A 20 year old coach? Shock!!!

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Timbo's hopeless slice, May 17, 2011.

  1. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    Ok, this is from a thread about racquets, of all things, but I wondered what peoples' thoughts on this might be. Esp. John Y, Kiteboard, Ash, TenCoachFL etc who have, ahem, strong opinions on how strokes are taught...

    I don't see what is so shocking about this. At the last coaching accreditation course I attended there were a couple of young guys who were both 19. They were both coaching juniors already (it was a level upgrade course) and had excellent technique and a real passion for coaching.

    What they also had, from their students point of view, was credibility

    These guys play the local open tournaments and do well. Juniors see this and want to listen to what they say. (one of them crushed me in the semis last weekend, actually :()

    Thing is, they have been coached professionally by both private coaches and TA (tennis australia) coaches since they were about 6 years old. These boys have seen a huge range of coaching techniques and know what works.

    Would you rather be coached by a 55 year old ex touring pro who learned to play with a wooden racquet and has made a career out of improving the forehands of midweek ladies 3.5s?
     
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  2. SFrazeur

    SFrazeur Legend

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    You cannot lump all 20-something coaches in one barrel and assume they are good coaches. Neither can you group former high level players in a barrel who first learned to play with wood racquet and call them basket feeders.

    -SF
     
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  3. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    i wasn't doing either of those things, actually, I was kind of hoping for a bit more input...
     
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  4. kiteboard

    kiteboard Hall of Fame

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    Well, it's called "credibility". Experience, even if the current playing level is low, counts for: whatever. A young guy, even if he is a great coach, does not have the same experience, although, as you suggest, he may have more "bond". I was working with a Wash. univ. player. He asked me many questions, and rapidly improved, and was soon beating me easily, within months, and won an open tournament. When I first got him he was 4.5. He went up to open in months time, but that was due to his own earnest hard work, and open style, not me. I just drilled him down to nothing. Three hours once, serve and volley, 50 serves to a single ball target, on each line, for 350 serves. He wasn't even tired or sore. Spent the whole time returning his shot. Very difficult, to make such a fast change in results, but he did do it, by being willing/able to change tactics to what worked for each opp., such as grinding, attacking, mix, fh attack, etc.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
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  5. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Young Tennis Coach

    The only problem with any "young" coach or teaching pro (meaning even older aged pros who are relatively new to teaching), is that while they can be great at teaching/parroting what they themselves do, or have been taught to do, they don't have much "lab experience" in the way of teaching tons of sturdents with different mind/body types and abilities, where they could personally experiment and see what works from MANY different "angles."

    Each of my students walks away with a daily "checklist" of what they need to focus on (in order of importance) when they are working on that specific stroke, and every player's checklist is different.

    The only other thing I must say is I believe the "best" pros and coaches out there are BORN with a unique set of sight, intuitive and "engineering"/"sculpting" skills, and those are the ones who move the sport forward at ALL levels of play. Some might go so far as to say they are "misfits"! I believe a 20 year-old "enlightened" one could a great coach, but I find young (sometimes even great) players who teach tend to offer a lot of mostly "good" information without a well-developed ability to accurately "read" each individual student.

    MG
     
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  6. Manus Domini

    Manus Domini Hall of Fame

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    my coach is 20-ish. Under him, my backhand has become the 2nd best on the team, my forehand far better, my serve more variety, and the ability to volley. If only I didn't have mental blocks, I'd be playing singles :(

    But my coach is great. He is figuring out how to teach a stroke in the best way for me, but the couple seconds he spends thinking of a way to phrase something pays off.
     
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  7. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Young in age tennis coaches should stick with what they know, and teach "modern" tennis to those under around 30.
    They haven't experienced teaching players older and injured, stiff and slow, and assume all of us can cover alley to alley and hit with topspin every time.
     
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  8. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I think that's a very valid point. The boys I know are teaching juniors in the 10 - 14 yr age group and that seems to be working well. As far as I know, they haven't been given any of our older clients.
    (that is left to crocks like me!)
     
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  9. mad dog1

    mad dog1 Hall of Fame

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    true...true...
     
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  10. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Ultimately it comes down to the value the coach provides to the student.

    People use things like playing ability, coaching experience, etc. to make an evaluation of the quality of the instruction they'll receive from the coach in question. Young coaches obviously don't have as much experience as their older peers, and the assumption is that more experience means higher-caliber instruction.

