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Dvine
05-10-2007, 11:39 PM
My coach made a comment to me yesterday that sort of made me thinking...

She said: "it takes about 5 years to become a good player and about 10 years to become a REALLY good player"

What do you guys think about this?

Hmm...if it's true then it's bad news for me as I started playing tennis just a year ago, haha!

Guess I'll never become a pro then! hehe...
:lol:

When is it too late to become a pro anyway?

Duzza
05-10-2007, 11:44 PM
Yep sounds about right. On average of course, some vary from others.

thu_huong
05-10-2007, 11:46 PM
My coach made a comment to me yesterday that sort of made me thinking...

She said: "it takes about 5 years to become a good player and about 10 years to become a REALLY good player"

What do you guys think about this?

Hmm...if it's true then it's bad news for me as I started playing tennis just a year ago, haha!

Guess I'll never become a pro then! hehe...
:lol:

When is it too late to become a pro anyway?

Ha ha
just try and maybe I'll be your fan:grin:

Mick
05-10-2007, 11:54 PM
it depends on what you define good and really good to be.

to me, good is 4.0 and really good is better than 4.0 :)

Solat
05-11-2007, 12:23 AM
well look at it more like how many balls hit or hours on court rather then years played.

eg. i have played guitar for 7 years, but at best you would describe my playing as infrequent. I know people who have played 1 year who are twice as good as me because they play every day.

but also tutoring / coaching will dramatically effect progress.

SourmonkeyG
05-11-2007, 12:55 AM
i agree, its actual time spent and not a generalization in terms of years.

oldhacker
05-11-2007, 01:43 AM
Natural aptitude and talent play a huge part in all this and do not get mentioned enough on these boards. It is a fact that the vast majority of the population are not born with the natural attributes and abilities to get to 5.0 level or above (let alone pro level) however much they play. Also because tennis is a highly technical sport even those with the requisite natural ability still have to play a lot to become very good players. There are plenty of hugely talented guys out there (I know a few of them) who played and were coached intensively for 10 plus years with the goal of making it to pro level but could not make it. I am lucky enough to get to hit with one of these guys I know (probably about a 6.0 these days) from time to time and even though I am of above average natural sporting ability I realise from being on court with him that I could never reach anywhere near his level. It inspires me to try and be the best I can but realsitically unless you are lucky enough to be born with, say, top 1% natural ability no amount of hard work and teaching will compensate for it.

Dvine
05-11-2007, 02:28 AM
Natural aptitude and talent play a huge part in all this and do not get mentioned enough on these boards. It is a fact that the vast majority of the population are not born with the natural attributes and abilities to get to 5.0 level or above (let alone pro level) however much they play. Also because tennis is a highly technical sport even those with the requisite natural ability still have to play a lot to become very good players. There are plenty of hugely talented guys out there (I know a few of them) who played and were coached intensively for 10 plus years with the goal of making it to pro level but could not make it. I am lucky enough to get to hit with one of these guys I know (probably about a 6.0 these days) from time to time and even though I am of above average natural sporting ability I realise from being on court with him that I could never reach anywhere near his level. It inspires me to try and be the best I can but realsitically unless you are lucky enough to be born with, say, top 1% natural ability no amount of hard work and teaching will compensate for it.

But what is "natural ability" really? If you learn the technical aspects of the game REALLY well, does that not make you a "really good player"?

;)

Dvine
05-11-2007, 02:32 AM
But what is "natural ability" really? If you learn the technical aspects of the game REALLY well, does that not make you a "really good player"?

;)

Did I just use the word "really" like a hundred times in my reply??

That's really weird.

Oops! 101 times now! :p

oldhacker
05-11-2007, 02:47 AM
Dvine - hard to define but if you look at extreme examples and consider people walking or jogging you get some people who are naturally flat-footed, slow moving and unco-ordinated and others who seem to glide along. It is no coincidence that the best teenagers at my club also happen to be exceptional soccer players and runners. You can learn and practice all the technical theory to death but unless you are blessed with a body which can move to the correct position early and execute smoothly, co-ordinating all the body parts in the right sequence and timing and consistantly you will hit a wall somewhere along the line. To take another extreme example if natural ability did not come into it we would all have the potential to play like Roger Fedrerer if we put enough in but the fact of the matter is that it is way beyond what our bodies are capable of.

But what is "natural ability" really? If you learn the technical aspects of the game REALLY well, does that not make you a "really good player"?

;)

Dvine
05-11-2007, 04:17 AM
That's true, some people have the stamina to run marathons and others don't (without coughing their lungs up!)

To further complicate this thread, how about one's height? Is it better to be tall in tennis than short?
Reason I'm asking is because I am quite short (5,2" or 158 cm) and I have gotten different reactions to this. Some say my lenght has nothing to do with how I play tennis and others say it does.
Personally, I think my height does matter but I also find myself to work around it and compensate it in other ways.

And no, I'm not talking about standing on a chair....
(as one guy suggested once!)
:confused:

Andres
05-11-2007, 06:43 AM
Depends. I have been playing for a little more than 13 years, and I still feel that I SUCK!!!

The longest you play, the more certain you are about how sucky your tennis is :cry:

smoothtennis
05-11-2007, 07:13 AM
Ok Divine...I'll offer my take. In *general*, given that a person is not taking weekly lessons from a pro, it 'may' take ten years to become really good.

I came to tennis late. I have been playing now 10 yrs myself. I was a school track athelete, and always had good coordination and quickness. So I had 'some' talent to work with. I was able without instruction, to get to 3.5 within one year, and beat 3.5 players. However...for five years, I had trouble improving a lot. Only in the past 5 years, have I had some real breakthroughs that have propelled my game, to me, dramatically.

What changed? My understanding of what was going on. Balance, timing, energy transfer without muscle tension...things like this. And awareness of what was going on in a match (Thanks Brad Gilbert!). It just takes time sometimes, and I was a once a week player.

Now...I have a base understanding, and improvements are coming much faster than before. I could have taken lessons, and likely cut off many years, but then now, at least I have internalized many things, instead of just trying to do what somebody told me to do.

I think ten years is pretty accurate for a normal person, that plays once a week, and actually tries to improve thier game every week.

You say that sounds daunting? Be realistic, it really isn't at all. You can develop enough of a game in a year or two, that you can go out and play good tennis with good players, and have a great time doing it. The lightbulb *breakthroughs* are usually minor things...that have great impact on your game and your opponent.

spadesss
05-11-2007, 07:27 AM
it depends on what you define good and really good to be.

to me, good is 4.0 and really good is better than 4.0 :)

agreed with Mick.
most people will probably never go higher than 4.0.
its hard to find people to play with on a higher level than you are and i don't think most of us are paying $$$ to have professional instructors guide us to that next level up. i think for the social hackers like me are happy to get on the court, have fun, not get injure, not double faulting every other serve, and get a good workout.

you can get up to 3.0 pretty quick. i seen a girl do it over the summer. i started to play with her and give her the basics for a month os so. and then not see her for maybe 4 months after that.
the next time we played, she was hitting a few winners. she played everyday with someone better than her and her groundstokes developed. i think i was quite amazed how well i taugher her :p.

kevhen
05-11-2007, 07:30 AM
I would agree with this. It took me about 5 years to get to 3.5 and then another 7 years to get to where I am now winning some 4.5 matches. As long as you let your game evolve you can continue to improve, but you have to throw out any bad habits.

oldhacker
05-11-2007, 07:49 AM
Other relevant factors are what age you start and whether you take instruction from the beginning. It is much easier to learn technique when you are a kid and very difficult to unlearn bad technique and replace it with good technique whatever age you are. Also at some point the aging process (body slows down, takes longer to recover etc.) catches up with all of us and has a negative impact on our level of play whatever we do - especially at higher levels and singles.

