Latest starting 4.5 you know?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by HunterST, Sep 1, 2013.

  1. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    My goal is to become a solid 4.5 who has a shot at making it deep in strong 4.5 tournaments. I started playing at 19.

    I'm wondering, out of the players you know, how old was the latest starting 4.5 player?

    A guy at my club just got bumped to 4.5. He started playing when he was a sophomore in high school. That's the latest for me.
     
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  2. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    I'm going to guess old as ****, and either athletic and intelligent, athletic and dedicated with a good coach, or intelligent and dedicated.

    I mean, all you really need to do is consistently beat 4.5s right?
     
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  3. SuperDuy

    SuperDuy Hall of Fame

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    Mid 20s I would say.
     
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  4. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I don't know, most of the 4.5s I've come across are guys in their 30s who have been playing since high school. Many are former college players. It's a pretty high level.
     
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  5. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

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    Former college players doesn't mean much to me. There is a WIDE range of skill in "college players". Even more so if you include bad ones not playing for a long time.

    If we're talking D1, they have to be like in their 40s and have not played in quite a while to drop to 4.5.

    I played at roughly a 4.5 level and started HS Sophmore. This is with 0 private coaching.

    And you can be a 4.5 player who looks like he hits like ****. Most people will never say "he looks like he's a high level player", proceed to get double bageled, and continue saying it and following up with "he got lucky when he beat me, I made a bunch of stupid mistakes". Fact is, you just need to be intelligent to win. That's all. It's competition, it's not about strokes, it's about the mind, the desire, and the determination to punch a hole through any wall that gets in your way.

    I'd guess a fairly fit 30 would be the cutting point. Think of it this way, once you hit 40, you should give up on improving your NTRP. Once you hit 30, this are mostly going downhill from there, but if you maintain your fitness and improve the way you look at matches and how you execute, you can still get better. But by 40, I don't see any way you can get any better.

    I try not to underestimate the abilities of people. The majority may not be capable of much, but some stubborn and/or talented people have a way of just breaking the rules and surprising you. There's a guy in his 90s with a winrate in the 90s because he moves better than his opponents. Crazy **** happens. If you aren't talented, work harder than those who are talented. If you aren't determined to go through hell and back to reach your goal, you probably won't reach it if it is a difficult one. I'm not a very determined person, so I don't get too far into anything I do.

    I'm going to guess you're in your mid 20s. I'm telling you now, if you REALLY want to be a 4.5, you can do it, but you'll have to really invest into it. In the end, you may end up hitting 5.0 before you realize it. 5.0s are good, but they're not particularly amazing. I mean, I'll get thrashed in every match I play against one, but it'll never be, "no matter what I do, I'll never be at their level." I can get there, I just don't care to invest the time, effort, and resources into it.

    If you want to guarantee improvement when you feel like you can no longer improve, you need to 1) get a trainer and improve your body with tennis as the focus (at the very least, you need to hit the gym and go run some miles/kilometers outside), 2) get a good coach to constantly keep you on the right track to improving properly, 3) get a good hitting partner to keep yourself motivated and keep you used to dealing with quality shots, and 4) constantly practice and stay motivated. I was not willing to do 1 and 2. And I got more fun out of hitting the ball than spending the time to meticulously improve my shots. I guarantee, you have not done all 4 of these things. I would say #1 is has the most possibilities for improvement out of the 4 for most people. If you believe you have more stamina than your opponent, it's a mental boost. If you feel like you've worked harder than them, it's a mental boost.

    tldr; you can do it if you believe and work hard for it;
    1) go to gym, talk to trainer
    2) get good coach
    3) get good hitting partner
    4) keep practicing
    5) f*ck *****es, get money! Errr, I mean believe in yourself, stay determined, and keep enjoying tennis. The point where you stop enjoying tennis is when this all becomes meaningless.
     
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  6. GoaLaSSo

    GoaLaSSo Semi-Pro

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    In terms of lateness, I have met some older players 40s-50s that started in their 20s and 30s.

    It is very doable to become a 4.5


    However, it takes a lot of match play to really be on this level. A lot of people think that being extremely fit and having great strokes is the ticket to making it to 4.5, but really what it takes is being very solid all around during match play and having the right mentality.


    For a while, I was playing great in practice and had clean strokes/serving/etc, but what I really lacked was the mentality and confidence in match play. I played some strong 4.5 players that are much older than I was (there were some guys maybe in their 50s playing in upper 4.5 tier that really impressed me), and they would beat me off of sheer smarts and consistency. I don't mean to imply they were pushing, but rather they played at a high level throughout the match and could consistently place the ball where they wanted. My level would dip for a service game or two, and it would result in me losing the set. After playing a lot more matches, I have been able to iron out some of this and have been much more competitive against good players.


    I think the ideal path is to have some lessons/clinics initially and develop the basics of the strokes and learn about percentages and gameplans, but then to put a focus on match play and tweak things as you go. You don't necessarily need a private coach.
     
