Is it time for the doubles court?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by doubletrouble, Aug 3, 2004.

  1. doubletrouble

    doubletrouble New User

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    Im a 4.0 player with a solid sw forehand, topspin 2h backhand and slice to mix it up. First serve is good with a topspin 2nd. The problem... Im on the wrong side of 50 and next month even further the wrong way. I hold my own with guys my age but the younger guys have figured out that while the wheels maybe haven't totally come off... I have lost a step.
    Im ok side to side I can bang away at the baseline with the best of them but definitely have lost a step or maybe more in getting to the net so now I see more and more short balls and lots of slice. Balls that formerly I could put away Im late on and they end up either going into the net or sit up for an easy pass.
    So what is it ... any hope for me??? can you other more "experienced" players help me beat the "young guns" or do I pack it in and move over to the doubles court :?:
    PS for you young guys - over 50 does not mean I use a walker :twisted:
     
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  2. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah it could be that you lost that step but I dont think you need to pack it in. What I really think is you need to get better at "reading" and anticipating the short ball and taking a step in to get it. It is not how fast you are for the short ball but how soon you recognize it is short!

    If the ball is almost to the net and then you say to yourself "it is short" and then run, you will probably lunge for it and throw up a desperation plea.

    The reason why people will throw up a short ball is because they have recognized you do not move forward well. Moving forward happens first in the brain through the eyes. You may move sde to side well, but not forward.

    A couple of things could be happening. You have always had trouble reading a short ball but never new it because your "wheels" could make up for the lazy anticipation. Or you need an eye exam. The third thing is you need to do short ball drills.

    You need to retrain your mind to pickup clues on when the short ball is hit. Is it hit mostly when the ball is hit from their forehand? Their backhand? Is it when they slice? Or after they hit to a certain part of the court to move you a certain way?

    As you get older focus becomes a bit harder.

    Train yourself to live in the moment - clear the mind and focus on a game plan. Having a game plan against this person (the young gun) will help you stay focused better on being alert to his tactics.

    In a recent post a poster said that the 4.0 player he plays against had no weaknesses. Give me a break! Everyone has weaknesses. It is a cop out to think any other way. Right now, your weakness is "READING" the short ball. Your weakness is finding out clues on when you think it is coming.

    Let me ask you a question, if you sensed the short ball was coming and it did, do you think you would have a jump on it and get there in time? I think you would.

    Since doubles is a forward moving game and one that requires good focus, I think it would serve well to play some doubles along with your singles.
     
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  3. doubletrouble

    doubletrouble New User

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    Thanks for your reply. I think you're right about the anticipation. I used to play a more attacking game. Loved to S&V. Get to the net quickly and end the point! but gradually it seemed like I would get passed alot more so I began more of a baseline game. So your right... I was already at the net no need to anticipate.
    Now the most frustating thing is to hit an aggressive shot get the short ball and be caught standing on the baseline!!!
    That said these days I can't be like the young bull always charging in got to be more like the old bull... a little wiser 8)
    I have read your previous post about recognizing one segment shots and have been working on "seeing" the opportunities.
    Shot wise where I think I need work is now that I might be a bit late is to keep from running through the short shots - Any advice? and oh ya those sharp angled slices... just can't get down low enoughhhhhhh.
    l
     
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  4. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    Yes, recognizing one segement shots are real important, but those are a bit easier to recognize than a short ball that comes from the middle of the court.

    From my perspective, gone are the days of stopping and hitting on an approach shot. The key is to keep moving while maintaining your balance and control.

    Nothing short of practice will improve this area. As you get close to the ball, take shorter steps or "stall" and then continue the movement when you make contact.

    Hitting sharp angles also needs practice. A measured backswing and hitting through with some topspin is the ticket.

    You simply have to setup some drills with your hitting partner and simulate these shots to get the hang of how to hit them.

    All of these things are tactical match situation manuevers. They require technique but they also must be set in motion to train the eyes and the feet to work together. This is when a coach feeding you balls shines!
     
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  5. lendl lives

    lendl lives Semi-Pro

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    dt, it happens to all of us. i'm 30 now...stronger but not as quick and as resiliant as my 20 year old self. i'll probably be too injured to play at 50. or beyond. there is a guy who 60 at our club and still plays really competetive singles. He's amazing. Genes. I have poor ones.
     
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  6. Rickson

    Rickson G.O.A.T.

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    Two of the best players on the courts I play on are in their fifties. Both guys are tall and slim, and both have incredible groundstrokes. 50+ is not too old for singles, you have a lot of good years left.
     