Tennismastery
05-11-2007, 08:36 AM
From my experience, the 5 and 10 year estimates are about 2 and 5 years off. Obvioulsy, we must give a quanitative value to what we consider "good" and "really" good. Good in my book is a 4.0 player, one who usually uses reasonably skilled stroke patterns (but not necessarily in all shots), and one who has been competing at that level for at least a year. Really good would be about a 5.0 player. These players are in almost all cases technically sound, hit strokes that are on par with professional levels type strokes, (limited by experience, consistency within such stroke mechanics, and obviously a lack of winning at this level...other wise they would be at the 5.5 level!)

In my 35 years of teaching tennis, of the 3000+ players I have taught, the vast majority of those who I took as beginners reached the "Good" level within three years of playing for me. A percentage of these players reached "really good" levels some within four years, others a little longer.

I have a housewife who has been playing less than two years and she is a 4.0 level player, played in her first 4.0 tournament two weeks ago, losing in three sets in both her first rounds of main and back draw competition.

The real defining concept is the way the individual was initially taught. If anyone was taught methods that are initially easier to assimilate and begin "playing" with, these players tend to stagnate at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels even as many of them take lessons, compete and seek higher levels. The point is these players will nearly always revert to their most comfortable strokes in competition. The toughest student to teach tennis to is the long-time 3.5 level player who resists any subtle to significant change in their grips, swing patterns and footwork patterns, (if these are areas that are preventing them from moving on to more competitive levels of play.)

I have had many kids and adults who seemingly lacked natural or 'gifted' levels of athleticism who went on to become some of my most successful and ranked junior players.

The other defining concept is DESIRE. With sincere desire, players will dedicate themselves to reaching the goal: if the goal is advanced tennis, they will usually seek out the means to play at such levels. However, the real problem is that even with great desire, if a player is given faulty information, all the effort in the world will not equate into reaching skilled play. A player who hits ten thousand balls with the wrong stroke will not 'spontaneously' start hitting great shots with the right stroke.

Think about it. Because if you really want to become skilled, you must practice those methods that will not have to change, and you will need to become comfortable with such methods if they are initially uncomfortable.

You will have to take the training wheels off at some point!

richw76
05-11-2007, 10:51 AM
From my experience, the 5 and 10 year estimates are about 2 and 5 years off. Obvioulsy, we must give a quanitative value to what we consider "good" and "really" good. Good in my book is a 4.0 player, one who usually uses reasonably skilled stroke patterns (but not necessarily in all shots), and one who has been competing at that level for at least a year. Really good would be about a 5.0 player. These players are in almost all cases technically sound, hit strokes that are on par with professional levels type strokes, (limited by experience, consistency within such stroke mechanics, and obviously a lack of winning at this level...other wise they would be at the 5.5 level!)

In my 35 years of teaching tennis, of the 3000+ players I have taught, the vast majority of those who I took as beginners reached the "Good" level within three years of playing for me. A percentage of these players reached "really good" levels some within four years, others a little longer.

I have a housewife who has been playing less than two years and she is a 4.0 level player, played in her first 4.0 tournament two weeks ago, losing in three sets in both her first rounds of main and back draw competition.

The real defining concept is the way the individual was initially taught. If anyone was taught methods that are initially easier to assimilate and begin "playing" with, these players tend to stagnate at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels even as many of them take lessons, compete and seek higher levels. The point is these players will nearly always revert to their most comfortable strokes in competition. The toughest student to teach tennis to is the long-time 3.5 level player who resists any subtle to significant change in their grips, swing patterns and footwork patterns, (if these are areas that are preventing them from moving on to more competitive levels of play.)

I have had many kids and adults who seemingly lacked natural or 'gifted' levels of athleticism who went on to become some of my most successful and ranked junior players.

The other defining concept is DESIRE. With sincere desire, players will dedicate themselves to reaching the goal: if the goal is advanced tennis, they will usually seek out the means to play at such levels. However, the real problem is that even with great desire, if a player is given faulty information, all the effort in the world will not equate into reaching skilled play. A player who hits ten thousand balls with the wrong stroke will not 'spontaneously' start hitting great shots with the right stroke.

Think about it. Because if you really want to become skilled, you must practice those methods that will not have to change, and you will need to become comfortable with such methods if they are initially uncomfortable.

You will have to take the training wheels off at some point!

Exactly Tennismastery I was an ok Juniors Player, top 50 in florida..... well second year 16 and unders. Anyway, I started very "Late" I was in the 7th grade so probably about 12 when I started, but I had good coaching/hitting partners, and I loved tennis. Ate, drank, dreamed tennis. played almost 7 days a week and if I was on break I would play all morning eat lunch then hit til dark.

That's just to say if you don't have to unlearn bad habits and work hard. (You can't teach or coach hard work) Some guys will try to run down that cross court winner even though they have "no chance" at it soem won't, Soem will practice with attention and intensity if it's 30 minutes into practice or 3 hours, it's personality it's hard wired and it makes a huge difference.

From my experiences it seems that "natural ability" or lack of, is usually an excuss not to perform..... Until you get to a high level Say good colegiate tennis on up. Then you are talkign the top .0001% of the population and top .01% of people playing your sport you get people that no matter how hard they work they will never progress.

Me I currently play 2-3 time a week, one with a coach, one or two doubles or singles play. If I play 4.0 guys I almost always win, 4.5 guys usually beat me and I've played off and on 18-20 years. It tookme about 4 years to compete at a relatively high Junior level.

mucat
05-11-2007, 11:49 AM
In another word, it takes 5-10 years to find out you are really suck at tennis. ;)

imsoaznwashed
05-11-2007, 12:11 PM
i think that the estimate for 3 years to be 4.0 is fairly accurate, but it just depends on how much time and effort the player is willing to seriously commit to competing and getting better.

richw76
05-11-2007, 12:11 PM
exactly!! :grin: I wasn't good enough to get a scholarship at a decent school, and at the time I thought I wanted to be a doctor so I went to the best school I could get into and didn't touch a racket for about 7 years. All of my friends that continued to college on scholarships basically coached at clubs during the summer for spending money for school. It's just like every other Pro sport much less than half of 1 percent of competitive participants will even make the "big time" let alone win. If you love it play, and if your gonna play you may as well win, since it's so much more fun than losing. But keep a little perspective since you will most likely never make a career of it.

shindemac
05-11-2007, 01:10 PM
Yes, that's what the consensus is. Even if you make it to the pros, it could take more than a few years to get out of the lower ranks of the tennis tournies like futures and challengers. Safin has the belief if you're not a top player (like 200 or something, I forgot), then you're just fooling around and not trying hard enough.

randomname
05-11-2007, 01:31 PM
Natural aptitude and talent play a huge part in all this and do not get mentioned enough on these boards. It is a fact that the vast majority of the population are not born with the natural attributes and abilities to get to 5.0 level or above (let alone pro level) however much they play. Also because tennis is a highly technical sport even those with the requisite natural ability still have to play a lot to become very good players. There are plenty of hugely talented guys out there (I know a few of them) who played and were coached intensively for 10 plus years with the goal of making it to pro level but could not make it. I am lucky enough to get to hit with one of these guys I know (probably about a 6.0 these days) from time to time and even though I am of above average natural sporting ability I realise from being on court with him that I could never reach anywhere near his level. It inspires me to try and be the best I can but realsitically unless you are lucky enough to be born with, say, top 1% natural ability no amount of hard work and teaching will compensate for it.



and how exactly do you know this? I think odds are you have no idea what your talking about

Taxvictim
05-11-2007, 02:12 PM
The real defining concept is the way the individual was initially taught. If anyone was taught methods that are initially easier to assimilate and begin "playing" with, these players tend to stagnate at the 3.0 or 3.5 levels even as many of them take lessons, compete and seek higher levels. The point is these players will nearly always revert to their most comfortable strokes in competition. The toughest student to teach tennis to is the long-time 3.5 level player who resists any subtle to significant change in their grips, swing patterns and footwork patterns, (if these are areas that are preventing them from moving on to more competitive levels of play.)


You talked about this in the other thread, also. I've ordered your book and will work hard to learn the correct form, then stick to it in play, but it sure is easy to revert back when the new form is failing you in a game.

