How do you know when you've peaked, and what do you do about it?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by Cindysphinx, Feb 4, 2008.

  1. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I was picking lint out of my navel today, wondering about where all of this is going. As a relative newbie to tennis (first touched a racket in fall 2004), it has been a really fun ride in part because the learning curve is so steep in the beginning. Even after 3.5 years, I feel like I get a shiny new toy every couple of months. The latest, to pick an example, is the BH up the line, a shot I couldn't do at all back in December when I *desperately* needed it. But here we are in February and now I can do it.

    At some point, I would imagine, the shiny toys are going to stop coming. I'm going to peak (assuming I haven't already).

    Has anyone experienced this? You know, where you've gone as far as you're going with your tennis, where you can't get better and may actually start to get worse? Where no amount of practice or conditioning seems to help, or you are doing as much as your body will allow?

    How long did it take to get to this point? What did you do about it? Are you OK with it?

    Cindy -- feeling pretty confident that 3.5 is her limit and deciding that's OK
     
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  2. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I feel like as long as you are conciously aware of things that you can improve and motivated to improve them, then you have no choice but to get better. The only limitation I see here is if you are a high level player and your physical fitness starts to decline, but there's a guy at my club thats around 80 and is a strong 3.5 to 4.0 and can't move but he places the ball well and is consistent enough to beat alot of people.
     
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  3. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    I have been wondering about the "peak" issue myself but from a different angle.

    There's this group I play in and we play against each other incessantly, and what I fear is starting to rear its ugly face, which everyone eventually becomes equal and there's no where to go, no new things to learn. Oh well...
     
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  4. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Unless you hit a physical barrier, any peaking is most likely due to lack of training or help.

    Do you play with enough people that are better than you? Do you have a solid coach? I know many, many coaches who simply aren't good, and might not help your game as much.
     
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  5. swimntennis

    swimntennis Guest

    At the 3.5 level, there's still a lot of room to improve and if you diligently work on your tennis, I can't imagine that you'll permanently plateau.
     
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  6. shell

    shell Professional

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    I was just thinking about this very subject this past weekend!! Why?

    Well today I scheduled my appointment with an ortho sports medicine specialist for my 1 year chronic sore shoulder that has been getting worse the last few months. At first I thought just out of shape and sore, but no, something is wrong.

    This lead to the inevitable thought process of how much longer can I play this style of game. I was wondering if I don't need to change to a more realistic style for my age, aches and pains. I'm just not fit enough, nor consistent enough any more to be trying to play like I did when I was 20. In other words, maybe I have peaked.

    Don't know Cindy. I guess even playing different than you used to, you can still improve and adapt. I sure hope so! Maybe I'll become the human backboard and destroy all my opponents with my new, never miss a shot game! I'll just wave at the net like a long lost friend who I used to have alot of fun with :(

    Or maybe Doc will say rest a week and get back out there :)
     
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  7. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    Start playing with people above your level if you feel you have peaked.

    This way, you get to start that *ride* all over again.

    Good luck.
     
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  8. boilerfan

    boilerfan New User

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    I always thought that this is one of the great things about tennis. It is an individual sport, so you can always challenge yourself. Like others have mentioned, the only things that limits your improvement is if you have any physical limitations from getting older or a permanent injury. In tennis, you can always get better at some shot, or more consistent. If you are a baseliner, spend time trying to improve your volleys to help your doubles game.

    Tennis has an unlimited number of types of shots and strategies, so you should always have something to work on. I have many friends that are 4.5's and 5.0's that routinely go out and get lessons and try to improve on some aspect of their game. Just remember to keep having fun with the game and it will be something you enjoy for many years.
     
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  9. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Assuming that you continue to take lessons, drill, and put the time into the game, I believe that there will continue to be things to learn and develop as long as you keep playing and working at it. In that case peaking will more likely be defined by when the new things you learn (experience / technique) begin to only counteract a decline in physical ability (strength, speed, reflex) vs. moving your game ahead.

    Based on what I see in my area, someone with reasonable athletic ability who puts the time into it should be able to get to a 4.0 level at some point, even starting as an adult. The 4.5s in this area (this may be different in other places) and above are almost exclusively high-end athletes - most of whom played small college or higher tennis. The effort to play at this level is also very time-consuming and requires even more athletic ability.
     