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  7. pushing_wins

    pushing_wins Hall of Fame

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    seriously, whats 4.5?

    how many double bagel levels are you away from someone with an atp point?
     
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  8. Timbo's hopeless slice

    Timbo's hopeless slice Hall of Fame

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    well, ok, probably my friend Glenn, who is around 4.5 - 5.0 and in his mid 50s.

    he took up tennis at, get this, 38!!!

    however, he was a world ranked squash player right up until that point and is very athletic. He also sought coaching from the beginning..
     
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  9. josofo

    josofo Semi-Pro

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    the guy who was the best player in our town 5.5 for like 10 years way back started in his 20's. (he was south american and played on pro soccer teams before coming to america to work in a factory) so he had an athletic background.

    but yeah for op 19 is plenty young enough.
     
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  10. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Thanks, guys!

    I actually feel like I have all the strokes to compete at 4.5. I really just need to play cleaner, more consistent, and smarter. I need to be more consistent on high paced and/or weird shots and be better in the transition game.

    Maybe stuff that, like one poster was saying, comes from match play?
     
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  11. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    Ron Waite says he started at 39 and got 5.0.

    http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo-archive.html
     
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  12. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    One of my hitting buddies is a 5.0 and started at 35.

    Get some lessons, find some folks to hit with, and have some fun.
     
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  13. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    Wow! How old is he now?
     
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2013
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  14. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    I started at 21 but it took me a while to get to a 4.5 level since I never had private lessons and no internet back in the day.

    .
     
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  15. rkelley

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    48 now. He hits hard, modern (though he prefers to go flatter than a lot of modern players), and he's fast on court.

    The OP was 19. Age is not an issue for him. Time, coaching, availability of courts . . . those might be issues, but not age.
     
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  16. gmatheis

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    I know a guy who must have been 40+ when he started and is a 4.5 now, although not a super strong 4.5.

    He was a good athlete, former basketball player maybe baseball too not sure and he just has good eye hand coordination and watches the ball really well.
     
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  17. goober

    goober Legend

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    I know two guys that started late.

    One guy: 39 years old. Became a 4.5C in the 3 years. I knew him when he was a 3.0 just starting. He has stayed at 4.5 for almost 10 years now. He is a mid level 4.5 winning about half his matches mostly in doubles these days.

    Another guy: took up tennis at age 40 after he got divorced. Went all out into tennis including joining a junior college team in his 40s. Won a bunch of local age group tourneys. At one point held a 5.0 rating. Became a teaching pro- still has a 4.5 rating.
     
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  18. bad_call

    bad_call Legend

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    after serving military, started playing in early 20s whilst in college. continued playing after college and entering a few state tourneys. beat a few college (&former) players and took my share of losses til quitting. guess ended at 4.0+ ntrp.

    started back hitting for fun and exercise a few years back. now 60 yrs old and spanking the younger (30s) 4.5s on occasion. dang think i'm sounding like LeeD. :shock: ;)
     
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  19. Velvet Ga el

    Velvet Ga el Rookie

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    Man, I think people have some delusion as to what 4.5 tennis is and isn't. Rare air is the 5.0+ range. Getting to 4.5 takes a decent amount of athleticism, but more so a commitment to putting in the time to practice and learn proper technique.

    Once you get to the lower band of 5.0, however, you better have some solid athleticism to move around the court.
     
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  20. Avles

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    Actually you sound like the anti-LeeD!

    I'm 37 and nowhere near 4.5, but I suspect getting there would be be more a question of time, diligence, and opportunity than of sheer athleticism. If I could stay healthy, find enough practice time, and (very important) get enough hitting and matches in with 4.5-level competition, I bet I could be there in 5-10 years.

    Those are all huge ifs though, for me at least... bottom line is I doubt I'll have the time, resources or drive to get there.
     
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  21. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    I play with a 19 year old kid that's 4.5-5.0. He doesn't get up before noon. Usually later.....
     
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  22. TennisCJC

    TennisCJC Legend

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    I started around 19 - I think. It has been a long time - in my mid-50s now. I played several years at 4.5 in my 30s winning at a decent percentage (more than 50%) and a couple of seasons at 5.0 but won less than 50%. The 5.0 team broke up when we lost a few players. It was much harder to find enough 5.0 players. So, we waited a few years and went back in at 4.5.

    I think 19 is fine for making it to 4.5 or even a little higher. But, you have to play a lot, be fit and pay attention to technique. I didn't have many private lessons but played about 6 days a week, went to a couple of week long tennis camps, had a few private lessons, and lots of team lessons.

    I think a good athlete could make 4.5 and start as late as say 35 or 40. I think it would take 5+ years for overwhelming majority of players.
     
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  23. HunterST

    HunterST Hall of Fame

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    I know 4.5 isn't insanely high level, but it's about as good as a rec player gets. In the last tournament I was in, several 4.5s were players at smaller colleges. The guy who won was a D II tennis Hall of Famer. He's probably more like a 5.0 to be fair.
     
