How Long to Get to a 5.0?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by misterchris, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    After watching the US Open for the past several years and loving tennis on TV, I decided to learn how to play.

    I am in my mid-30s and used to be athletic. Im still in pretty good shape and have gravitated to weight lifting and running in my old age, although my favorite (best results) producing workout is interval training with a jumprope (500 jumps followed by 5 min on recumbent bike, repeat 4 times, This is an intense 40 minute workout). I can run 6 miles at a leisurly 8-8:15min mile, so im not unhealthy, althought at 6'1" and 200lbs, im carrying around an extra 10-15lbs of dead weight. I crave to have the quickness and endurance I had when I was in my late teens. Tennis seems like somthing I will be good at. Can I turn back the clock and get to the same level of fitness and aggression I had when I was 20?

    Having never picked up a racquet before, I decided to sign up for lessons with a local Pro. I bought a Wilson K 6.2.

    In my first lesson I learned about the split step, the forehand and the backhand, also basic footwork. He fed me easy balls to build up my confidence.

    Over the past two weeks I have been working 2 hours every day with a ball machine. The tennis courts in my association have a tennis tutor and the courts are two minutes from my house.

    I've been practicing proper stroke mechanics taught to me by the pro and supplemented with groundstroke videos on the web. I have been practicing the backhand about twice as much as my WW forehand. 2 days of backhand followed by one day of forehand.

    Ive been trying to "codify" and train my body to reproduce accurate groundstrokes. Im developing a system of footwork, quick steps, hip and shoulder rotation,wrist angle, grip, visualization, etc. Stances, footwork, and core muscles are not unlike like the karate I used to study. I have the advantage of being an adult and knowing how to learn and I dont have any bad habits from my childhood to unlearn.

    In two weeks time I have gone from very little control, to hitting most of the balls in court with a fair ammount of pace and near the baseline. I hate being bad at this so I am driven to improve.

    So my question is given ideal circumstances, access to a pro, ball machine, good work ethic, a good fitness foundation, etc, how long will it take to reach the 5.0 level?

    I know most people never reach this level, but I think I can do it in a few years or quicker. My plan is this:

    *Be mindful of my health and train within my limits. (I have learned about tennis elbow and how proper technique can prevent.)

    *Move from weight training and endurance running to sprint and jumprope training. Get down to 6'1" 180lbs.

    *Work up to 3+ hours of practice a day. Continue drills with ball machine. Focus on perfecting my serve. (BTW, 3 hours a day for 3 years is about 5000 hours, or half of what I read an average young player practices before going pro.)

    *Keep taking provate and group lessons.

    *When I am nailing groundstrokes with pace and have a respectable serve, start the local ladder/tournament system to learn about game play, but stay more focused on practice than competition against other losers. When I get very good at hitting, seek out other great players to practice with. There is a tennis academy outside Washington DC near where I live.

    I am interrested to see what I can do with this.
     
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  2. BullDogTennis

    BullDogTennis Hall of Fame

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    years. chances are you'll hit 4.0ish in about a year or maybe a little longer and then you'll start to flatline and it takes SO long to move up from there. if you keep the work ethic you have now maybe 3 years at the earliest.
     
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  3. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    Thats cool. I figured progress would not be linear.
     
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  4. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    hate to sound like an ***, but you may never get there. If memory serves, something like 5% of of the playing community are 5.0 players.

    However, one should always strive to keep improving. You never know if you are going to be one of those players.

    Realistically, it may take you well over a year to get to 3.0. From there, it gets very hard to go up to 3.5, 4.0, 4.5 etc. With each stage getting progressively more difficult.

    Good luck.
     
