- On December 20, 2019
Tennis court windbreaks are more and more popular in the UK. Windbreaks can greatly enhance player experience, and so club members are beginning to expect them rather than considering them ‘a nice-to-have’.
What do you need to look out for when choosing tennis court windbreaks? What size should they be? Are there any colour and print considerations for you to think about?
By following a few simple rules, furnishing your courts with windbreaks will be more straightforward.
Why a windbreak?
First and foremost, as the name says, they shield the court from wind. When you play on a court without windbreaks, it will influence your play. The wind will affect the service toss, and predicting the direction of a long shot can be annoyingly difficult.
Windbreaks have many other advantages as well. They can block out unsightly areas. They make it easier for players to see the ball in play by screening out a busy background. Movement outside the court becomes less distracting and windbreaks also provide privacy. Even a light mesh will give a feeling of privateness. This helps boost novice players’ confidence. It can also give your club a more professional feel and look.
A set of well-maintained windbreaks will truly upgrade your club’s appearance and standard. This can help attract and retain members by setting your club apart from low-cost public court alternatives.
Pick the right location and size
To be effective, the windbreak should have minimum height of 2m. Some manufacturers recommend a 2.5m height but a height over 2.5m can make your court feel closed-in, so don’t go overboard!
In general, both full length baseline ends of a court should be furnished with a windbreak.
Windbreaks along the long side of your courts is optional. Our local club, for example, is surrounded by housing so wind shield is less of a concern. However, the feeling that residents are constantly watching is. Our club therefore opted for windbreaks along all outer edges of the venue.
Most windbreaks are available in a standard ready-made size for a court’s baseline ends. However custom sizes are available too. Remember that hanging and replacing a very long windbreak can be difficult and costly. If you have a long stretch of fence to cover, consider going for two separate shorter panels rather than one very long panel.
Select the right type of material
Tennis court windbreaks come in a variety of materials. The most widely used material is a polyethylene weave in a choice of densities. Polyethylene is a strong yet lightweight material, a long-lasting fibre suitable for year round outdoor use.
A choice of two or three densities allows you to select the desired transparency of your windbreak. This density is often expressed in a degree of ‘shade’, such as 50% shade or 70% shade. Such a description is a little misleading as providing shade is not a main purpose of your windbreak. The lower ‘shade’ percentage means the material is more transparent. It will offer less wind protection and less visual shield.
If your windbreak carry a sponsor’s logo, remember that a more transparent material will make the logo stand out less.
Another material used for windbreaks is vinyl coated polyester. However, this type of material is less popular. While these windbreaks offer best wind protection and a 100% visual block, they are much heavier and therefore harder to install. They need a stronger fence to be attached to and there is a real danger of them being torn down in heavy storms. They can make a rattling noise when it’s windy.
Custom colour and print artwork considerations
Most windbreaks are available in a range of colours, including bright colours such as red, yellow, orange, violet. As tempting as it may be to give your club a colour lift, there are good reasons why windbreaks are traditionally coloured in a subtle green tone.
A natural green blends in with a leafy background and achieves the main purpose of limiting player’s distraction. Our advice is to stick with tradition. Opt for a shade of green for your windbreaks and keep bright colour schemes for other areas of your club where they don’t distract play.
Similar rules apply to any sponsor print to customise your windbreaks. This is not the right place for a bright, colourful print display. Instead, help players focus on the ball by choosing a subtle print colour.
The traditional colour choice of big tennis brands, such as Head and Wilson, has always been black print on a green windbreak for good reason.
Hanging a windbreak
A windbreak should be finished with re-enforced edge hemming and anti-rust eyelets all around. It is typically hung with carabiner hooks that can be re-used again and again should the windbreak need replacing. Some people use cable ties instead of carabiners but they can be cumbersome to cut off when a replacement is needed.
Only use galvanised or rust-proof finished hooks to avoid stains spoiling your new windbreak.
We recommend to always use the full number of hooks required for your windbreak. Skipping some eyelet to reduce the number of hooks can make your windbreak droop and look unsightly. It also increases the danger of it being torn down.
A set of windbreaks is becoming an essential element of a well-equipped tennis court. It serves a range of purposes, but most importantly, it helps players focus on the ball. Sponsored windbreaks can be an easy and cost effective way to upgrade your club.
Opt for a subdued design when it comes to selecting your windbreaks. Ideally go for the traditional black print on green background, a tried and tested combination that is proven to work well.
If you need more help and advice, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We offer windbreaks in standard and in customised size from our online shop here. We can help with sponsor artwork design and we offer a free print development service. Our German factory has the expertise and facilities for all three printing techniques: stencil, digital and screen printing.
Excellent product quality with a service to match – guaranteed.
Note: Tennis Court Supplies by Teamgeist Ltd is a London/ UK based company bringing modern, high-quality tennis court equipment to the UK. We supply wholesale, local authorities, schools and clubs.