Tennismastery
05-11-2007, 02:26 PM
You talked about this in the other thread, also. I've ordered your book and will work hard to learn the correct form, then stick to it in play, but it sure is easy to revert back when the new form is failing you in a game.

You are so right! It is human nature to do exactly what you mentioned! (Which is why I am so adament on learning the game correctly for those starting out!)

People don't realize that nearly everyone in any form of competition, even a recreational or social match, will try to win. And this results in players reverting to what is most comfortable...and hence, most confident, even if the player knows the form is limiting.

The thing to do is to be very clear on what you are trying to achieve in the way of technique, create a plan to practice, employ it and stick with it, know what that technique will eventually allow you to do, and then give it time. In fact, you should just assume that that is your technique from this day forward and deal with any failure as an element of timing and/or aim...not a element of structual failure...since you KNOW that going back will only prevent you from achieving both the desired form as well as the progressive success you will gain from it over time.

Good luck! Hope my book provides the 'blueprint' for your reaching your goals.

lovin'it
05-11-2007, 03:34 PM
I am reading this thread intently, as I am somewhat stuck as to what it takes to get better... I am a 44 year old, in shape, only moderately athletic 'housewife' who plays 12 to 15 hours a week, womens's doubles...I guess I am 3.0 to 3.5 level. I know strategy, but think my game needs technical tweeking to really improve beyond that. I have ordered this 'tennis mastery' book, looked at the on-line videos and WANT, WANT, WANT to get better!!!! I figure it is time, technical lessons (of which I am looking for a new pro as in a previous post, my guy is wanting to change my eastern forehand/semi-western forehand grip toward the continental grip) and feel I am grabbing each nugget of information, desperately wanting to get better. So I read...TIME + CORRECT FORM = PROGRESS...good luck to you in this passionate pursuit!!

lovin'it
05-11-2007, 03:36 PM
didn't mention, I am 3 to 4 years into this, so, 7 to 6 years til 4.0!!!

Tennismastery
05-11-2007, 03:43 PM
didn't mention, I am 3 to 4 years into this, so, 7 to 6 years til 4.0!!!

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had several housewives become 4.0 players in less than 2 years. But, I will admit, those that did had no 'bad habits' as they were raw beginners (and a couple of them had children who were top-ranked players too before they decided to jump in!)...so they had both the best info, good role models, were good athletes, in good shape, (but this had only a marginal contribution to their skill attainment!), and each bought into the teaching patterns I insisted and each employed these patterns in competition from the get-go.

In your case, your decision to learn the best techniques, employ them always, and set goals for yourself, will greatly reduce the time it will take to make some changes and then own them to the point of reaching the skilled levels you desire.

Good luck!

jasoncho92
05-11-2007, 04:12 PM
That's true, some people have the stamina to run marathons and others don't (without coughing their lungs up!)

To further complicate this thread, how about one's height? Is it better to be tall in tennis than short?
Reason I'm asking is because I am quite short (5,2" or 158 cm) and I have gotten different reactions to this. Some say my lenght has nothing to do with how I play tennis and others say it does.
Personally, I think my height does matter but I also find myself to work around it and compensate it in other ways.

And no, I'm not talking about standing on a chair....
(as one guy suggested once!)
:confused:
At 5' 2" its harder to become really good as you said and nearly impossible to go pro

lovin'it
05-11-2007, 04:12 PM
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had several housewives become 4.0 players in less than 2 years. But, I will admit, those that did had no 'bad habits' as they were raw beginners (and a couple of them had children who were top-ranked players too before they decided to jump in!)...so they had both the best info, good role models, were good athletes, in good shape, (but this had only a marginal contribution to their skill attainment!), and each bought into the teaching patterns I insisted and each employed these patterns in competition from the get-go.

In your case, your decision to learn the best techniques, employ them always, and set goals for yourself, will greatly reduce the time it will take to make some changes and then own them to the point of reaching the skilled levels you desire.TENNISMASTERY>...ok, I got the housewife thing covered, I do have some bad habits I am trying to , a. uncover!, b. correct, I don't have the super athletic genes, but am not 'uncoordinated', ...my question, what ARE these teaching patterns you insist upon? Does this mean abandon the eastern grip on serve and use continental regardless of the outcome and until I get it right?? Or what DO you mean. I can, and have dropped my windshield wiper backhand on high balls, and can commit to the conti grip on all volleys, I am trying my hardest not to swing at volleys, and to get that correct form there, but have had a hard time committing to continental on serve as my serve with eastern is pretty darned ok, and I can place it well, which I find to be sometimes more key than power/spin...but is THIS the kind of thing/attitude that keeps me at 3.5?? If so, I can try, (again!) to change service grips to continental. Am I ok with eastern (slightly lower, on the bottom of that wide bevel nearing semi-western) for fh?? I don't mean to be impatient (but I am), but DARN, I want want WANT to improve my game this summer...

Are the answers to these questions stated above covered in your book (I just ordered it today!) Many thanks, lovin'it:-o

lovin'it
05-11-2007, 04:14 PM
if this helps, i am 5'10" (female), I think it does help, personally, lovin'it

drhopz
05-11-2007, 04:15 PM
I started year ago. I would rate myself at 3.0 at highest.

richw76
05-11-2007, 04:20 PM
Hey Loven'it if you are "looking for a new coach" I'd say stop wasting your time/money on the current guy and start "shopping around". You don't trust him, and since you don't trust him you will always revert back to what is not working and you will never get better. Like every other relationship in life you either trust or not :-) that said I'd say play some singles sometimes if you want to get better quicker. And again find a coach you trust and can work with. Good luck!

Tennismastery
05-11-2007, 04:43 PM
As I mentioned in an earlier post, I have had several housewives become 4.0 players in less than 2 years. But, I will admit, those that did had no 'bad habits' as they were raw beginners (and a couple of them had children who were top-ranked players too before they decided to jump in!)...so they had both the best info, good role models, were good athletes, in good shape, (but this had only a marginal contribution to their skill attainment!), and each bought into the teaching patterns I insisted and each employed these patterns in competition from the get-go.

In your case, your decision to learn the best techniques, employ them always, and set goals for yourself, will greatly reduce the time it will take to make some changes and then own them to the point of reaching the skilled levels you desire.TENNISMASTERY>...ok, I got the housewife thing covered, I do have some bad habits I am trying to , a. uncover!, b. correct, I don't have the super athletic genes, but am not 'uncoordinated', ...my question, what ARE these teaching patterns you insist upon? Does this mean abandon the eastern grip on serve and use continental regardless of the outcome and until I get it right?? Or what DO you mean. I can, and have dropped my windshield wiper backhand on high balls, and can commit to the conti grip on all volleys, I am trying my hardest not to swing at volleys, and to get that correct form there, but have had a hard time committing to continental on serve as my serve with eastern is pretty darned ok, and I can place it well, which I find to be sometimes more key than power/spin...but is THIS the kind of thing/attitude that keeps me at 3.5?? If so, I can try, (again!) to change service grips to continental. Am I ok with eastern (slightly lower, on the bottom of that wide bevel nearing semi-western) for fh?? I don't mean to be impatient (but I am), but DARN, I want want WANT to improve my game this summer...

Are the answers to these questions stated above covered in your book (I just ordered it today!) Many thanks, lovin'it:-o


Lovin-it...let me put it this way, if more advanced play uses the continental grip on the serve and volley, (which for 98% of advanced players it does!), then yes, using your eastern grip on your serve and volley will never get you to more advanced levels of play. Yes, it is the sense of 'accomplishment' that the eastern grip creates and the perception of comfort that prohibit players from using--and gaining comfort and success with--the proper grip for the proper stroke. I don't doubt you have a sense of perceived success using the eastern grip on the serve...but what is this success compared to? You have to answer this as the desire to use the continental grip will be greatly influenced when you compare what you are doing to those who are more proficeint at serving than you are. (And those who are serving at levels you want to reach!)