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  5. shwetty[tennis]balls

    shwetty[tennis]balls Rookie

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    WITH ALL DUE RESPECT, TENNIS ELBOW IS THE LAST THING SOMEONE YOUR AGE OUGHT TO BE WORRIED ABOUT. AT YOUR AGE, I'D BE MORE CONCERNED ABOUT YOUR KNEES, BACK, WRIST AND SHOULDER. THESE ARE ALL PROBLEMS THAT, UNFORTUNATELY, YOUR AGE WILL ONLY COMPLICATE. THIS IS NOT TO SAY YOU'RE UNHEALTHY-THESE ARE PROBLEMS THAT 20-30 YEAR OLD PROS WHO RECIEVE THE BEST TREATMENT, THE BEST TRAINING AND THE BEST ATTENTION DEAL WITH. THESE ARE PROBLEMS THAT DEVELOP WITH THE AMOUNT OF TENNIS THEY PLAY ON A PROFESSIONAL LEVEL, AND THIS IS HOW IT IS WITH THOSE THAT HAVE MADE IT. ONE REASON THAT KEEPS 5.0 PLAYERS FROM ADVANCING IS INJURY. DON'T THINK FOR ONE SECOND THAT IN YOUR TRAINING QUEST OVER THE NEXT 3-5 YEARS YOU WON'T EXPERIENCE PHYSICAL ISSUES THAT WILL KEEP YOU FROM REACHING YOUR GOAL. I DON'T WANT TO DISCOURAGE YOU IN ANY WAY, AND I HOPE YOU PROVE ME WRONG, BUT I DOUBT THAT YOU WILL BE ABLE TO REACH YOUR TARGET IN THE AMOUNT OF TIME THAT YOU THINK YOU WILL. THERE ARE MANY THINGS THAT ARE IN YOUR CONTROL, AND THERE ARE MANY THAT AREN'T, AND AGE IS NOT ONE OF THEM.
    FURTHERMORE, YOU MAKE THE POINT THAT SINCE YOU NEVER PLAYED WHEN YOU WERE IN ADOLESCENCE YOU WON'T BE PERTURBED BY SUPPOSED BAD HABITS THAT MIGHT HAVE STUCK WITH YOU. IT'S JUST NOT THAT SIMPLE. YOUTH, AS YOU KNOW IS A MUCH GREATER ASSET TO HAVE THAN AGE, PARTICULARLY IN A SPORT AS PHYSICAL AS TENNIS. AT THE 5.0 LEVEL, YOU'LL BE FACING OPPONENTS THAT WERE/ARE MEMBERS OF A UNIVERSITY OR COLLEGE TEAM. MANY TEACHING PROS PLAY AT THE 5.0 LEVEL JUST BECAUSE THE SHEER PHYSICALITY PREVENTS THEM FROM SUCCESFULLY COMPETING AT LEVELS ANY HIGHER (I'M SPEAKING OF THE TEACHING PROS THAT ARE 40 AND OLDER, AND THESE ARE THE GUYS THAT HAVE BEEN PLAYING/TEACHING MOST OF THEIR LIVES!). I'M NOT DOUBTING THAT YOU CAN REACH A 5.0 LEVEL. I AM DOUBTING THAT YOU'D BE VERY SUCCESFUL IF YOU DO REACH IT AND COMPETE AT THAT LEVEL. I AM COMPLETELY SURE THAT YOU WILL NOT REACH IT IN THREE YEARS, UNLESS YOU GIVE UP MOST OF YOUR TIME IN THE DAY TO DEVOTE AND SEVERAL OTHER RESOURCES. EVEN IF YOU DO, YOU'D NEED THE TOP PHYSICAL TRAINING REGIMEN NOT ONLY TO KEEP UP WITH THE SPORT, BUT TO DEVELOP MUSCLES THAT YOUR BODY WOULDN'T OTHERWISE DEVELOP, AND KARATE MUSCLES DON'T COUNT. IF, FOR INSTANCE, YOU DON'T TRAIN AND STRENGTHEN THE RIGHT MUSCLES IN YOUR QUADS AND THIGHS (JUST PLAYING TENNIS SEVERAL TIMES A WEEK WILL DEVELOP THEM, IF ANYTHING IT WILL ONLY CAUSE PROBLEMS, OUTSIDE TRAINING IS MANDITORY), YOU WILL, WITH ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY, DEVELOP CHRONIC KNEE PROBLEMS SUCH AS TENDONITIS OR PFS (PATELLA FEMORAL SYNDROME) THAT ARE NOT UNCOMMON INJURIES WITHIN TENNIS PLAYERS.

