You would have seen tennis players cover their mouths during play and between points. Why do they do that? Here’s a ready explainer on the reasons behind it.
Every sport requires excellent strategy if you aim to come out at the top and tennis is no different. The probability is high you have seen tennis players cover their mouths quite a number of times on the court, especially in doubles play.
This act may have piqued your curiosity and seemed weird to you but that is nothing more than a sport tactic. No one wants to sell out their ideas to their competitor.
This is especially true for double tennis players as the game requires utmost coordination, communication and planning in order to secure a win. We will highlight a number of reasons why tennis players cover their mouths during an encounter in the course of this article.
Why do Tennis Players Cover Their Mouths?
Part of Strategy
Tactics applied when playing during tennis is what differentiates the winners from the losers.
Players cover their mouth while speaking to their partner during a doubles match so that the opponents or their coach is not privy to your next move.
Whether you are discussing where the net player or baseline player positions, this information needs to stay between the two players in order to stay at an advantage. Without covering their mouths, it will be easy to read the players lips and figure out their next move.
Tennis players also cover their mouths during play in order to protect themselves. Presence of media coverage on the court means there is an even larger audience watching the players.
Keeping in mind that the relationship between parties is usually volatile, covering their mouths ensures that their strategies are not known to the whole world as that will compromise their future tournaments as competitors will easily be able to figure out their next move.
The media is almost always out to look for a good story and get the rumor mills going which is something a majority of tennis players abhor.
It is human to generally get upset if things are not going your way on the court and players might find themselves cursing out.
With all the TV cameras it is important that they do not embarrass themselves in public and risk hefty fines or reprimand. Covering their mouths protects them from such occurrences.
Tennis is a sport that requires high mental agility. The player’s emotional wellness and mood dictate their level of performance during a tournament. Partners in double tennis may speak to each other to lift each other’s spirit when the game gets hard.
It is important for tennis players to cover their mouths so that they do not divulge their weaknesses to their opponents as this will place them at a disadvantage.
Good communication between players ensures good rapport and is a recipe for excellent winning performance. It is almost like the fist-bumping ritual that other sports players have.
Tennis courts can be noisy, especially during tournaments.
The players may find it difficult to hear each other and covering their mouths helps amplify their voice so that their partner during a double game or coach may be able to hear what they are saying.
It will be an unpleasant sight to watch a professional tennis player yell into someone’s ears. They, therefore, opt to cover their mouths for courtesy, etiquette and to improve overall communication with each other.
In a double tennis match, players may want to communicate the opponent’s weaknesses and secure a win. However, they have to ensure that they remain clueless if they have to use the weakness to their advantage.
Tennis players also cover their mouths while reprimanding their partners and pointing out an issue.
This is however not advisable as it may make players lose their morale but cautioning them while covering your mouth ensures that the competitors do not advantage of the situation.
Hiding Facial Expressions
The face can relay a lot of information without intent through changes in expressions.
Tennis player try and hide their feelings by covering their mouths so that their opponents are not able to tell when they feel slighted, defeated or even upbeat as it could sell you out and enable your competitors figure out your next move.
Covering your mouth keeps you safe from any unwarranted observation and maintain your competitive edge within the tournament.
Tennis requires fast decision making and time is critical to the sport, covering your mouth ensures that you do not alert your opponent of your plans as it hides your face.
Self-talk may help you unclog your mind especially during stressful moments such as a tournament.
Tennis players may feel the need to release some tension in this way and no one likes someone intruding in their thoughts without permission.
Self-talk enables you to also notice some of the mistakes that might be losing you some points in the game or even figure out what strategy will work best against your competitor.
It is therefore very likely that they cover their mouths to avoid invasion in their privacy while trying to find mental clarity within themselves in order to ensure they have a great performance. The nature of this sport calls for mental clarity if you want to perform at your best.
Final Words on Why Players Cover Their Mouths in Tennis
The biggest reason behind covering one’s mouth while playing tennis comes in the form of hiding one’s strategy in doubles play.
Sure the opponents are far from them, and it might be difficult for them understand things anyway but there always remains that possibility, especially if there are good lip-readers around and it makes sense for players to not take that chance.
There are other reasons as well, like to hide one’s feelings about the opponent or about the partner itself from the media in order for them to not read too much into what’s going on.