Remember, using inferior form will never result in prolific stroke patterns. So, it is time to imagine you are a complete beginner, and you are going to learn the best way to play and work on such patterns (probably NOT playing competitive points for at least a month!) and make sure you are using the right swing path and footwork for the right shot. Remember too, it is NOT just a grip change. On the serve, for example, the contact point, the body position, the swing path, and even the footwork is different between serves using the continental grip and those using the 'frying pan' eastern forehand grip.

Finally, YES! All of this is covered in detail in my book! So, please read it thouroughly and please too, let me know if your understanding is more complete in what you will need to do and then, let us all know how you are doing as you go!

As a parting bit of advice, imagine you are learning to play the piano: would you use two fingers only...since it is more comfortable and easier to 'play a song'...or would you take the time to learn to coordinate all your fingers and learn to play more prolific and enjoyable songs (both to play and to listen to!)? This is exactly the same mentality you will want to explore when learning to play tennis. If you only want to bunt and push and dink balls in play (relatively speaking, of course!), then using form that contributes to this style of play will ensure your stagnation at levels usually far below your potential.

I love this saying: I don't know anyone who picks up a tennis racquet and says, "Gee, I would love to play tennis...but I really want to suck at it." Yet, there are many millions of players who never get much better than 'mediocre' levels...

I want you to be one of those who does not get stuck!

Good luck!

lovin'it
05-11-2007, 04:54 PM
thanks, tennismastery, wish I could come to you for some intense therapy, but, I am looking forward to your book arriving soon!! ok, continental for serves, I know, I know...if you strive for mediocracy, that is what you will get...ok, let's practice this "ok, guys, I am working on a new service grip, so ... uh...DUCK!! " (not so hard!) thanks!! lovin'it

GuyClinch
05-11-2007, 05:07 PM
I find it really hard to self-coach and get better.

I see lots of reasons for this - namely..

1) A bad mental image of what your supposed to be doing on the court as far stroke production goes.

2) A lack of "body awareness" that your doing something wrong. So many people hit with obviously "ugly" strokes but I doubt they feel it.

3) Lack of court time.

I think maybe I should video myself play because I can't always feel what I am doing wrong. I been stuck at 3.0 or 3.5 for a while now. Actually I think I am not so strong 3.0 because I wasn't so great in my 3.0 leage. But I beat alot of people who claim to be 3.5. :P

I am pretty tempted to get this tennis book but I have several tennis books and frankly they haven't helped a bit. I find that a good coach in the NYC area can cost like 100/hr which is pretty crazy, IMHO. So the book at 24 bucks is pretty tempting. I would love to be a 4.0 and beat up on all my 3.0 - 3.5 buddies. :P

Pete

Tennismastery
05-11-2007, 05:08 PM
thanks, tennismastery, wish I could come to you for some intense therapy, but, I am looking forward to your book arriving soon!! ok, continental for serves, I know, I know...if you strive for mediocracy, that is what you will get...ok, let's practice this "ok, guys, I am working on a new service grip, so ... uh...DUCK!! " (not so hard!) thanks!! lovin'it

Good for you! Let me make a little suggestion too: check out my series on TennisOne.com "Training an 8-Year Old" as the teaching progression I use to train my 8 year old daughter is the same progression I use for any and all players seeking to reach advanced levels. She has been playing for 8 months and has a great slice and now a kick serve using the continental grip. I have many video clips showing the tools, the drills, and her progression which I think will really help you understand what you are truly capable of! (TennisOne offers a free trial month, so if you are not already a member, you can join with no obligation for that free month and check out the 5000 video clips, 800+ lessons and all the other features! I'm not trying to sell you anything but I really would like you to observe the series on every thing including how I approach the volley, ground game etc.)

Let me know how you are doing!!!

sureshs
05-11-2007, 05:15 PM
I tend to agree with the poster who said you need to have natural ability and be in the top whatever % of the population. It is politically correct to tell all kinds of students (in academia or sports) that they can achieve their dreams, but that is not true. I understand why this is so, because of historical reasons, when groups of people were told they were basically inferior for one concocted reason or another. But reality is a low IQ person cannot be a Professor of mathematics, a person with vision problems, specially astigmatism, cannot compete at the highest levels of tennis, a short person is exceedingly unlikely to succeed in tennis, etc. Before you say Henin or Rochus, let me say that when Rod Laver was asked a couple of months ago o TV (I watched it) how he woud have fared today, he said he would need to be a few inches taller to compete today.

Having said that, exposure to sports at an early age greatly helps in developing coordination and lays the foundation for later success. But to get to high levels, innate ability seems to me to be crucial.

johnathan smith
05-11-2007, 05:28 PM
It really just depends on the person (god given athletic ability) and how hard they are willing work.
After blowing my arm out in my junior year of high school baseball I decided to take up tennis just for fun during my senior year. I figured I would never be able to serve because of the throwing like motion (but I have never had major arm trouble with tennis). I was fortunate enough that my mom's best friend's step son was a fomer college player that was working on one of his post college degrees and needed some extra cash to help out with expenses.

I worked with him for about a year straight and ended up getting a scholarship to a decent JUCO in my area. After 1 year of play.
I won a pretty big 3.5 tournament after playing for only 6 months and only lost 2 games in singles and also won the doubles with a guy I played against during my senior year (we struggled through that draw).
I was a legit 3.5 at the start of the tournament.
By the start of my freshman year of college I was beating some 4.5's/....
7 years later I haven't really progressed a lot, but I am a "real" 5.0.
I got a job teaching at a real fancy tennis club during college and still play as much as ever today.
The guy that taught me the game remains a close friend and is even a long time member of these boards. He told me about Tennis Warehouse as well :)
His name will remain anonymous, but I really appreciate the hard work that he put in with me.

35ft6
05-11-2007, 05:52 PM
My coach made a comment to me yesterday that sort of made me thinking...

She said: "it takes about 5 years to become a good player and about 10 years to become a REALLY good player" Depends on how you define "good" and "really good." If you're a kid, you can get good much faster since you'll have more time to play, and in the summers, you can play 5 hours a day if you want. But for an adult with responsibilities, who can play 3 or 4 times a week, that sounds possible.

Tennismastery
05-11-2007, 08:18 PM
I tend to agree with the poster who said you need to have natural ability and be in the top whatever % of the population. It is politically correct to tell all kinds of students (in academia or sports) that they can achieve their dreams, but that is not true. I understand why this is so, because of historical reasons, when groups of people were told they were basically inferior for one concocted reason or another. But reality is a low IQ person cannot be a Professor of mathematics, a person with vision problems, specially astigmatism, cannot compete at the highest levels of tennis, a short person is exceedingly unlikely to succeed in tennis, etc. Before you say Henin or Rochus, let me say that when Rod Laver was asked a couple of months ago o TV (I watched it) how he woud have fared today, he said he would need to be a few inches taller to compete today.

Having said that, exposure to sports at an early age greatly helps in developing coordination and lays the foundation for later success. But to get to high levels, innate ability seems to me to be crucial.

While I have to agree with you on all points, I must say that the main reason that players don't reach their dreams is that:

1. They get sidetracked
2. They get impatient
3. They did not have a good work-ethic
4. They were given incorrect or inaccurate learning information

The truth is, that those who made it to say the top 10 or 20 percent of tennis did not possess an inordinante amount of athleticism. (There are certainly exceptions: Safin, Nadal, Becker, Williams, Muresimo, and a few others.) Graff, Seles, Courier, Johnny Mac, Chang, Evert, Connors, etc., were never considered great athletes...but, each of them had incredible work ethics and discipline. Seles and Courier were known to be the first ones on the court and last ones off at Nick's. One look at McEnroe, Connors, and others without a shirt on and you would laugh at the notion that these guys were 'great athletes'...Of course, today, players are much more conditioned and, thankfully, are far better built due more to this work than to genetics.

But, because of the fact that so few have this work ethic and other attributes that contribute to becoming world-class, that yes, only a tiny number of those who start out in tennis seriously, ever really do make it. But, from my experience, it is almost NEVER because of some superior genetic blueprint that dictates such success.