    PLEASE, DON'T TAKE THIS AS AN INSULT, I'M ONLY POSTING AN OPINION THAT ISN'T TOTALLY UNFOUNDED OR UNEDUCATED. THESE ARE VERY REAL THINGS TO CONSIDER, AND IT'S NOT AS SIMPLE AS SAYING, "THIS IS WHAT I'M WILLING TO DO, CAN I MAKE IT IN THREE YEARS?" REALISTICALLY, IT JUST WON'T HAPPEN. THE LIKELIHOOD THAT SOMEONE THAT IS 25 CAN GO FROM BEGINNER TO 5.0 IN THREE YEARS IS VERY, VERY SLIM. TACK ON 10 YEARS TO THAT AND THE CURVE IS DOWNWARD SLOPING. GOOD LUCK AND KEEP ON HITTIN'!
    P.S. THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE QUALITY OF PLAYERS FROM 4.0 TO 4.5 IS TREMENDOUS!!! THAT GAP IS A LOT, LOT BIGGER BETWEEN THE 4.5 AND 5.0 LEVELS.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2008
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  6. TTAce

    TTAce Rookie

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    One thing you miss: $$$$$.
    You need a 'real' coach who coach pros, not a coach for rec players, that cost more (2x or 3x) $$$$$.
    And, you need hitting partner too, that cost $$$$$ too.

    Mho, without these two persons, you will never reach 5.0. Luckily 4.0.
     
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  7. pr0n8r

    pr0n8r Rookie

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    I would be proud of you if you were a solid 4.0 by the time you are 40 (seriously). I'm in my mid 30's too, and tennis gets more and more brutal on your body as you move up in skill, and play matches. Sometimes it feels as if every time I start to get a little better, some annoying injury gets in the way. I look fit. I run too. Tennis can be brutal. It's really challenging to avoid overuse injuries. If you're playing USTA, 4.5 will feature some ex-college players, to put it into perspective. Don't get too caught up with the USTA descriptions... they don't matter. It only matters what level you can win at.

    Also, be careful not to over-ballmachine. One of the most important, but seldom talked about skills in tennis is anticipation, and you only get that from hours and hours of match play with various opponents. I know it *seems* as if you could train up several levels on the machine, but it really doesn't work that way. Don't get me wrong, I love my Tennis Tutor, but I have made the mistake of using it too much. Mix in some matches early on.

    Good luck, and most importantly, enjoy the game.
     
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  8. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    Thanks, that sounds like good advice. I cant practice my spilt step with the ball machine and I pretty much know where its going to go.

    There is a local ladder in my county with 100 guys. Once I can serve reasonably well and my groundstrokes are in order I will begin playing games. My point about practice is that I believe that working on fundamentals is the foundation for success in anything; I'm going to resist the temptation to get caught up in rankings and focus on technique.
     
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  9. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    A couple years ago, I found a blog about a 40-something woman who quit her desk job to do an extreme sport: Trans-atlantic rowing. She wanted to be the first woman to row across the Atlantic. She practiced for a few months, bought an impressive rowboat with an enclosed cabin, and set out from England. Reached the states in a couple months if I remember.

    At the time I thought that was a pretty stupid goal. Im pretty sure that anyone in good health, would be able to duplicate her feat with enough backbone, enough courage, and enough time. And the skill of trans-atlatic rowing is hardly social -- its not like you can pick up a game of trans atlantic rowing at your local fitness club.

    My point is that I know this is an almost impossible goal (certainly 100x harder than rowing across the Atlantic), but that is what makes it worthwhile to pursue, and even if I fall short of the mark, the health and social benefits will be many. I am seeking to recapture a semblance of my fitness level and quickness from my early 20s and I believe competitive tennis is the way to do that. (At that level of fitness, there is joy in every breath you take.) I'm pretty sure I could get to a 4.0 with my current fitness level and strong technique, but unless I set my sights higher, I won't have incentive to get where I want to be.

    I know you are being very realistic.
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    OP,

    You need talent and experience, which are understated in your post. Talent is undiscussable, but re experience, there're only so many hours in a day ...
     
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  11. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    Look at Sam Query. He practiced tennis as one of several sports and didnt get serious until he was in high school. If the average youth who starts at age 7 gets 10,000 hours of practice, then Sam must have done it with half that much time on task (or less). And he is a top-20 player.

    There are all kinds of examples of people breaking the curve in all sorts of endeavors.
     
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  12. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    Isn't that more to my point about talent?


    One way to prove if you have what it takes is to play a lot of matches as you train. Consider the result relatively and you'll have a better picture.
     
