t have over-grips in their bags.
- Scissors – When applying over-grips, if you want the nice, professional touch using a pair of scissors on the grips will help by cutting off the excess material. There are many other uses for them as well. It’s just a good idea to have them in your bag.
- Sock – If you are playing a tournament, having a change, or many changes, of socks could be important. Changing them out between matches can help your feet stay dry and can help with blisters. It’s so important the Army tells soldiers to have them in their ruck sacks. Can’t go too wrong there.
- Water Bottle – This one seems like it doesn’t need to be said but… Just keep a water bottle on hand.
- Motrin – This is usually for older players but having a bottle on hand is not a bad idea. If a player gets a sprained ankle or other aches and pains, Motrin can help. (I am NOT a doctor and this is not medical advice)
- Ace Wrap – These can come in handy in case of an emergency and they do not take up much space in a bag, so why not keep one in there? If you suffer the unfortunate event of a sprained ankle or worse, having one on hand will provide a major piece of mind.
- Sunscreen!!! – This one may seem like a no-brainer but you would be surprised how many people don’t include it in their bag.
- Hair Ties – If you have long hair, having extra hair ties will help you keep your hair out of your face and let you see the ball better.
- Can of balls – This one may seem silly but you would be surprised how often you get to a tournament and the only balls available are those the tournament is using and you may not have any to warm up with. Bring your own.
- Sandals/Slides – If you are inclined, having sandals or slides to put on after a match gives your feet time to recover.
- FOOD!!! – Between matches it is imperative that you have something to eat and there may be times heading to a restaurant may not be an option. Having foods such as dried fruits, such as apricots or raisins, are a good idea as they can usually keep in your bag for a while without rotting or spoiling. Other options would be granola or trail mix as they generally have a good combination of carbs for longer lasting energy and sugar for quicker boosts of energy.
Things I include
- Music device – Between matches you usually have some down time. For me to stay in focus I usually bring an iPod or my phone with music on it so I can stay in the zone.
- Carabineer – My bag has one on it all the time so it’s not something I usually include but having one on your bag means if you are on courts with no benches or other things to set your bag on, hanging it on a fence may be a good idea. I’ve been to many courts that have ants crawling around the sides and keeping your gear off the ground helps!