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  7. Cypo

    Cypo Rookie

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    However - if you haven't started playing doubles yet you better get a move on ! Doubles is a blast, but if you want to really play it, don't wait till all else fails and you can't win in singles anymore.
    just my two cents.....
     
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  8. dozu

    dozu Banned

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    here is a tip for ya.... don't get old!

    just kidding... me 36 here and past few years it's been a rollette wheel of injuries between heels, elbow, wrist, and this year, the good ole knees.

    I think when we get more experienced we get a bit slower and a bit weaker, just enough to introduce injuries. Strength training is also important so the muscles around the joints are strong enough.

    Doubles can be fun, and I find that people who play a lot of doubles are usually strong in the return and volley department when they do singles. The problem is you need 3 other people, at similar skill level, to make it fun, that is 300% of the scheduling tasking as singles.
     
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  9. Bungalo Bill

    Bungalo Bill G.O.A.T.

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    I think as we age and balance the pressures of family, life, career, and sport, we tend to get out of "tennis" shape both mentally and physcially. I know for me that is true. It was very easy to burn a billion calories when I was twenty without thinking about it. But for some reason as we age we tend to "soften" our ability to maintain a strict diet and exercise. This could be because of interruptions from family, career, injury, and other outside elements. Or we never realized how difficult it is to stop eating everything we want as our metabolism has slowed down and it is hard to break the eating habit.

    When triathlons became popular here in Southern California, I couldnt believe how many 40+ year olds were in excellent shape. They watched their diet and of course, committed to their sport through exercise and training. All of this was of course was to be able to one day finish the Hawaiian Ironman (the original).

    I dont see that so much in tennis even though tennis requires excellent physical conditioning. I see a lot of slightly to massively over wieght people in tennis that are over 40+ years old. Yeah, there are those few that stay in shape. But for the most part people just dont take staying in "tennis" shape seriously. I think if we were all honest with ourselves we would find that true.

    Now I am not talking about being in shape as the world would see it. I am talking about "tennis" shape. For the most part, a player needs to be a little thinner compared to the worlds standards, simply because tennis has an endurance element in it. Carrying extra weight has a detrimental effect called sluggishness both in mind and fleet.

    My encouragement for older people (me included) is to get in tennis shape. More than any other thing you do and before you spend more money on improving that backhand, go see your Doctor, get a physical and starting eating and working out to get in that "fighting shape" you would like to be in.

    It does wonders for your backhand, it improves your ability to jump on the ball and you will have a ton of fun playing this game.

    For example, I told everyone here that I could stand to lose about 20 lbs. I have not really practiced my game as I have been helping others play better. But since I stopped coaching on the court, I have now recomitted my efforts to play singles (injury free) and doubles. I too would love to have a coach but cant afford one, so I am doing it the old fashion way.

    I have lost 12 lbs. I put two hours (once early in the morning, once in the later evening) on an eliptical machine (hour each time), were I do my best to simulate running. I eat more salads and stay away from the chips and alcohol. :twisted:

    Two weeks ago, I was having trouble getting my old form back on a wide forehand. You know the one were you dare the person to hit it wide, catch up to it, adjust the footwork, then hit a reverse forehand crosscourt, while sort of in the air, then stop yourself and recover back in the court. But I was missing it madly.

    After losing more weight, and playing yesterday, it was just clicking. It felt so good to have that shot back again. Also, my ability to SEE the short ball before it gets over the net has improved as well.

    So I would encourage you older guys and gals to take an inventory on where you are tennis shape wise and fix whatever you need to. When you think your in good shape and have worked hard, come on down to Southern Cal, I will put your through a workout that will test your conditioning. Of course, during that time you will hate my guts, swearing up a storm as I blow the whistle for the next sequence! :twisted:
     
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  10. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

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    50 is not too old for singles. I play a guy who is 62 and he has won several sets off me this year but he has won the last 3 tournaments around here in the 55 year old and up division. He is in excellent shape and has an aggressive attacking style with a big second serve similar to his first serve. He used to run half marathons though so he is a bit of a fitness freak already. He is a solid 4.0 level singles player as are a number of other guys I know in their 50's.
     
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  11. joe sch

    joe sch Hall of Fame

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    Most open level players stop competing at the open level after they reach 40s because they just cant keepup with the best open level players in the 20s. This is why there is age class, which is basically open level where you compete against the best guys in your age class. The USTA has age class competition all the way to the 90s. If you are really good for your age, you can move from regional competition to national competition. You dont have to consider playing doubles when you no longer have the wheels to compete against the speedy youngsters. You can also learn to play more effecient, smarter tennis, if you do have to compete against younger, faster competition, ie softer angles, chip/charge, dinking and lobbing. I remember when I was a young gun and hated to play those old smart players :wink:
     
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