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  10. HowardH

    HowardH New User

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    Start taking some one on one professional lessons and you'll realize just how much you don't know or can't perform yet! You may peak learning on your own but there comes a time when have to take pro lessons to improve past a certain point.

    Just when I thought I was getting pretty good I started taking more one on one lessons and realized I don't know squat.
     
    Last edited: Feb 4, 2008
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  11. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Cindy, stop titillating us with suggestive descriptions of your body.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    OK, fine. I will post pictures instead.

    [​IMG]
     
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  13. JavierLW

    JavierLW Hall of Fame

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    I dont know about changing levels, but even if you dont advance beyond 3.5, I dont believe that anyone has necessarily peaked.

    There is a guy on my team that is 66 years old and has been playing tennis forever. He's probally one of the most valuable doubles players on my team despite some quirks in his game from being 66 years old.

    Last year he took a drill with us, and I could tell that he was even better this last summer.

    So unless someone dies, I doubt they should ever thing that they've peaked. Especially in doubles where experience and court coverage (and doing a lot of things that have nothing to do with how you hit the ball necessarily) are a big part of the game.
     
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  14. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Seriously, what sustains you once you're not getting new toys on a regular basis?

    It probably sounds like a stupid question. But no one can win all the time, so winning can't be it.

    Is it just the once in while when you hit some amazing shot that you usually don't make? Or when you think yourself out of a tight spot? Or something else?

    I dunno. 3.5 seems to be the level where a lot of people peak, especially if they are over 40. Being over 40 means injuries become your most difficult opponent. :(
     
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  15. 10ispro

    10ispro Rookie

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    Once you have all the "toys" or technique, the rest is about goal setting.
    Perhaps the questions you are needing to ask yourself is, what are my goals?
    You can break down the goals to be as specific as possible to push yourself more.
    so you obviously have some tactical goals-hit the ball down the line
    I know you have technique goals--master topspin forehand etc...
    what about physical goals?
    Mental goals? Emotional goals?

    All of my lessons with competitive players focus on goal setting--what do they want to achieve during the course of a particular point, during the match, during a lesson--in the next 6 months, year etc...

    Can you execute a plan from start to finish regardless of what your opponent does? like serve out wide, hit to open court, finish to open court with a volley or overhead? Or is your play still being primarily dictated by what you are given?

    So there are so many levels to which you can focus, that peaking at the level you are asking is rare when approached correctly.
    everyone goes through peaks and valleys. Its the course of nature, life and learning. as you said the learning curve is steep, once u have some control over something, youll go through a small valley then peak where you have actual mastery over it, then a valley etc...

    but as someone else said--whenever you think Youve peaked-go play someone better than you--then youll find lots of areas to work on--or youll quit. either way, you get your answer;-)
     
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  16. Crusher10s

    Crusher10s Rookie

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    Here's my secret if you're interested. Once I pretty much mastered the different shots it became a real thrill to figure out when to use each shot. I get a sort of 'runner's high' when I'm in a match with either someone of my level or above because for me it's kind of like a game of cat and mouse. I get an adrenaline rush when my opponent and I are trading shots back and forth and it's fast paced and crazy. I think most people think it gets boring once they've mastered the various shots but I think that's when the focus turns to the mental side of the game. I don't think people realize what a chess game a tennis match truly can be. Oh and when I get sore or injured I take extra care of myself so I can continue on. When I was younger I used to skip the ice and rest, etc. but I don't do that anymore; can't afford to.

    When the novelty of those "toys" wears off, then a whole new novelty can begin anew.

    Oh and I sure hope that's not a pic of your belly, LOL
     
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  17. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    Don't let yourself think that you've peaked at 3.5. If you want to get to 4.0 set that goal and go for it. What if it took 10 years but you still eventually got there? I'm sure there would be points in those 10 years that you wanted to quit, but boy would it be worth it when you finally got there.
     
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  18. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That ain't a female belly.
     
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  19. shell

    shell Professional

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    Quit talking bad about Cindy! :twisted:
     
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  20. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Why is the picture taken from flickr.com then? Does she post her tummy pics there? If so, why?
     
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  21. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    I have a special licensing deal with flickr.com. They have exclusive rights to photos of my body parts on the condition that they air-brush out the belly hair.

    I'm gonna sue.
     