Mountain Ghost
05-11-2007, 08:26 PM
Due to frequency variables, “years played” is obviously a vague concept, but I must also add that there’s a HUGE difference in actual playing time between straight hitting (or drilling) and playing sets, and it’s an even bigger difference if you’re playing doubles. In developing proper technique, the degree of improvement has to do with how many balls you hit, not how long you’re on the court. If you really want to improve, or make major changes to your technique, you can increase your effectiveness by focusing more on hitting (and drilling) than on playing sets . . . and as a technique builder, doubles doesn’t rate that much at all.

Even when you’re done making major modifications to your strokes, on most days I’d still advise anyone serious about the game to stick with a 50/50 split between hitting and playing. If you go so far as to see yourself as a true “contender”, there should be at least three sessions of each tennis day: 1 hour of technique warm-up and hitting; 3 full sets (not just best of 3); and 1 hour of problem-correcting drills. On tournament days, there will be the match at hand and the pre and post hitting sessions can be shortened.

MG

NLBwell
05-11-2007, 10:45 PM
It took me about 15 years, from about 5 yrs old to about 20 years old. Probably would have taken a couple of years less, but I was still growing until I was 20. Also, I only played tennis for fun in the summers until I was 16.

VGP
05-11-2007, 10:56 PM
FWIW -

"It takes five years to make a player, and ten years to make a champion." Bill Tilden

Dvine
05-12-2007, 05:20 AM
At 5' 2" its harder to become really good as you said and nearly impossible to go pro

Hmm...I didn't say it's harder to become a really good player at 5,2" (ex Amanda Coetzer 5,2", Justine Henin 5,5" shows otherwise) All I'm saying is that we have to work harder on other things to make it work.
It's all about finding a balance :D

Dvine
05-12-2007, 05:27 AM
Tennismastery, how about you popping over to Scandinavia to coach my coach for a while?? hehe! Or maybe I should just sneak a copy of this thread in to her purse and act like a big question mark when she finds it...

In all seriousness, I totally agree with you about having the desire. That is crucial!

Mark Vessels
05-12-2007, 05:33 AM
IMHO, It reqquires hard work, SMARTS System, good technical implications and a little bit of time. Persistancy!

lovin'it
05-12-2007, 08:56 AM
what is SMARTS system?

BrianGordon
05-12-2007, 06:21 PM
But, because of the fact that so few have this work ethic and other attributes that contribute to becoming world-class, that yes, only a tiny number of those who start out in tennis seriously, ever really do make it. But, from my experience, it is almost NEVER because of some superior genetic blueprint that dictates such success.

Interesting discussion - an argument we have often at my Biomechanics laboratory - but Dave, how much of your experience is due to the fact that those with a "superior genetic blueprint" don't enter the sport of Tennis in general, or your realm of influence specifically.

In my experience with world class swimmers and track and field athletes, and high level junior Tennis players, genetics is the x-factor.

Work ethic can be learned, and a few training programs (very few) can raise stroke mechanics to genetic potential - so given the myriad of player attributes, I'll take my chances on unalterable superior neuromuscular characteristics every time.

Tennismastery
05-12-2007, 08:36 PM
Interesting discussion - an argument we have often at my Biomechanics laboratory - but Dave, how much of your experience is due to the fact that those with a "superior genetic blueprint" don't enter the sport of Tennis in general, or your realm of influence specifically.

In my experience with world class swimmers and track and field athletes, and high level junior Tennis players, genetics is the x-factor.

Work ethic can be learned, and a few training programs (very few) can raise stroke mechanics to genetic potential - so given the myriad of player attributes, I'll take my chances on unalterable superior neuromuscular characteristics every time.

While genetics is always an x-factor that will provide potential from this aspect, I have found just the opposite of what you mentioned: I seldom see sincere 'work ethic' being learned. Yes, it can be encouraged, and in many, (where it is 'hidden') it can be drawn out. But, I have seen far more players who didn't have the 'genetic' advantage overcome this deficeincy by A) learning proper skills that lead to skilled play, and then, B) working to over come limitations through hard work, dedicated practices, and patience through time. That is not to say that of the 3500 players I have taught I didn't have a few (very few, actually) that simply did not have ample coordination and athleticism to ever employ these correct methods and be able to reach skilled levels. However, I have had an exponential number of players who were definately limited in the genetic department yet became highly ranked players. (I had players in Calif., Arizona and Utah who exhibited these limite genetic traits yet go on to be competitive in the state they played in and go on to play college tennis.

I have had those with superior athletic genes come out for tennis. And, the big difference was the speed of acquisition of skilled play. I had the varsity quarterback/basketball starter play four years of tennis here in Utah. He was able to do so much of what we taught so much quicker than most all other kids. He was beating some top-ranked kids in less than two years of training. Yet, after four years, those who were slower in mastery of skilled stroke patterns, (more like the norm in terms of general populations), were just as competitive as he was and many were better by their senior years. Now, I agree that because he divided his time between three sports, he did not reach his true potential in tennis as he could have been probably much better if he had dedicated more year-round time to tennis.

But, the bottom line is that nearly all my students became very skilled, 4.5 or above level players, in the four years I had them regardless of athletic abilities. Those who became 'champions' in addition to reaching said skilled levels were more due to the hard work factor than any genetic factor.

And, I have written several articles dealing with the limited number of great genetic athletes tennis gets compared to mainstream sports such as football, basketball and baseball.

I will heartily agree that if we got a much higher percentage of these players, we would also get more of these great athletes with the rare combination of true dedication and work ethic to go with the superior genes. These would be the players that would have the best chance to become world-class and be able to compete with anyone the world has to challenge them.

My comments on this thread are more focused on letting people know that it does not take 5 or 10 years to reach good and really good levels of tennis. It has so much more to do with the way the student learns than any genetic factor...unless they are truly physically or mentally handicapped.

The vast number of players found on public and club courts have more than enough potential...but, they were given the wrong information (or tried to teach themselves) and thus, set in motion the patterns that would insure limited progressions and limited skill acquisition.

Hope this long post answers questions to my take on this matter!

uc3
05-16-2007, 10:21 AM
it took me one year of playing tennis to become a 5.0

VGP
05-16-2007, 10:28 AM
whatever.....(other rating systems aside)

jb193
05-16-2007, 11:29 AM
I think it is obvious from reading this thread that proper instruction is crucial to tennis ability development. I am a self-taught player and it has literally taken me 7 years or so to become a 4.0. Now, I've had a few people give me pointers, but I don't really think any of them helped. I read numerous internet articles and played my brains out, but nothing supercedes quality instruction. A coach would have stopped me from experimenting with approximately 15-20 forehand grips. An instructor would have stopped me from changing racquets every 4 months. An instructor would have corrected some horrible stroke mechanics problems on my Forehand and backhand. The only good things that I did, was that I would change something if I felt it needed to be changed and I played better people. Those two things made me better.

What is funny is that after all the experimenting that I did, I eventually returned to the first grips that I ever used when I picked up a racquet. I think a Pro would have figured that out and I would have stopped
me from going through so many wasted years of fluttering due to me trying to find "shortcuts"......

sureshs
05-16-2007, 11:41 AM
But, because of the fact that so few have this work ethic and other attributes that contribute to becoming world-class, that yes, only a tiny number of those who start out in tennis seriously, ever really do make it. But, from my experience, it is almost NEVER because of some superior genetic blueprint that dictates such success.

Not superior to whom? Maybe not superior to their more talented colleagues who dropped out, but definitely superior to the vast majority I assume.

I mean, just look at Federer, Nadal or Roddick. Have you seen how high Roddick jumps after closing out a set or a match to celebrate? Is he more athletic than all the juniors he played against? Probably not. Is he more athletic than a NBA player or an Olympic sprinter? Maybe not. But definitely his genetics is far far superior than most. Nadal is supposed to have a lung capacity 1/3rd more than the average, which explains his endurance. (Einstein's brain was 1/3rd larger than most.)