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  13. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    lot easier to break the curve when you are 6-6 :)
     
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  14. sgrv

    sgrv New User

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    Can somebody cite an authoratative source that explains the various tennis levels and what it takes to reach such levels?
     
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  15. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Good luck, you already have a plan - which is more than most people will ever have.

    Assuming you have the technical and physical talent, there are 2 major obstacles in your path.

    1. Health & Fitness: Tennis is a brutal sport on the body particularly as it sounds as though you will be playing on hard courts (get on clay if possible). Listen to your body and get injuries seen to straight away.

    If you are 100% serious about this I suggest you see a podiatrist and also a physio who has good tennis experience (maybe get a suggestion from a local college coach) asap. Before you continue I would get a program of preventative exercises together and the physio should be able to check you out for areas of tightness / vulnerability to injury.

    2. Your Philosophy: As you already realise progress is not linear and you have to be prepared for the upds and downs. You may lose a stroke for weeks on end, you'll lose to people you don't feel you have any right losing to, you will get fed up. Accept these as part of the challenge, expect them and you'll get through them.

    I also think you should start playing matches as soon as possible. You don't want to be a trained circus animal who can't live in the wild.

    Keep us posted.

    There is no such thing unfortunately. Some people may post the NTRP descriptors but they are more counterproductive than anything. You would have to play someone with a USTA record at a certain level and come away with a score.
     
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  16. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    How do you have 3+ hours a day to spend on tennis as someone in their mid-30s? Are you not married and no kids, have no job, and have a tennis court in your backyard?
     
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  17. jmverdugo

    jmverdugo Hall of Fame

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    I say give it a try and have fun while on it. A couple of thoughts:

    An adult learn faster than a young kid, he can put more focus on the learning and keep thinking about it all day, he can watch an analyze how others people hit and how they play and can think better on court, and adult can learn from reading and practicing.

    About injuries, most sport people that have problems with injuries is because they have doing it for years, given that he hasnt put his knees and a back, etc... in to a continuos stress over the years, I do not think he would be prone to injuries, of course all the streching, warming up, fitness has to be done properly.

    You will not lose anything. Let say that the best you can get is 4.0, so what, it is still a good level of tennis an a very competitive one.

    Im not saying that the posters here are wrong, they are being realistc, some of them maybe to much, but you cant make projects thinking they will fail, you have to aim to the success and the problems you will find in the way, solve them on the run.

    One thing that you will have to work harder than anybody else is match toughness, you simply cant get it unless you play, and it is a lot of playing. I think that this will be your biggest problem.

    But go ahead, play some tennis, have fun, be healthy, do tournaments, the bump on the ratings will come by itself. JMO.
     
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  18. albino smurf

    albino smurf Professional

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    You're not alone bud. I started at 34 and have similair aspirations and feel well on my way. Stay focused and be patient it will take probably five years of concerted effort IMO. Ignore the plateaus and one of the biggest deal sto me is that you make yourself rest and get your legs back. I'm on a two on one off schedule now... I'd been going 3-4 days in a row, but you end up worthless after two days. That rest lets you keep lpaying at a higher level which after a while is what you will need to do to get better... bring the intensity and energy or you will get smoked by 4.0+ players. Goo dluck. You found a good resource here. We should start a geezers with pro aspirations thread to keep updates.
     
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  19. ttbrowne

    ttbrowne Hall of Fame

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    If you have the time to devote, You'll move up quick.
    The rub is: Most 5.0's have a LOT of match experience. So not only do they have the shots, They know what's coming back and what will work in certain situations.
    Most have seen EVERY type of serve on earth and have quality returns. Those are key also.
    Try not to focus on the 4.5, 5.0 thing so much and just hit.
     
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  20. Mikael

    Mikael Professional

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    5.0 is a very ambitious goal. At 5.0 you have pretty much mastered the game. In most sports it is generally accepted that 5-10 years are required before moving to a really advanced level... and if you start later in your life I assume it takes longer.

    As long as you enjoy playing the game and keep improving, you're doing great... just don't look so far ahead at the moment, or you will set yourself up for frustration.
     
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  21. SlapShot

    SlapShot Hall of Fame

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    I'll echo a lot of the sentiments here. You may never get to 5.0, but that's not a reason to put in the effort. You do need to hit with other people - a ball machine doesn't shank, doesn't mix up spins, etc.