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  22. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    My observations are that the people who peak at 3.5 are the ones who don't proactively take proper steps to improve their game (or they try but use ineffective methods). Many "just play" because the game is fun but they have no aspirations to play at a high level. I can see this by the stroke technique that so many of the peaked 3.5 players exhibit. They have technique that doesn't resemble any player you would see that is a 4.5 up to 7.0 player. 4.0 seems to be the highest point you can get to when limiting your tennis development to several years of experience and some athleticism (without proper technique), but still alot of people who don't work on their technique will not even get there.

    Since I haven't been really observing long enough and have yet to reach a high level of tennis, I am only speculating based on my limited observations as well as information learned from books such as Tennis Mastery. But I know that I am not even close to peaked yet because I observe my own game and always work on my weaknesses and my results recently have shown. Also feedback I receive from peers shows that my game is still improving.
     
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  23. BounceHitBounceHit

    BounceHitBounceHit Legend

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    Hi Cindy,

    I've never seen you play, but from what you've written here there's no reason for me to think you would have 'peaked' in so short a time, assuming you are a) healthy b) possessed of adequate resources to continue to pursue your obvious passion for the game.

    Someone else pointed this out, I think, but I wonder if you have exhausted what your current teaching pro and/or playing environment have to offer? I travel quite a bit and try to play any chance I get. As a result I've hit w/ teaching pros all over the country. There is ENORMOUS variability in their levels and capacity to instruct. Also, Patrick McEnroe has often said that tennis is a sport the REQUIRES higher level competition in order to progress. You've recently moved from 3.0 to 3.5, which is great, but you may want to try and drum up hits w/ some lesser 4.0's to 'push' yourself. What you may find is that at first they are 'thumping' you, but as time progresses you close the gap. ;)

    Best,

    CC
     
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  24. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    The nice thing about taking up the sport as an adult is that we can still look forward to many years of playing before we peak.

    Sure, we WILL peak eventually. The years will catch up to us, and we just can't do things as well as we could before. BUT - that's still in our future.

    Imagine the poor smuck who took up tennis as a kid, got WAY better than we could ever even HOPE to be. Played some college ball and some Open tournaments, and is now slowly sliding down the NTRP scale. Sure, they're better than we are, but we're on the way UP and they're on the way DOWN. That's still encouraging.
     
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  25. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    Raiden - I believe you are pointing out a critical and important difference in people who play recreational tennis. I know a lot of guys who play only for fun and hope they never get bumped from 3.5 to 4.0 because they don't believe they will be able to compete at that level.

    This year, I had a couple of friends get bumped to 4.0 and it was interesting to observe the reactions. One of them was excited and ramped up his drilling, lessons, and play time to go attack the new challenge while the other actually considered giving up the game completely.

    Bottom line is the guy who considered giving up the game has poor technique, never takes lessons, never drills - but could win at 3.5 due to superior athletic ability. His aspirations are only to have a good time playing tennis and to be competitive. Personally - I like getting better and will continue to go as far as my ability, health, and time allow me to go.
     
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  26. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I strongly agree. There comes a point where drilling/lessons no long can improve your game and you need to play better players.

    The problem is that often, you make friends with a certain group and then find that your tennis game has improved beyound the level of the group. The challenge becomes (1) how do you tactfully move on from a group of friends/teammates; and (2) how do you find better players.

    I particularly struggle with the second aspect because better tennis players tend to be a small, closed community. You have to play your way in... Over the last year, I have switched clubs, switched USTA teams, travel regularly about an hour to play; hired a college hitting partner player, and I am not even very good.

    I am thinking of taking several years off of USTA so I can self rate at a higher level.
     
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  27. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    On another more cheerful, thought I find from mixed that the women seem to improve a lot from playing the guys.

    Not that I think that guys are better! - only that the style is different, and it helpes your tennis to see different looks
     
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  28. fe6250

    fe6250 Semi-Pro

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    This is so true and you make some excellent points and some good suggestions. Another suggestion I have is to organize combo teams and other broader practices to create more opportunities to play people above my level. I've also captained and built teams a level up from where I'm at to get built-in opportunities to play. Some of the better people at my own level also had some 'ins' and I was able to work into those opportunities too.

    The challenge is often leaving the old group behind as you get better without hurting their feelings and this can be tough.

    On your last point - have you tried appealing 'up'???
     
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  29. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Are you sure it is belly hair?
     
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