    I started FYB when I was 25 years old (29 now) and was acutely aware of this last assumption. It's one reason (among many others) we give away so much stuff for free. People try out our stuff, it works, so my age isn't an issue anymore.
     
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  11. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I don't know, Will. I'm not sure if I can continue to receive advice from a 29 year old geezer. :-?
     
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  12. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

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    Ya I hear ya. I've stopped getting carded for rated R movies. Single tear.
     
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  13. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    I was in a conversation discussing the Max200G and sevral players who used that racquet on Tour BID. Rock Strongo wrote his coach had negative feeling toward how a couple of those had played tennis who had used the Max200G and that he had never heard of another I had just remembered.
    The reason why I was shocked was because I did not expect Strongo who I believe is 17 years old to be exclusively currently coached by a 20 year old who had such strong feeling toward Steffi Graf or McEnroe who he has never seen play in their primes

    I first began coaching at 16 when I was student. I do not coach currently but I help out and work out with some juniors when I can. I have no idea who Strongo's coach is, his level of play, his playing experience, his coaching experience, or coaching ability.

    For the record I have been coached by former Tour players who played world group Davis Cup and players who were very average player in their own right but were students of our wonderful sport.

    I think you have over reacted to a off the cuff sentence that means nothing.
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2011
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  14. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I actually thought you raised an interesting point that was worth discussing elsewhere. Folk appear to agree.

    Who is over reacting, again?
     
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  15. BobFL

    BobFL Hall of Fame

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    Clearly you. You have doubts about your competence, knowledge and coaching abilities and that is the reason why only one short sentence from VS 'triggered' this thread. Absolutely nothing sinister just my opinion. Btw, I firmly believe that 20y is way to young to teach tennis (or anything else).
     
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  16. vsbabolat

    vsbabolat Legend

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    You are over reacting.
     
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  17. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    How the hell do you figure any of that? I am very comfortable with my tennis in all its forms, playing, coaching, watching. I was interested in what other people had to say (thanks for your input, actually) about younger players coaching.

    It doesn't relate to me at all, I'm 44 and never made it past local open tournaments, much less into futures or the tour, so I don't really belong in either category.

    I like what someone above said regarding 'bond' and I don't see a problem with younger pros teaching fundamentals to beginners. Private lessons for mature clients wishing to improve their level of play I'm not so sure about.

    Hence my question. I certainly wasn't attacking VsBabolat! As I said, his comment just caught my interest.

    Sheesh!
     
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  18. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    reading the OP it is clear Timbo is supporting the positives of the young coaches he knows, not putting them down, if he was insecure he would not be supporting these young whipper snappers.
     
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  19. Ash_Smith

    Ash_Smith Hall of Fame

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    I started assisting my coach teach junior lessons when I was 14, so by the time I was full time at 20 I had 6 years experience of teaching tennis (which by the sounds of it is more than Will H has now!).

    I appreciate that it can be a barrier for some people, usually older folks who think "what can this youngster possibly teach me!" I have oftern found that younger kids definitely have a better affinity with younger coaches too.

    Cheers
     
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  20. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    who cares if he plays good tennis and has a coaching licence.

    If that player started to play at age 6 and has a national ranking or even better he can easily teach tennis if he has the coaching skills.

    20yo players are in their prime and know everything about the stroke.

    For anyone till 5.0 level or any kid below 16 they are certainly suitable if they have the coaching and playing skills.

    If we talk about coaching ATP players I view it differently. at that level authority and experience are very important to get the respect of the player. If the coach is younger than him maybe he will have problems respecting him.

    but this only applies to pros. A 30yo rec player has no business rejecting advice from a 20yo competitive player.
     
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  21. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    so would a 20yo roger federer or novak have been too young to teach tennis?
     
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  22. GuyClinch

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    At my level its not going to matter if a coach is older or young - both could do a great job.

    The only thing I dislike about many older coaches is that they are set in their ways and often teach the Agassi style groundstroke.. Or even worse closed stances. (shudder).


    I'd rather learn the modern game. These guys don't want to evolve and change with the times. With a young coach you are likely (though not guaranteed) to get a guy with a modern game.

    The downside is well they lack experience and may not be able to work well with the less talented athletes. Whereas many of the older coaches have found ways to connect with lessor athletes.

    Overall I'd take an older coach who has kept himself current but good luck finding that..
     