    If you're looking to get better, play with better players. Watch what they do, how they move to the ball, etc. Even if the better player is a "lowly" 4.0, you can most likely learn something from their game.
     
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  22. goober

    goober Legend

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    It can be done, but by far the biggest hurdle will be going from 4.5 to a legit 5.0. I have seen very few people who have done that starting how late you did. You have to be totally dedicated for a very long time. You will hit major plateaus at the 4.0 and 4.5 level (if you even get to this level). Health and declining athletic ability with age will definitely factor in.

    The 5.0 level is filled with former high level college tennis players, teaching pros and ex real pros. By the time you are in your 40s it will be very difficult to compete at this level in singles. Almost all the 40+ year old players playing at 5.0 were former 5.5-6.0+ players who are slowing down with age.

    But as a story of inspiration- one of the head teaching pros at a center in my town, started tennis at age 40. He played on the junior college team and went on to have a pretty high national ranking in his age group.
     
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  23. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    I know of a couple of male players who were able to get to 5.0 in about 8 -10 years of heavy playing. In my experiance, you can be a 3.5 player in about 1 year of training and lessons, and a 4.5 in about 5 years. That 4.5 -5.5 is really hard, and per the original post, based upon natural talent and mental strength regardless of how many lessons you take.

    I think that you can improve levels quite fast by developing one great shot. For example, I have a friend (a very tall and quick former scholarship volleyball player) who serves easily 130+, and after a couple of years of playing, is a tough 4.5 due to that serve, height, and quickness. His grounds strokes are horrible though, and when he enters a tournement, there are some players who make him look foolish.

    Oddly, I know of many women who started playing later in life and easily became open level players in a few years due to their superior athletic skills. They had other athletic backgrounds, like being former soccer or basketball players.

    I think you would need to play and practice a lot. Playing is needed for putting your self under pressure and getting used to hitting shots outside you comfort zone. On the other hand, you really cannot improve without practice because, for example, you often will not get enough strokes in a match to improve your forehand and backhand technique.
     
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  24. nyc

    nyc Hall of Fame

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    A coach once told me 5 years to master the strokes, 5 years to master the game....give or take based on talent, and time spent practicing...

    Now that's to reach your potential. Who knows if you have a 5.0 potential in you mentally or physically?

    The most important thing is that it is a beautiful game and can be played until the end of your days, and enjoyment is key.
     
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  25. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    Thanks for the advice. You are right that one of the two things you mention could be the source of downfall. I will either get injured or frustrated; both could cause me to scale back my plans.

    I read your blog and its inspirational! You are doing something similar to me, except rather than learning to play well, you have taken your game to the next level and have gone pro. I wish you great success!

    I have thought about blogging about my progress as well. I plan to record monthly videos to track my progress.

    Two of the courts in my housing association are har-tru (sp?) and the club I am looking to join has a few clay courts. I will start practicing on them as much as possible.



     
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  26. 40lovebaby

    40lovebaby Rookie

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    I don't think there is anything wrong with a 5.0 goal. It should take you several years to get there.

    I started tennis in my 30's, and have now progressed to a solid 4.5 level, and am knocking on the door to 5.0. I'd like to be a 6.0 player before it's all over with, so we'll see how my body holds up. I am a testament to the fact that it can happen though. I don't know that I'd say everyone can reach 5.0 - I had a lot going for me when starting tennis.

    There will be levels and levels to your improvement. You'll find once you start playing competitively, your improvement will be geared towards beating the guys you face, which means once you start to beat them and move up, guys at the next level will handle what you do well, and you'll have to adjust again.

    My own improvement was not constant or linear. I would reach a certain level, say 4.0, where I sat for years before making a breakthrough. It's rare that a single shot holds you back - it's normally a number of things that have to come together right before you move up.

    As you move up you'll play a wider variety of players who have different strengths. This year I played a guy that aced me 30 times in a 3 set match, followed by a guy that I couldn't hit a winner against because he was so damn fast. You'll face pushers and counterpunchers with subtle differences.

    I was a very good athlete to start who was dedicated and played a lot. I am obsessed with the sport, and would play every day if I could.

    There will be times before you are a 5.0 where you might burn out a little on what you are excited about now. Change of seasons, learning a new stroke, or buying a new pair of tennis shorts might all be things that will lure you back to full commitment.

