At what age does your "A" game start to deteriorate?

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by kicker75, Feb 25, 2013.

  1. kicker75

    kicker75 Rookie

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    Just curious from others' experience. I know tennis is an ageless sport where you see kids up to seniors playing all the time. However, my question is, at what age do you think your game starts to go into decline and you need to adapt your game to your new physical limitations? I'm talking about no longer being able to hit a nasty kicker cause it hurts your back, etc. I'm also not talking about fitness either. I'm taking about when your body can no longer keep up with your former stroke mechanics and you need to change your game, even your equipment.

    50s? 60s? I know Johnny Mac is 54 and can still play a pretty good game of tennis. I also know someone who's in his 60's that can still hit a mean kicker (albeit a lot of advil are in order later).

    Thoughts?
     
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  2. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I've been playing for 40 years now -- I picked up the game shortly before turning 21. The stroke mechanics that I used in the 1970s was different than the mechanics that I used in the '90s. In the past decade, the mechanics have further evolved from how I was hitting and serving in the 90s. As the game of tennis has evolved, I've adopted much of the new styles of play. So it would be rather difficult to say when my body could keep up with my former stroke mechanics.

    I did not have very much private instruction at all and focused on badminton competition during the 1980s. As a result, I did not hit my peak in tennis until the the mid/late 1990s which put me in my mid/late 40s -- even tho' I was half a step slower than I was in my 20s and 30s. Difficult ignore my fitness levels in this -- I was more fit in my 30s (with badminton) and 40s than I was in my 20s.

    My largest decline has been in my mid/late 50s. However, this is difficult to separate from injuries which, in turn, has affected my fitness levels. I had a number of injuries in my 40s but was able to recover and compensate much better than in the past 7 years.
     
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  3. Povl Carstensen

    Povl Carstensen Legend

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    According to Federer, after 27-28. I am 52 and sometimes still feel I am getting better. But that is probably because I am delusional, or because I did not pick up tennis untill my 20's.
     
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  4. slowfox

    slowfox Professional

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    First I gotta get an A game :)
    But on topic, I sometimes wonder the same thing as I hope to play well into my golden years. Will I be wielding a Big Bubba soon?
     
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  5. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    When you get to the other side of the hump the Great Equalizer appears in the distance --- doubles!! When your years start to turn truly golden (i.e. wretched) you'll find fewer and fewer people your age willing to play singles. Ben Franklin forgot one --- it's death, taxes, and doubles.
     
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  6. maggmaster

    maggmaster Hall of Fame

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    Yep that is definitely my plan. I saw two 65 year old ex pros beat two current college kids in doubles at a local open. It was beautiful and funny.
     
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  7. tennisenthusiast

    tennisenthusiast Hall of Fame

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    As soon as I crossed 30!
     
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  8. USS Tang

    USS Tang Rookie

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    I have been playing serious tennis since 1970. There is a difference between physical level and skill level. As to the first, I physically deteriorated quickly after age 50: less foot speed and less stamina. As to skill level, today at age 67, thanks to weekly coaching, singles play 2-3 times a week year-round, and USTA tournament experience, I have actually improved in certain areas: kick second serve, slice forehand, overhead, drop shot, and lob. My hand-eye contact is just as acute as it was 30 years ago, so my volleying has not suffered. My backhand drive remains the same. Mentally, I'm tougher because I am more confident. Biggest difference is physical: achey muscles and joints the day after I play a match.
     
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  9. kicker75

    kicker75 Rookie

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    Thanks for the replies.

    My question was more pointed to singles play. But actually, it can be applied to doubles play too.

    Of course in reality fitness matters, but say fitness being equal (regardless of age), is there a point when you can just no longer hit a "buggy whip" forehand with the same amount of topspin, or arch your back to hit that nasty kicker? Just curious to find out when people had to stop using those type of shots due to the body just not being able, even if you are actually fitter now vs then.

    From what I can tell watching others play (and this is a general statement so no offense intended), it seems to hit in the late 50's. Seen people with kick serves switch to slice, cause they can't arch the back as much anymore, etc.
     
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  10. Pacific lefty

    Pacific lefty Rookie

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    I am playing in pretty much the same style as I did in the 80's. I have always played tennis, gone to the gym, and started running in the last 5 years. I am 45 and playing at a higher level than when I was 20 but two years ago, age 43, I started picking up injuries which I would say have not been related to particular stroke dynamics but general overuse ...
     
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  11. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    Physically you start to lose it after 35 if you are a Joe Schmoe and not a pro...a pro starts to lose it after 28 or so because they are so fine tuned and there are so many demands on their body that even a small drop in explosiveness makes a big difference in their performance.

    I still run around like crazy on the court, but I know I'm a step slower then I was 10 years ago at least.

    Thankfully, I was such a crappy tennis player when I started taking it seriously, and still am, I have so many areas to improve on that I can still be a much better player at 50 then I am now, based purely on aquiring more skill and experience. I've played more matches in the last 5 years then I did my entire 35 years of life prior to that, 20 of those years playing some recreational tennis during warm weather goofing around with friends.
     
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  12. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    I am getting better with age
     
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  13. double barrels

    double barrels Rookie

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    we humans are living longer and longer

    for pros, singles peak around 27-29 soon will be about 30
    doubles, start playing your best after 30 and decline once you get to 40

    for non pros, what A game?
     
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  14. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The guys who said "around 30" get my vote.
    Sure, if you started tennis at 50, you're better at 55 than you were at 20. DUH!
    But if you hit a decent level in your 20's, you will never get there again.
    Now some of you dummies will chime in and say you knocked a ball around back when you were a teen, and now you play better tennis at 50. Well, DUH. You sucked back then.
     
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  15. North

    North Professional

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    I know. I am not sure I'd want to keep playing if I had to play doubles. One of the reasons (among many) I avoid League play. I do play a lot of tournaments and find that a good way to meet potential singles players.
     
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  16. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Said the guy who's still young, has his legs, his shoulders, elbows, and his eyesight.
    With your demeanor, you might as well kill yourself as soon as you start to go downhill...around 55-60 is a very noticable slide.
    Guess what? There's tons of old farts still around. They must have been able to find a reason to live.
    But with your attitude, you won't.
     
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  17. North

    North Professional

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    If you mean me, I'm 57. Most of my singles partners are 15-20 years younger than me & I do a lot of cross training to stay in shape - as well as watch my weight to keep that "girlish figure". I just happen to prefer tennis as an individual sport.
     
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  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Wait till you're 64, then come back on this forum.
    You'll be surprised, while you lose some physical skills from 35 to 55, the biggest drops are later in life, usually from 55 to 65, where most seniors seem to lose almost half their physical skills in those mere 10 years.
    You might be one of the lucky ones, who knows, and play singles well into your 80's. Could be, I doubt it.
     
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  19. North

    North Professional

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    You may be right. Hope I'm like Dodo Chaney playing singles till I'm 90 lol.
     
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  20. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    You might be right Lee, but then you've admitted that you've abused your body and sustained many injuries, so you're not a good piece of data.

    I think there's no question that athletic ability goes downhill in the 30s for most people, but it also seems you'd be a fairly decent tennis player if you hadn't destroyed your ankles and other joints. On that video, your limp was pretty bad.
     
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  21. TheCheese

    TheCheese Professional

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    At the pro level, 27-28 you start slowing down. At the rec level, I'm sure you can continue to improve for a long time as long as you keep practicing and stay in shape.
     
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