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  23. eliza

    eliza Guest

    You may have a point here. It is not age per se, but the understanding that people over 35 may have limitations......
    But again, he may be a very mature person....
     
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  24. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    agassi like groundstrokes?

    Agassi defines the modern groundstrokes. 2HBH, double bend FH and a ton of hip and shoulder rotation. he just hits a little flatter than most guys now. Or do you mean nadal moonballing with modern strokes?
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
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  25. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    This is not the US Presidency where you need to be at least 35.
     
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  26. ProgressoR

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    This is Tennis, this is much more important.
     
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  27. WilsonPlayer101

    WilsonPlayer101 Professional

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    Timbo I'll go more into detail why I rather be coached by a 55 year old ex-touring coach who learned on a wooden racquet than a 20 year old coach. I took that from the Classic Rackets thread. I think you were suggesting I come over here and explain more.

    Reason is this. If this coach is 55 years of age and started long ago on a wooden racquet then he's got many years of experience under his belt than a 20 year old does. He's played more than twice as long as the 20 year old coach has been alive. I'm 43 and started on wood racquets. I used my dad's Pancho Gonzales by Spaulding or my dad's Jack Kramer racquets he had back in the '50s or whenever those were made.

    This ex-touring pro, well even if he was low ranked he must have been good. I mean to be low ranked might not get you to the finals at Wimbledon but come on you gotta be good. Way better than anyone playing at the park. There has to be something to the guy's playing.

    Also an old ex-touring pro is more like Mr. Miyagi of the tennis world. Old world, old school ways that build up to big conclusion. Train one in old school ways that are tried and proven that can build ones skills up properly rather than taking short cuts. Going from point A to B but the long road not the direct route. Daniel-Son was mad and upset when Mr. Miyagi made him wash cars and wax them too but he was training him even tho Daniel-Son had no idea. Well same with an old touring pro who learned the old fashioned way. I think a 20 year old coach would not have that kind of experience or knowledge.

    One last thing. I hear that Vince Lombardi would start off the football season by getting a football and his team members and show them the football and say "this is the football ..." and go into what it is for and how to throw it and all that. He would start off the season that way with seasoned players. Giving them a very elementary explanation of the game. These players were seasoned they did not need that but you know what Lombardi was one of the greatest coaches to coach the game and he did it the old world way and it worked.

    One last thing, you seen the movie "Miracle" about USA Olympic hockey team coach Herb Brooks played by Kurt Russell? In one scene he was criticized for the players he picked for the team. He was basically asked why he didn't want the best players on the team. He said something like, "I don't want the best players for the team, I want the right players". He was old school, old world in his coaching ways just as Lombadi and Mr. Miyagi. I think sometimes proven and tried and true ways are better than newer, hip, in, ways like a 20 year old might know.

    With that said the 20 year old coach is good I'm sure but give me an ex-touring pro any day.
     
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  28. k factor fan

    k factor fan New User

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    i'm currently 16 and am preparing to do my LTA level 2 coaching certificate and expect to be doing my fully coaching qualification as soon as possible which is 18 and a few other kids i know from tournaments are doing a similar thing so i think 20 year old coaches are not too uncommon
     
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  29. WilsonPlayer101

    WilsonPlayer101 Professional

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    Yeah it does make sense for there to be many 20 year old coaches. I don't think because you are young that should count you out as a good player or coach. Heck many pros go pro at 15 so why can't there be good players at 20 who are coaches or in your case 16 or when you turn 18.
     
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  30. Rock Strongo

    Rock Strongo Legend

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    This was odd... I think I need to pitch in here.
    He's a good coach, and a good doubles player. Ever since I was around 10, I've had very young coaches. I don't even think I've had a coach under 25 years old. It's all about how the coach teaches things. A 20-ish coach taught me proper technique for a 1HBH (which I promptly forgot a couple of years later) when I was 11.

    I don't play competitively (I have a severe case of Safinitis) and therefore isn't in a tournament-focused group. Or really, I should say "was" as the indoor season has ended and I'm waiting for the optional clay court practices and tournaments which I think are better than the indoor ones and teach me a bit more. I think the main problem with having young coaches in more standardized practice groups is that if you're better than the rest of the group you hardly get a challenge.