    Your dedication to your fitness will dictate you making that 5.0 goal as much as your stroke dedication. You'll need both. I don't know of any out of shape 5.0 players that don't have some serious weapon to compensate (110mph serve they can put in the corners).

    I'd also say that you should mix in some doubles play as well as singles, so that you take on positive attributes of both types of players, and you will learn a broader range of strokes and truely understand the angles of the court.

    Best of luck to you! Your real reward will be the sport itself - it's amazing to improve and to beat players along the way that you once couldn't.
     
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  27. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    Thanks, this is good advice. I will keep everyone posted.

     
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  28. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    TO Shwetty Tennis Ball

    DID YOU HAVE TO SHOUT SO LOUD?? I think I'm deaf now.
     
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  29. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    That makes it sound pathetic! I dont have a family and im currently between jobs.

    Even when i am working I go to the gym and workout every night (running or lifting) and on weekends spend entire days competing in other sports, so this will just be a shift in training for me. I may not be able to keep up 3 hours a day, but 2 hours each evening is realistic. I dont watch TV or any crap like that.


    There are 9 tennis courts in my backyard. :twisted:
     
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  30. nyc

    nyc Hall of Fame

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    sounds cool - keeps us posted on your progress!
     
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  31. misterchris

    misterchris Rookie

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    Thanks for the encouragement; you have the same outlook that I do.

     
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  32. Spokewench

    Spokewench Semi-Pro

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    small goals vs. large goals

    One key to improving in any sport that I have found in the past, is to focus on small goals instead of larger ones. It does not hurt to have the larger goals, but if you have only that goal, it becomes too hard to keep yourself motivated if you have some goal that is way out there.

    So if you have small goals, you are always going to be able to improve that forehand, then the backhand, then the serve, then your footwork, and so on and so on until you have moved up a level of play; and then keep going. So keep your eye on those small goals and you will achieve the long term goals eventually.
     
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  33. CoachingMastery

    CoachingMastery Professional

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    If you hope to reach a 5.0 level, you must first understand what 5.0 level strokes, strategies, footwork and techniques are and then second, understand how to emulate these patterns.

    The reason only 5% of the playing public reach 5.0 levels is because they are the ones who learned the game within this level of expectation.

    The VAST majority of players learn the game within the context of transitional learning...that is, they learn patterns that get them "hitting the ball over the net" but then, at some point, must change to more advanced, more effective techniques. This is the rub: most players can't change from their mediocre, ineffective methods to new methods that feel uncomfortable, unfamiliar and produce initially unsuccessful results.

    The outcome: They all resort back to their familiar, comfortable, but ineffective strokes basically maintaining the level they are at for life. Ever see a person who has been at the 3.0 level for a number of years suddenly move out of that level and reach higher levels? It is rare.

    The vast number of players are stuck at the 3.0 adn 3.5 levels for these reasons.

    Personally, I've trained hundreds upon hundreds of players to reach 5.0 levels and above. (Many reaching professional tour level play, college play, national and state ranked play, etc.) The point is, all of these players developed what I call in my books, an "Advanced Foundation" one that does not REQUIRE change for more advanced levels.

    I've had a number of adults move out of the 3.5 levels because they understood the first paragraph of this post...and diligently worked to change their game...even as it meant playing at a perceived lower level initially while they became more accustomed to and confident with the higher level techniques.

    Hope this makes sense to all.
     
    #33
  34. Power Player

    Power Player G.O.A.T.

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    2 hours on a wall or with a machine will beat you up fast. Be careful. An hour of playing on the wall or hitting with a good 4.0+ partner is pretty intense too.

    Getting in tennis shape is not easy. And I am in a lot better shape then many people. The start/stop movements and quick bursts are fantastic ways to get in shape, but they do wear you down at first.
     
    #34
  35. VGP

    VGP Legend

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    misterchris - you sound determined and motivated.

    Since essentially, you're a blank slate, would you mind posting videos of your progress? You just might set a good (even inspirational) example around here.
     
    #35
  36. Djokovicfan4life

    Djokovicfan4life Legend

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    It goes well with his avatar.
     
    #36
  37. Topaz

    Topaz Legend

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    Hey there! There is a group of us TTWs members that live in the DC metro area...we get together, hit, drink, eat...etc! We have a thread in odds and ends...follow link...