Next consider height. Which top player today is not around 6 feet? Isn't this a direct example of genetic blueprint?

Many players also have parents/relatives who were athletes.

oldhacker
05-16-2007, 12:29 PM
I think there may be some crossed purposes on this thread. I think (and correct me if I am wrong) that Tennismastery is saying that genetics / inate ability are not a major factor in reaching a good standard of tennis (4.5) and that correct technique from the outset and hard work are much more important. This seems a valid point to me. But if you are talking about pushing on from there to become a world class player then I think genetics does play a major part and, of course, a work ethic and great technique are pretty much required by then. Interesting to see Jonny Mac cited as someone who made it despite not being a natural athelete. To my mind he may not look the greatest athelete but he sure has some natural inbuilt talents (such as great reaction time and handeye co-ordination) which Joe Average cannot acquire with amount of hard work or instruction.

dman72
05-16-2007, 12:31 PM
I am one of those aforementioned 3.5 players who has a very hard time breaking bad habits. I'm 35, and I've basically been playing recreationally on and off since I was 14 or so. I am completely self taught. As you can guess, I have a frying pan first serve and a big forehand (some people I play have said that I hit my forehand like a 4.5 or 5.0 player), and everything else is pretty bad. I basically played during summers against friends who I am bigger, stronger, and faster than, and who didn't take the game any more seriously than me, and took 6 months off per year. I could win on serves, forehands, and running around because they were just weak. Then, starting about a year and half ago, I started playing people I've met on Craig's list and on this site with hopes of improving and playing all year round. I've won maybe 6 matches out of a few dozen since then. Most of these people are 3.5-4.5 players, equal or poorer athletes than me, but, much better tennis players than me.

I know that I need to take lessons and/or buy a ball machine if I have any hope of winning consistently. My volleys and backhand are just too weak, and any semi-skilled player can see these weaknesses and exploit them. The last two times I've been playing, I'm actually starting to serve "correctly" after some tips from one of the guys I've been playing, but that made me lose even more badly because I didn't get the obligatory 3 easy service games won per set from streaky first serve bombs. However, I refused to switch back to the frying pan during the last match.

richw76
05-16-2007, 12:31 PM
I think it is obvious from reading this thread that proper instruction is crucial to tennis ability development. I am a self-taught player and it has literally taken me 7 years or so to become a 4.0. Now, I've had a few people give me pointers, but I don't really think any of them helped. I read numerous internet articles and played my brains out, but nothing supercedes quality instruction. A coach would have stopped me from experimenting with approximately 15-20 forehand grips. An instructor would have stopped me from changing racquets every 4 months. An instructor would have corrected some horrible stroke mechanics problems on my Forehand and backhand. The only good things that I did, was that I would change something if I felt it needed to be changed and I played better people. Those two things made me better.

What is funny is that after all the experimenting that I did, I eventually returned to the first grips that I ever used when I picked up a racquet. I think a Pro would have figured that out and I would have stopped
me from going through so many wasted years of fluttering due to me trying to find "shortcuts"......

I found two things kinda funny in this post, only because I have a hitting partner like you. First off he is a solid 4.0 player and that is inspite of not having good coaching not because of it. Everything he does is just UGLY!! Looks like a dislexic terminator hippo or something. Terminator cause he has all sorts of crap strapped to his arms since his mechanics are so bad he always has tennis elbow or a sprain or something wrong :-) I kill him regularly but he keeps on coming!

You said advice never seemed to help. I used to try to help him I don't anymore. He would listen, try <fill in the blank> for a few rallies mis two shots and go back to what he was doing before. (Work to the wise if you trust the person and believe what they're telling you is sound, give it a chance to work.)

Thing is he's a much better athlete, and is much fitter than me. If he would make some changes in 6-12 months who knows.

Last thing everyone getting started, if you're losing...... it has nothing to do with equipment :-) I used basically teh saem racket from 12-high school . Spend your money on a tournament or an extra lesson a week ;-)

sureshs
05-16-2007, 12:47 PM
I think there may be some crossed purposes on this thread. I think (and correct me if I am wrong) that Tennismastery is saying that genetics / inate ability are not a major factor in reaching a good standard of tennis (4.5) and that correct technique from the outset and hard work are much more important.

But in #41, he talks about top players like Evert and mentions "world class".

dman72
05-16-2007, 12:48 PM
I think there may be some crossed purposes on this thread. I think (and correct me if I am wrong) that Tennismastery is saying that genetics / inate ability are not a major factor in reaching a good standard of tennis (4.5) and that correct technique from the outset and hard work are much more important. This seems a valid point to me. But if you are talking about pushing on from there to become a world class player then I think genetics does play a major part and, of course, a work ethic and great technique are pretty much required by then. Interesting to see Jonny Mac cited as someone who made it despite not being a natural athelete. To my mind he may not look the greatest athelete but he sure has some natural inbuilt talents (such as great reaction time and handeye co-ordination) which Joe Average cannot acquire with amount of hard work or instruction.


"Athlete" does not apply to tennis like it does to other sports. If I played any of the 5 guys I play tennis with in basketball, I would DESTROY them..I actually did play one guy one on one as a goof and he didn't score a point in a game to 7..and I am not anything more than an average pick-up basketball player.

Likewise, put Federer, Sampras, Roddick, Nadal, against the best athletes in most major sports in contests of pure speed, strength, and endurance..and they would be destroyed in almost every event.

Tennis is about a basic level of athleticism and endurance, and a VERY high level of skill attainable only with a very high base level of hand/eye cord.. I compare it moreso to Baseball, where you can have big fat guys with tremendous hand/eye cord or great pitching arms who are succesful, but a great athlete who strikes out too much and never gets out of the minor leagues.

sureshs
05-16-2007, 01:01 PM
To me, what clinched it was reading an interview with Lansdorp. He said he agrees to coach only those young kids who show exceptional hand-eye coordination in hitting the strokes, because he does not think that can be acquired later. Since he makes a living coaching only the top players, I think his statement is basically a candid admission. If he was doing after-school coaching for kids at the local club, he would have to say that hard work will take them far.

As far as work-ethic goes, in hindsight everyone likes to portray himself as a disciplined worker. The older and more powerful you get, the better you were when you were young. But I think Safin, JMac or even Laver did not have the kind of work ethic others had. Laver did little off-court training (but he played doubles and mixed doubles so ....). Mac said his doubles matches were his practise sessions (but he works very hard now). Safin gives the impression of not being very disciplined.

richw76
05-16-2007, 01:24 PM
I think it is obvious from reading this thread that proper instruction is crucial to tennis ability development. I am a self-taught player and it has literally taken me 7 years or so to become a 4.0. Now, I've had a few people give me pointers, but I don't really think any of them helped. I read numerous internet articles and played my brains out, but nothing supercedes quality instruction. A coach would have stopped me from experimenting with approximately 15-20 forehand grips. An instructor would have stopped me from changing racquets every 4 months. An instructor would have corrected some horrible stroke mechanics problems on my Forehand and backhand. The only good things that I did, was that I would change something if I felt it needed to be changed and I played better people. Those two things made me better.

What is funny is that after all the experimenting that I did, I eventually returned to the first grips that I ever used when I picked up a racquet. I think a Pro would have figured that out and I would have stopped
me from going through so many wasted years of fluttering due to me trying to find "shortcuts"......

To me, what clinched it was reading an interview with Lansdorp. He said he agrees to coach only those young kids who show exceptional hand-eye coordination in hitting the strokes, because he does not think that can be acquired later. Since he makes a living coaching only the top players, I think his statement is basically a candid admission. If he was doing after-school coaching for kids at the local club, he would have to say that hard work will take them far.

As far as work-ethic goes, in hindsight everyone likes to portray himself as a disciplined worker. The older and more powerful you get, the better you were when you were young. But I think Safin, JMac or even Laver did not have the kind of work ethic others had. Laver did little off-court training (but he played doubles and mixed doubles so ....). Mac said his doubles matches were his practise sessions (but he works very hard now). Safin gives the impression of not being very disciplined.

