How good do you think Federer would be if...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Nov 12, 2009.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    It's fairly common knowledge that for someone to become a professional tennis player that have to have started playing tennis at least before 10 years of age and preferably around 5. So what if someone like Roger Federer with a huge amount of natural talent started at an age like 18 or so. How fast do you think he would progress? How good do you think he'd be overall?
     
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  2. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Sorry guys I meant for this to be in the general discussion section!
     
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  3. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It fits here to an extent as well.

    I go with what Bill Tilden says that it takes about 7 years and don't think that any time before 9-10 should even count. IMO you might be better to play soccer and ping pong up til 9. Then starting at 9-10 you could hit a nice stride by 17. Starting at 18 it would be tougher in ways and easier in ways. If you had the talent, then you could still do it in 7 yrs.
     
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  4. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    Impossible to say... I always thought the early years of one's life are extremely formative... muscle memory etc... I believe Connors and Agassi both started extremely young (3 or 5 years of age, not sure) and Tiger Woods the same.

    But then you are saying a natural talent so would they have been able to pick up the game anyway? I don't know... and would not even pretend that I would know.

    Then there is the thought that we are what we are from our experiences and starting late would always have us behind that curve.

    Like I just said your guess is as good as mine or his... or hers.
     
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  5. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Starting with 2 good athletes, good genes, good sizing....
    One at say 18.
    Other 10.
    Well for sure, the 18 year old would get to 6.0 level much quicker, maybe 4-5 years, given Federer's natural skills.
    The 10 year old needs to grow and deal with growing pains, so he won't get there until 4 years after full growth, but because he's younger, can get to a higher level.
    That guy who started at 18 might discover motocross, windsurfing, or the pleasure in life you get from doing nothing.
     
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  6. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    He wouldn't get too far at all simply because at age 18 your worrying about things like college and women..

    The great advantage of kids is that can get massive hours of training in before they really have to start worrying about that stuff. Of course this is what pisses them off when they get old because they missed their "childhood."

    Of course as some older I think its a fair trade off. I don't remember everything from my childhood really..And what I do remember isn't so great that I feel I would be scarred if it was memories of hitting tennis balls instead.

    Pete
     
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  7. nabrug

    nabrug Rookie

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    Look at: http://www.evolve9.com/free_information.php

    PDF: Am I Ready Coach? The whole file is interesting, but look under "Final Warning -The Time Switch - Synaptic Pruning".
     
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  8. Falloutjr

    Falloutjr Banned

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    Well Roger started at 9 and became pro at 16 so if he started at 18 i think there would be less of a learning curve simply because he was more physically mature and capable of hitting the more specialty shots, which I'm sure he didn't really start playing REAL tennis until he was 11. He probably would've gotten to the pro's around 23 1/2 or 24 years old simply because he would've been more physically and mentally mature.
     
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  9. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I'd say he could become a pro by the time he's around 23..maybe even top 100s..but seriously doubt he'd get the same success he's having now.
     
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  10. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

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    I agree with other posters saying that any tennis before 9, or around that age, does not really develop much in a player in ways of tennis. However, its key to have some sort of sports, or even musical instruments, that develop good hand eye coordination and also work ethic. Once your body hits that age where you begin to mature and pack on the muscle weight then its crucial to be playing your desired sport to develop correct muscle memory in those specific situations.

    With that said, Federer would definitely not be a pro if he started tennis at 18. Lets just pretend that he would still have access to the same facilities, coaching, and opportunities that he had when he was younger, which of course would be impossible. I mean, who is going to seriously coach an 18 year old newcomer to be a champion?

    Also, it isn't just practice but competition that makes someone better. Every great player has had great wins and great losses, and each situation is important in forming a complete player. At 18, Federer would not be good enough to play in college, and hes too old to play junior tourneys so where will he get competition that is needed?

    I would like to think that tennis, like any other sport, was truly about the player, but we know that Federer would not be who he is today were it not for his youth. Whenever someone who starts playing tennis at 18 and makes it as a pro then let me know, but until it happens i doubt even the great Federer would have been able to do it.
     
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  11. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    It's an interesting piece, but I'm not on board with that theory's view point. I've also read where this process is so dynamic that it only takes 3 days for skills to start fall off at an accelerating rate. This seemed to be more accurate to me, as flying in the airlines and in the Navy taught me. As an airline pilot, I would get frustrated that some of the finer skills would drop off sooo quick, like when I had 5-7 days off. First day or so of a trip, I could feel the skills pick up and get where I expected them. By the middle of the second day, I was feeling as sharp as could be, and this would hold thru a trip, even if it contained a day off in the mix somewhere. But what bugged me was how after 5-7 days off, I really could notice some rust. It bothered me and made me wonder if there was something I should do better to deal with it.