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=130010
     
    #37
  38. babolat41

    babolat41 New User

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    This guy is a beauty!! He's an athlete, but he's 10-15 pounds overweight. He's got technique, but he hasn't played in any games, just against a ball machine. He's 35 but he feels like a teen. His first lesson he learned everything and got confidence. And worked on his forehand 1 day and backhand 2 day's so hes pretty much got it!..... Listen guy, you get good at what you practice, if you practice everyday for two or three years,l the sky is the limit! You obviously have confidence in you athletic abilities which is great for detremination! You shoud map your goals a bit diffrent, like working on finding matches with guys that are better then you until you surpass them and move on! If your practicing everyday the matches that you lose will show you what to get better at fast!!! Good luck!
     
    #38
  39. LafayetteHitter

    LafayetteHitter Hall of Fame

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    How is it possible to even predict 4.0 after a year. I know some guys that have played 10 years and they can barely hang with the top notch 3.0's around here. As others have pointed out talent has alot to do with rising above the 4.0 level. I think there are people that ASSUME they are a 4.0 and probably are not even close. The difference between a solid 4.0 and a benchmark 4.5 is quite noticeable and the difference between a 4.5 and 5.0 is not so visual but it's there. Most of the guys that are the best 4.5 in this area are former 5.0-5.5 college guys that are aging. Very few of the 4.5 guys started during their thirties and worked up from there.
     
    #39
  40. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    You have a solid and definitive goal - as Moz pointed out, that is something most rec tennis players will never have. It is a great start.

    I like that you have laid a plan out - however - it seems a bit mechanical regarding a sport that is far more than a mechanical or technical endevor. I don't mean this in any sort of negative way.

    If you don't want to burn out - and it's easy to do with your approach, please consider adding to your goals, some tacitical goals that are based on emotional well being, and love of the sport. You simply MUST truly enjoy running around, tyring to hit that little ball back over the net - just for the pure joy of hitting and having some fun. I cannot stress this enough, and I am a 42 yr old player, started when I was 30, and was very athletic as yourself when younger.

    You may find this interesting, but from my understanding of your original post, you are approaching tennis exactly to the letter, as Tim Gallwey describes in Chapter 8 of his book (The Inner Game of Tennis), called the 'Perfect-O' Game. This will lead to much emotional frustration over time, and only worse ----believe it or not-----as you get BETTER and BETTER!

    I digress, yes, but understand something about this sport. There is always but always but always skills that are just out of your current grasp no matter what level of play your are at. As you get better, and your skills improve, the next set of skills become more subtle, and far harder to attain.

    None of what I say here is to discourage you, but hopefully, to add another dimension to your current plan. What you have laid out is strategical in nature, but will require a lot of tactical planning, including emotional development, to really bring it all together.

    There likely isn't any 5.0 player that exists, that doesn't have a real true inner passion to play the game - for the fun of the game.

    I'll post a secone post on your query about fitness....
     
    #40
  41. OrangeOne

    OrangeOne Legend

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    Best post I've read in months. I spend half of my life trying to explain point (1) to people (and most don't get it). Point 2 (and '3') above are solid too, I love the trained circus animal analogy.
     
    #41
  42. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    MrChris said:
    I say absolutely. I was a 400 meter spinter in track, and lifted weights as a teen. I was able to lose weight at least a couple of times as an adult that were key, where I was MORE Fit (running wise) and strong than in my teens and early twenties.

    The very clear difference is not fitness - which is definately doable - but rather, performance, flexibility, and recovery from stressful workouts.

    You will most likely not be able to attain the same level of flexibility, or recovery. The flexibilty factors into higher level skills, such as pre-stretching of the ligaments and tendons, and rebound of energy in the kinetic chain. These are skills that you can't 'see' with your eyes, but for two guys with strokes that look identical---one may have a ball with significantly more 'energy' on the ball, than the other guys.

    Recovery is naturally slower as we age, no way to get around this fact, I wish we could.

    I have been around tennis a while now - I'll tell you this - Moz's post laid out some things that I think you must do to get to 5.0 in the timeframe you have set forth. Yeah - it gets expensive.
     
    #42
  43. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Thanks misterchris. Your post along with Spokewench's reminded me of something.