I agree and disagree. Don't believe the hype!!! and you said it yourself they PORTRAY themselves. If you look at a top player, to get to that point their lives are similar. Missed Family vacations, playing while still a littel sick, Doing tournaments over school dances, keeping good technique in practice even when tired so you can do the same in a match...... It may be external, or internal forces drivign it but w/o a solid work ethic greatness can't be reached..... not to say mediocre is so terrible. You can be "good enough" and have a pretty sweet life ;-)

adlis
06-30-2007, 02:55 PM
hewitt started to take tennis seriously at 13 and was winning tournaments at 15 so if you have the genetics you might have a shot yank

35ft6
06-30-2007, 07:19 PM
My coach made a comment to me yesterday that sort of made me thinking...

She said: "it takes about 5 years to become a good player and about 10 years to become a REALLY good player" Terry Rossio, A-list screenwriter, says the same thing about screenwriting. 10 years to become a doctor, why do people think the craft of screenwriting should take any less time to develop?

35ft6
06-30-2007, 07:22 PM
hewitt started to take tennis seriously at 13 and was winning tournaments at 15 so if you have the genetics you might have a shot yankI started around six. My parents started playing social tennis at a local tennis club and as soon as I was out there I just wanted to hit some balls. Hewitt started playing tennis exclusively around 14, but he'd already been playing for 8 or 9 years by then.

35ft6
06-30-2007, 07:35 PM
"Athlete" does not apply to tennis like it does to other sports. If I played any of the 5 guys I play tennis with in basketball, I would DESTROY them..I actually did play one guy one on one as a goof and he didn't score a point in a game to 7..and I am not anything more than an average pick-up basketball player. Agree and disagree. Tennis is too cost prohibitive for a large enough group of our finest male athletes to participate in order to truly see how superior raw athleticism might be beneficial at the highest levels of the ATP. But you can kind of look at Venus and Serena to see what might happen. Venus especially. She doesn't have the greatest technique but still dominated for a time. 13 percent of the U.S. population is black, but the NFL is 65 percent black, the NBA is nearly 80 percent black, and the WNBA is 70 percent black.Likewise, put Federer, Sampras, Roddick, Nadal, against the best athletes in most major sports in contests of pure speed, strength, and endurance..and they would be destroyed in almost every event. This is true, but this is how it is NOW. What if the better athletes in large numbers started playing tennis at a young age?Tennis is about a basic level of athleticism and endurance, and a VERY high level of skill attainable only with a very high base level of hand/eye cord.. When the skill level is about the same, the person with the superior fitness and speed will win. What might a Deon Sanders been able to accomplish with Federer's stroke production?

Athleticism doesn't come into play on EVERY point. For the most part, the pros rely on anticipation to reach 95% of the balls. They don't have to sprint 30 yards for every ball. But the margin of win or loss in tennis is very slim, that athleticism, that extra step, might only have to come into play one or two points the whole match, but those two points might be the difference between winning or losing. Look at how Agassi's career was revived simply by becoming leaner, faster, and fitter.

You can't look at it quite like in basketball, where a Dennis Rodman type of live body can become an all star without ever having touched a basketball before the age of 19. In tennis, a certain level of skill HAS to be developed. But once everybody reaches a certain level, as they do in the ATP top 100, that's where the intangibles really come into play, the racket skills and stroke production are a given. The mental toughness, the speed, the fitness, flexibility, etc, is what separates the top 20 from the top 500. In warmups, it's hard to tell who's better, everybody has great skills. It's hard to imagine how somebody can argue that athleticism doesn't matter. If Nadal gained even 10 pounds or fat, he would probably fall out of the top 15. And who knows how much better Nalbandian could be if he got into shape. Robby Ginepri and Fernando Gonzalez are two other guys whose rankings jumped after getting into better shape/maximizing their athletic potential.

Sampras is another example. He really benefited from being a superior athlete. In warmups, a lot of players look better than him. Feed them balls during practice, and most people would think Hewitt and Agassi would have destroyed Pete.

Big Fed
06-30-2007, 07:43 PM
Yep sounds about right. On average of course, some vary from others.

Yea its varys son. I wanna let yall know dis is my 400 post baby!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

WildVolley
06-30-2007, 09:21 PM
I must take exception with the claim that Federer and Nadal are not top athletes. I've seen statistics (not sure how accurate) that show that Nadal, for instance, can run the 40-yard dash in times that would match the top NFL running back prospects. Watch a Federer or Blake match and you'll see guys that are moving as quickly as the top NBA guards.

One of the things that makes Federer so incredible is that he not only hits well, but has world class quickness. I believe there is a good possibility that both Federer and Nadal could have become world-class football (soccer) players if they hadn't focused on tennis.

tlm
06-30-2007, 09:35 PM
I agree wildvolley, it is no coincidence that fed + nadal are the 2 best athletes+ the 2 best players.I dont think thier hand eye cord. is that much better than a lot of the other pro's, but they are superior athletes.

DraGoNoFfiR3
06-30-2007, 10:37 PM
ive played for 2 years and i'm a solid 4.0, and i could beat some strong 4.5's when i'm playing well.

35ft6
07-01-2007, 04:25 AM
I must take exception with the claim that Federer and Nadal are not top athletes. I've seen statistics (not sure how accurate) that show that Nadal, for instance, can run the 40-yard dash in times that would match the top NFL running back prospects. Watch a Federer or Blake match and you'll see guys that are moving as quickly as the top NBA guards.

One of the things that makes Federer so incredible is that he not only hits well, but has world class quickness. I believe there is a good possibility that both Federer and Nadal could have become world-class football (soccer) players if they hadn't focused on tennis. I'll believe it when I see it. Nothing I've seen leads me to believe that Federer is anywhere close to NFL speed. Nadal could probably compete with certain positions, but I wouldn't be surprised if there wasn't a 250 pound defensive lineman who could smoke him in a 40.

As for Blake, his own personal trainer admitted that he's nowhere near the NBA and NFL guys he trains.

tlm
07-01-2007, 07:29 AM
Hey dragonoffir3, you have played 2 years + you are a 4.0? And you could beat some strong 4.5 players? You must be a natural, i know in the adult league section there are other guys making these same claims.

At the club i play at the 4.0 players have played competitive tennis for at least 4 years + have played tennis longer than that.As far as the 4.5 players they have played most of thier lives, i have never seen anyone who has played for 2 years that would stand a chance against 4.5 players.

Ultra2HolyGrail
07-01-2007, 12:07 PM
I started late, 13yrs old, and was 5.0 at 16.

goober
07-01-2007, 12:44 PM
The problem I have with juniors calling themselves a certain NTRP level is that they can make any claim they want, but they won't know if they are right. NTRP levels are meant for adult competition. Juniors can't play in these leagues or tournaments so when they claim "I am 4.0 or 4.5 "or whatever, they are just guessing (and usually overestimating IMO). So far every single high student I have played who claimed a certain NTRP level would not win at that level if they actually played an adult USTA league or tourney at the same level.

The juniors that are actually any good don't even bother with an NTRP rating they just tell me their ranking. Even it is something like "I am 150 in the region or 80th in the state Boys 16, that means a lot more to me than somebody watching some videos or adults play and say "Yeah I am better than them so I must be X NTRP level."