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  24. murrfan1

    murrfan1 New User

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    Yup, I have a friend who started at 27. He's 31 now and a routinely wins the 5.0 tournys at his club despite only practicing about 2 hours a week. A natural sportsman, and very fit.
     
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  25. murrfan1

    murrfan1 New User

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    I forgot to mention, a very good coach is key. He had really good one for one hour per week (about 3 times per month) for about 2 years.
     
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  26. goran_ace

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    I can't think of any guys I know in my area who play 4.5 who didn't at least play high school varsity tennis. There are a lot who played college (mainly DIII) or are teaching pros. Most of the guys are in their 20's and 30's with a few into their early 40's. 4.5 is pretty good tennis and most players hit their ceiling at 4.0.
     
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  27. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I know a guy and a gal who both got to 5.0 starting in their 30's. Everyone else I know who was a 5.0 started when they were kids, so it is rare.
    I don't see any reason why someone starting late couldn't be a 4.5. It will take a lot more specific work on the game (vs. playing) than most people do to get to that level.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2013
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  28. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I like Dave Smith's (tennis coach and author - Tennis Mastery and Coaching Mastery) take on this. Most people can get to 4.5 or so if they develop an advanced foundation for their game. That's a fancy way of saying learn the proper grips and strokes, some basic foot work, and go out and practice a bit and don't just hack around with buddies.
     
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  29. 5point5

    5point5 Banned

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    So you're currently a 4.5? I think its less that you don't care to be 5.0 and more of you cannot attain 5.0.

    There's nothing to be ashamed of, different individuals have different thresholds when it comes to athletic prowess in a sport.
     
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  30. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    That is amazing. What was his prior exposure to sports?
     
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  31. MarinaHighTennis

    MarinaHighTennis Professional

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    I started tennis at 15 (played club soccer before) and now I'm 20. I'd say I am in 4.5-5.0 range but i don't know if I can get any better than this with my game...
     
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  32. NJ1

    NJ1 Professional

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    This is very true. Individual lessons, working on your fitness and practicing with decent players makes 5.0 achievable within a couple of years for the above. What level these people can ultimately reach beyond this depends on time, dedication, age and level of athletic prowess.
     
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  33. goran_ace

    goran_ace Hall of Fame

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    There's also a difference between rating yourself as a 4.5 or 5.0 and actually competing at those levels.
     
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  34. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    4.5 I would say you have the shots to compete at the 5.0 level. 5.0 is applying them consistently.
     
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  35. Baxter

    Baxter Professional

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    Did I miss a "rate me" vid?
     
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  36. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Started in 1974, to recover from a 6 pin, plate, screws tib fib break. I was born in '49.
    Made finals in my first C tourney in '77. Won a big draw (128 spot) C tourney the next month, making me a B or 4.5 by the end of '77.
    HunterST can do it, if he can play tennis 5 days a week, minimum 2 hours on court each day, and play and practice against better players.
    Not having to work helps, saving you some energy to go out on court 100% every session.
     
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  37. Tmano

    Tmano Professional

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    i started playing tennis in 2009 when i move to US, at age 35. played my first leage 4.0 as self rated in 2010 and I pretty much lost all the matches but with honor other then one. However I was not ready, never played a competitive match before that. I took it more seriously and improved. I did not play any other league til this year when I played a 4.5 league. did pretty good as first year.
     
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  38. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    The classical guitar. Seriously, I'm not sure, but he didn't start playing tennis until 35. He small, but very fit. He told me that when he started learning he just hit every ball as hard as he could. Nothing went in. Now it goes in most of the time and his form is very good.

    I asked him about playing 5.0 tournaments. He said he could win a round or two, but then he'd come up against some guy that used to play Michael Chang in the juniors and he'd lose.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2013
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  39. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    That s something big here you mention. Without having to work, you can spend as much time on the court as you like. And rest enough in between.
    Alot of weekend warriors could be 4.5 ( and up) , if only..
     
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  40. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Best way to get good at tennis.
    Spend some time hitting as hard as you can.
    Dial it back for matches, until it get's consistent.
     
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  41. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    But maintain form.
     
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  42. J_R_B

    J_R_B Hall of Fame

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    One of the best in our 4.0 40s league here is a guy who started playing 2 years ago. He's a good natural athlete who learned to hit topspin groundstrokes and never miss. He wasn't bumped in the early start ratings this year, but he should have been. He'll be a 4.5 in a year or two for sure because he's still improving rapidly.
     
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  43. nhat8121

    nhat8121 Semi-Pro

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    i know this guy that, 4 years ago, picked up the racquet for the first time, at 35 years old, 5'2" and balding. Self taught, he's now benchmark 4.5 and teach at a club.

    so anything is possible, you just need the right mindset and know how to train properly to improve.
     
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  44. My dad picked up the racquet for the first time at 36 and was 4.5 in less than a year. He was a pro racquetball player.
     
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