    It helps motivation wise to set some goals. I would divide your goals into 3 types.

    1. Long term goals: these are your dreams, unfold a few years in the future and may or may not be realistic.

    2. Medium term goals: these can be measured in months to 3 years. These are stretch targets that are achievable, if everything goes well.

    3. Short term goals: these should involve weekly targets and other short term targets. These are all achievable, but will assist with your planning. e.g. by 09/27/08 I would have hit 100 practice serves on 3 seperate occasions, I would have entered a ?? NTRP tournament by the end of next month.

    Goal setting has a very positive influence on your journey - this is pretty well accepted. What also helps is publishing your goals. You don't have to publish your long term dreams but there is nothing wrong with publishing your medium or short term goals. I find it adds another layer of determination when things are going badly. By sharing your goals you feel as though you are involving other people who stick by you (even if they don't, ultimately, give a ****). Do the blog.....we'd like to track your progress.

    I totally agree. I ran a 50.5 400m at age 21 and drank for a few years. I took up running again in my late 20's and at 29 ran a 49.7. The point being that you don't have to lose speed as you get older. So many people assume the deleterious effects of age - take nothing as read.

    You just hope that the wisdom, preparation and good sense acquired as an older gentleman more than offsets the increased recovery time.

    Smoothtennis is also correct: it can get friggin expensive!
     
    #43
  44. teppeiahn1

    teppeiahn1 Rookie

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    Trying to get 5.0 is going to be very tough.. Even with natural talent, 5.0 level are kids banging the crap out of the ball in college.
    I rate myself as a 3.5 and took me about year to get there but i went through alot of work. If you get to about the 4.0 level, you should be having fun with the rallys, and naturaly you might advance further
     
    #44
  45. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    everyone who has picked up a racquet has considered this question.

    in reality, how many true 5.0 do u see at your local club?

    does that answer your question
     
    #45
  46. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    moz
    your posts always reference to drinking
     
    #46
  47. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    Regrets are a terrible thing - hope it didn't take away from the post.
     
    #47
  48. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    You ever get that CAPS LOCK problem repaired?:twisted:
     
    #48
  49. Tim Tennis

    Tim Tennis Professional

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    Go for it and don't look back

    Great thread, a lot of interesting ideas, as usual I seem to look at things a little differently then most people.

    I agree with David Smith, Tennis Mastery's, statement about transitional tennis, which is basically you are better off learning the correct mechanics/grips to start with.

    He went on to say, "The reason only 5% of the playing public reach 5.0 levels is because they are the ones who learned the game within this level of expectation."
    I don't necessarily agree with that, granted a lot of people get stuck at the 3.0, 3.5 even 4.0 level because of terrible mechanics. My point is even if you started out everyone with Davids teaching methods, which I think are right on, you would still be lucky to get 5.0% of them up to the 5.0 level.

    A 5.0 player is something special. First, to be a 5.0 player you have to be a very good athlete but there are a lot of good athletes at the 4.0, 4.5 level who really train and work hard, so what separates a 5.0 player from them? IMO they have a gift that the rest of us just don't have and that is "great vision." They see the ball so well, so much better then the rest of us. It is not just good hand eye coordination, I think these guys can actually slow the ball down with their vision. They see the ball clearly from the time it comes off their opponents racquet to the time it hits their's. With the better input they are able to react better, quicker then the rest of us.

    Another gift you need to be a 5.0 player is what I call instinctive awareness. You have to be aware of exactly what your body is doing in each stroke. So many people when they see a video of their strokes they are shocked. It is nothing like they think it is. You have to be aware of how to add racquet acceleration and adjust the swing path to achieve the desired results of your shot selection depending on situation. This is what practice, practice, practice is all about, but an individuals ability to do this on a high level is a gift.

    So Misterchris, you sound like a very good athletic, you seem very focused and motivated. Mid thirties, hell you are still a kid. If you have the gifts I mentioned above, I think you can do it or at least be one hell of a 4.5 player. Go for it. Be the best you can be.

    Best regards,

    Ed
    Tennis Geometrics

    http://www.tennisgeometrics.com
     
    #49
  50. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    Tim Tennis said:
    If you were to make it to 4.5, believe me, you would have a GREAT time playing higher level tennis - very challenging in all areas, and some fantastic points!
     
    #50

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