The only exception I would say is if you are a junior and you play Adult Open events and win a lot. Than you are definitely 5.0+.

fgs
07-01-2007, 01:03 PM
those 10 years that are spoken about (as tilden said) are required to make a champion. it is a rather general rule, that for such difficult sports as tennis is (maybe the most difficult of all - and definitely the most beautiful), some 10.000 hrs of on court training (including matchplay) are required to forge a champion. when the literature (including tilden's words) refer to champions, they definitely don't mean 4.0 or 5.0 players, but players looking for a career in competitive tennis at atp/wta level.
tennis is much more than close to perfect stroke production, tennis is played 95% (i think connors said this) in the head. that means besides the ability to focus on the point you are just playing, also the proper shot selection. i've seen a lot of champions in practice - in fact i had a club colleague in my "good old days", which was bageling me regularly in practice. if i managed to make 2 games per set in practice, i was really having a damned good day. we met three times in competition - he won 3 games in 6 sets! tennis has been described as a game where the players are in constant crisis and have to find solutions. no two points are the same, no two shots are the same. you need to cope with the additional stress competition is bringing with it, since most of the time it's knock-out draws.
i'm not familiar with the ntrp rating system, but i have no doubt that it won't take 10 years = 10.000 hrs to reach 4.0 level. if you decide that this is your goal, i agree with everyone having said that you can achieve this in less time, but i doubt that you can make it into the top 1000 atp/wta with considerably less than those 10.000 hrs. you would not feel "at home" on the court with an opponent of that level.

DraGoNoFfiR3
07-01-2007, 01:15 PM
Hey dragonoffir3, you have played 2 years + you are a 4.0? And you could beat some strong 4.5 players? You must be a natural, i know in the adult league section there are other guys making these same claims.

At the club i play at the 4.0 players have played competitive tennis for at least 4 years + have played tennis longer than that.As far as the 4.5 players they have played most of thier lives, i have never seen anyone who has played for 2 years that would stand a chance against 4.5 players.

i actually havent played for 2 yrs, it will be 2 years in september. i guess it's just natural because alot of my friends are 3.0 - 3.5's and theyve been playing as long as i have.

i almost bagelled a 4.5 once but couldnt serve it out, it ended up 6-2 (but i was playing extremely well that day -_-) and ive beaten another 4.5 8 games to 1 but i think he was having a bad day... but these guys have beaten me before too.

Ultra2HolyGrail
07-02-2007, 12:33 AM
The only exception I would say is if you are a junior and you play Adult Open events and win a lot. Than you are definitely 5.0+.

Agree. A good junior wont play ntrp. Nothing but junior usta and open tournaments.

GuyClinch
07-02-2007, 05:27 AM
Money.

Tennis is a technique sport IMHO. So I think if your willing to throw some money at the problem you can achieve much better success. If you had a private trainer (fitness), nutritionist, private chef, private tennis coach, your own private tennis court and video tape analysis of your strokes and footwork (on a daily basis) - I think you could achieve 5.0 in a REALLY short time.

I sadly don't have the money to try out this experiment..

Pete

fgs
07-02-2007, 05:48 AM
guyclinch,
i don't really know what a 5.0 level is since i'm not so (practically) accustomed with ntrp ratings, but i assume that it is quite a high level. i would be interested though what you mean by "quite a short time".
first, your body has to take it. if you just hit the courts and stay on playing for 4 hours for the beginning, you are going to do more damage to your game than improve. you have to prepare your body for this and allow for sufficient recovery. the 10 years or 10.000hrs to forge a potential" champion are empirical facts. you might become a good athlete and have sound stroke production in less than 3 years, i agree with that, but from good practice results to good match results there still is a damn far way to go, and as i understood the ntrp ratings are about matches and not pure striking technique.

stevekim8
07-02-2007, 08:43 AM
well, if someone takes 2 privates per day for everyday of the year, i'm sure they will become really good player in a really short amount of time.

crazy8tiger
07-02-2007, 09:08 AM
If that is correct, I'll be really good by the time I'm 22-23. :D

fgs
07-02-2007, 09:40 AM
stevekim8,
without a good coach you won't get there anyway. but he needs to be there also when you have practice matches and when you play tournaments. so add that in too.
anyway, 2 hrs. a day is some 730hrs a year, which will make it 14 years to reach those 10.000 hrs needed to "forge a champion". you should rather look at 3 hrs. a day to keep the time schedule.:D

GuyClinch
07-02-2007, 11:59 AM
guyclinch,
i don't really know what a 5.0 level is since i'm not so (practically) accustomed with ntrp ratings, but i assume that it is quite a high level. i would be interested though what you mean by "quite a short time".
first, your body has to take it. if you just hit the courts and stay on playing for 4 hours for the beginning, you are going to do more damage to your game than improve. you have to prepare your body for this and allow for sufficient recovery. the 10 years or 10.000hrs to forge a potential" champion are empirical facts. you might become a good athlete and have sound stroke production in less than 3 years, i agree with that, but from good practice results to good match results there still is a damn far way to go, and as i understood the ntrp ratings are about matches and not pure striking technique.

Sure about potential champions - I was talking about 5.0. I think alot of players don't have the genes to become champions. A 5.0 is a bit below a D1 tennis player right?

I should add that I am assuming that the player is reasonably young (under 30) and not starting off in poor shape. the key really would be the daily video analysis of strokes and movement. I think that would quickly get players to advance.

The personal trainer/yoga instructor/nutrionist/message therapist and so one would take care of your fitness and the body "pounding."

I am starting to think your waisting your time if you practice without regular video tape and comparisons. I imagine that anyone who went to say Nick B's academy and faithfully did all they ask - would become a 5.0 player by the time they were done. I am assuming of course they come close to have most of the things I have been talking about..

But from what I know about it comes close. I know they do video from their tapes and they have tons of good players to hit against - I am sure they have gyms and such to train in things like yoga and more.. Like I said I wish I could test out this theory.. :P


Pete

User Name
07-02-2007, 12:00 PM
takes me about 5 minutes to become pro, i just dont apply myself

fgs
07-02-2007, 12:34 PM
guyclinch,
i agreed to partially disagree with you already earlier - you can teach someone, with proper physical and coordinational abilities, good striking technique and footwork in a rather short time. with intensive video analysis and all the stuff you mentioned, it would be possible to have a 5.0 player in two years strokewise. in order to compete at 5.0 level (which i understand is rather high) you need to develop something noone can teach you but experience - court sense. from here you derive shot selection, because the way you move determines the way you strike and your playing patterns most suited to you. you can have all the yoga in the world, we are here talking on-court experience in semi-competitive and competitive environments. so here it is where our timeline parts.
in zen there is a simple saying: how do you know that water is cold? by drinking it. (o.k. you can say by putting your finger into it too, but the idea behind it is to experience it, otherwise you don't KNOW, you just imagine, and that's diffrent from reality)

adlis
07-30-2007, 07:30 PM
guyclinch,
i agreed to partially disagree with you already earlier - you can teach someone, with proper physical and coordinational abilities, good striking technique and footwork in a rather short time. with intensive video analysis and all the stuff you mentioned, it would be possible to have a 5.0 player in two years strokewise. in order to compete at 5.0 level (which i understand is rather high) you need to develop something noone can teach you but experience - court sense. from here you derive shot selection, because the way you move determines the way you strike and your playing patterns most suited to you. you can have all the yoga in the world, we are here talking on-court experience in semi-competitive and competitive environments. so here it is where our timeline parts.
in zen there is a simple saying: how do you know that water is cold? by drinking it. (o.k. you can say by putting your finger into it too, but the idea behind it is to experience it, otherwise you don't KNOW, you just imagine, and that's diffrent from reality)

but Hewitt only started to take tennis seriously at 12 and he was on the tour aged 15 so the 10 rule only applies to certain people.

Purostaff
07-30-2007, 08:27 PM
I think it all depends on the # of hours you spent practicing/playing rather than # years played. It's common sense really. There are some exception of course, but that's how it is in general, no? $.02

Oxford
07-30-2007, 09:55 PM
read this :)
link (http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune_archive/2006/10/30/8391794/index.htm)

ubel
07-30-2007, 10:10 PM
from scratch with THE most optimal training: 3-4 years of day-in day-out high quality work at the highest level of tennis to become a REALLY good player.

5-6 years working at a steady, reasonable pace in a more healthy manner that doesn't over-stress your body and mind will also get you where you want. both ways, however, take a considerable amount of desire and discipline at whatever you want to do.

at least, that's my opinion.

and as far as talent is concerned, that is a totally different beast that I'm don't think I could understand/explain if I wanted. it's really a lot more than just being a "a natural".