    The problem I've been experiencing lately in the group that I've been in is that they haven't really been focusing on teaching proper stroke technique which was fine for me and another guy in the group, but not that much for anyone else. Recently, it's been mostly drills (which I don't really like because my serve% is usually quite bad and makes is hard for me to coming to net behind it and I would like more serve practice).

    I feel that I learn better when we do match play drills or when I hit with other people. Oh well, life is life. I do kind of feel like giving up training there at times because I don't feel like I'm improving.

    I support young coaches though, I had one turn out to coach 2 top 100 WTA players (he still does, he's also coaching the Swedish team champions on the women's side, best junior coach ever IMO) later in life and as a 20-year old he really helped me a lot with my game. When you get older though, I don't really think it works when you get older though as you should get more experience with playing on all areas of the court instead of what most players these days do, which is push, and push, and push.
     
    Last edited: May 18, 2011
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  31. RyanRF

    RyanRF Semi-Pro

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    I'm a 24 year old 4.0, and I'm taking lessons from 20 year old college player.

    I've tried taking lessons from older guys. They know their stuff, but can't demonstrate strokes at the level that I want to get to. I would need to pay an old coach, AND a young hitting partner.

    A young coach just seems like both rolled into one. As long as the 20 year old is mature, professional, and knows how to teach, age is a non-issue.
     
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  32. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    As said, a young coach can teach anyone looking for modern strokes played the athletic way. No problem there.
    Problem becomes a old ways coach teaching young up and coming players, and young coaches trying to teach old injured declining players.
     
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  33. Netzroller

    Netzroller Semi-Pro

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    Yes, this is often true.

    However, given how many people emphasize experience, I have to speak up for the young coaches a bit. It's a bit like highschool teachers: When they're young, they are open to all kinds of stuff, try out different methods and sometimes of course screw up badly. A few years later, they all have their system and rarely make any adjustments.
    Therefore I think some young coaches are more open minded. I've had an older coach once who still taught closed stance, no topspin, all arms, no dynamic footwork etc. while the rest of the world was playing the game differently. I think I would be a much better player now if someone had taught me how to do it right from the beginning.:(
    I think this causes more 'damage' than someone trying to enfore a more modern game on older players. Those guys at least have a game already and they often refuse to make huge adjustments anyways.
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, a counter to negative on young coach teaching old fart....
    I"m 62. In January, I switched to full W grip after 12 years with SW. Could have used a young coach for that.
    But no coach, young or old, can teach me to forgoe my slice approach shots, or my service motion. It is what it is.
     
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  35. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    thanks fro all your comments folks.

    cheers
     
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  36. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    I've worked with a 20 year old and a 21 year old. Both times no problems. It really depends more on their maturity level and reliability then anything else. Are they capable of giving the lessons/clinics whats needed and not flake out? Are they dependable enough that you know you can count on them to show up on time and be there, ready to teach. I know that may seem dumb, and pretty obvious but you'd be surprised how many coaches don't give a rats ass and their customer service/professionalism sucks.

    A 20 year old who's played a good high level during his junior years and has a good sense of how to coach will have no problems teaching the usual 3.0-4.0 players.
     
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  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Possibly, a 20 year old coach might have problems coaching 50 year olds who seem to want the modern strokes, but mask their inability to stroke low to high (shoulder problems) with enthusiam and a desire to WANT to learn modern strokes, but they don't have trunk rotation or decent rotator cuffs, can't learn to grip loosely, or achieve a balance stance quick enough to hit modern forehands.
     
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  38. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    The 20 yr old needs to grow some balls and be honest and tell those 50 yr olds they're out of their freaking minds ;)
     
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  39. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Now THAT was the most excellent reply ever....:):)
     
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  40. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Older players can do great with a modern game IMHO. This idea that older players have to play some old fashioned style is not true. Aspects of the modern game are easier not harder..

    For example hitting semi open stance is easier for most people that hitting with a closed or square stance and using linear momentum. The modern way is easier - provided you have modern racquets.
     
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  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Have you ever had rotator cuff problems, arthritis in the hips and knees, failing eyesight, losing grip strength and explosive speed?
    Easy to say thing when you're physically able. Harder to do when you aren't, and many oldsters aren't.
     
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  42. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    I agree with aspects of this, actually. I'm 44 and I think I probably hit my FH harder now that when I was young while putting less strain on my body due to a modern open stance. However, I don't have any structural damage to my shoulders or hips, so that's easy for me to say. I don't think I would like to change my game if I was much older than I am now...
     
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