    I stumbled on a book that explained what I was experiencing, "Mozart's Brain and the Fighter Pilot" and it discussed how quickly the brain adapts- both ways! Well I surely don't claim to have all or even most of the brain answers, but I'm not going to be too concerned about what pathways are built by age 9.

    I also have noticed how many of the all time greats in many sports have been late adopters. If they are at some disadvantage, there must be some important aspect that offset these disadvantages IMHO.
     
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  12. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Very good post IMO, but I think it is more what Pete said about other things to do and lack of opportunities at the later age, along with a big element of belief!
     
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  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    ..seemstome.....
    At 18, you have much more opportunity to play tennis than you could ever get at any younger age.
    First of all, you don't have school. So all day to play. You can play local tournies NOT junior, but so what, from 3.5 up to Open and it goes around easily 40 weekends a year.
    Maybe in Switzer, it doesn't, but with the amount of money his parent's musta spent, he'd be a 5.5 in 3 years, and with the potential to go all the way ANYONE would easily discern.
    This whole idea of learning early is pure BS, ACCORDING TO ME! Students have to study, go to school some, and need rides everywhere. A well to do adult has all time AND transport, and only needs the desire to get good putting in the hours each day and week.
     
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  14. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    At under 9 years old..you develop quite a bit. You can learn the timing and go through the beginner techniques to be able to hit the ball. You also learn the athletic skills like hand eye coordination, balance, and footwork. I'd recommend also putting kids under a bit of pressure..as in the winner of a drill of a group of kids get a treat or losers do 5 push ups or something?

    You can't really expect them to bulk up or hit advanced shots with advanced techniques...just focus on strong fundamentals really.
     
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  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Seems to me you can get coordination, hand eye, balance, footwork, and an whole number of athletic stuff WITHOUT playing tennis.
    Try soccer, basketball, football, table tennis, and the normal host of sports most athletic youngster go thru before they decide to specialize.
     
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  16. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    That's what makes a good athlete? :) A variety of sports is important, learn athletic skills that are used in multiple ways, and see which game you enjoy the most.
     
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  17. Ken Honecker

    Ken Honecker Rookie

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    If I say 3.5 at best can I get a hell yes from all the trolls?
     
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  18. zapvor

    zapvor Legend

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    why did you post this thread in another section too?
     
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  19. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    Depends on what he did for 18 years and what kind of commitment he can make going forward. If Roger was a high level athete in some other sport and then devoted himself 24/7/365 to tennis for 5 years he could probably make an appearance on the tour and maybe surprise a few people. I don't think he'd be top 100 though. If Roger was just an ordinary guy on the street who didn't play organized sports at a high level and then picked up the game at 18 while still having to go to work everyday I'd say he'd be a good 5.0 player.
     
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  20. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

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    I have always said a good athlete is a good athlete... good hand eye... good feet... good balance are all important in being a athlete. And you cannot be one without it, my personal belief is that it is something that is achieved through your developing years... ages 3 - 14 ish. I know a lot of friends that grew quickly and they did not do anything maintain their agility. They became clumsy and ackward... and still so today. I am a smaller person and had less of this to deal with... basically I have been playing sports in the same body for close to 35 years... so all my reference points have not changed.

    I truly believe starting early in anything in life gives you a big advantage, be it muscle memory... etc. When we are younger we do not think... we just do and that makes learning much easier. As we get older it is harder to break old learned habits to do things correctly even for a naturally gifted player.
     
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  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    most likely right.
     
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  22. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Well I meant to put it in general player discussion the first time, like I said in the second post of the thread. I figured it wouldn't get many responses since it's not really related to tips or instruction. Certainly not complaining about the replies it has gotten here though!
     
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  23. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I remember reading somewhere, you can improve your balance, hand eye, etc pretty quickly under a certain age (i forgot, i think it was like 16?), but after that age it becomes harder to improve on those areas...sort of like learning a language.
     
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  24. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Federer quit school, so your arguments based on time taken away because of school lose quite a bit of weight.
     
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  25. UnforcedError

    UnforcedError Rookie

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    How many people in the last 30 years or so have picked up tennis at 18 or later and got good enough to turn pro? I can't think of any and Federer wouldn't be any different.
     
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  26. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    I've heard a couple have..not sure who though. I remember the commenters saying something about this.
     
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  27. gokou703

    gokou703 Rookie

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    It depends on what he did before 18. Was he playing sports??? Was he just living a stagnant lifestyle. No matter how much potential someone might be born with if he/she doesn't develop the motor skills, coordination, and balance growing up then it's almost an impossible goal to highly develop those skills during adulthood.

    I think if Federer was playing a sport that incorporated balance, quickness, coordination (soccer, basketball, etc...) then he would be able to transition and learn tennis extremely quickly and quite possibly go pro with the right coaching. It's all hypothetical though...
     
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