Why Old Folks Win

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by larry10s, Apr 30, 2009.

  1. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    this is the opposite of another thread. i am 56 playing 7 years. there are several men 65-75 that i cant beat in singles!!!:confused: and more of them in doubles. most of them have played tennis longer than i am alive!!!!!!!!!! and started as kids. the consistency and experience is hard to beat. i jokingly tell them that i am like a junior in the 14 and unders with 7 years experience and when i am 65- 70 with 15 -20 years of experience and practice under my belt ill be tough to beat:)
     
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  2. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Say you saw a 24 year old man taking the court in singles versus a 45 year old man. Both look fit. They are both rated 3.5. If you were forced to make a bet, upon whom would you wager?

    Does your answer change if the NTRP level is 3.0? 4.0? 4.5?

    Does the answer change if we are talking women instead of men?
     
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  3. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    At 3.5's, I'd bet on the younger...more fit, faster, quicker, can last longer.
    At 4.0's almost even, but the edge goes to older, smarter, more experience, even both rated at 4.0's. Example..I'm maybe 4.0. Have PLAYED against some top 50 PROS, top Div1 college singles players, and the top A players in NorCal. Hardly any younger 4.0, especially younger than mid 20's, have the experience and years of match play under his belt.
    At 4.5, bet on the older.
    Above, the younger can be better, but not against FORMER 6.0 or top Pros who retired or don't play events currently.
     
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  4. goober

    goober Legend

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    Assuming computer rated players with therefore at least 1 year of USTA league play:


    3.0, 3.5- 45 year old
    4.0- harder to call but would favor 24 year old
    4.5 - 24 year old.

    For women I would favor the younger player at 4.0-4.5 since they tend to have more basline oriented games in singles with longer rallies. The younger player could outlast and outrun the older one. At 3.0-3.5 the younger player will probably make too many mistakes and will be too inconsistent.
     
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  5. max

    max Hall of Fame

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    The obvious thing to add here is that an older player beats the high school boy who wants to belt the hell out of every ball. . . smacking stuff into the net, into the fence, well out of the lines, just because it feels good and feels aggressive. I expect to beat the high school age guys I play because it's like they have no coach inside their head.
     
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  6. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Funny, I thought just the opposite.
    Older is usually SMARTER in match play, and don't need to compete physically with the younger players. They can slice short angles, drop shot, use a mix of moon and flat balls mixed with side and slice. Younger would mostly like to pound with topspin, making for easy victim to the various mixed up shots.
    I've played complete matches NOT using a forehand groundie at all, choosing to just slice and sidespin to confound the opponent. Would any 25 year old employ that silly strategy? Then when they approach either side, I KNOW I'm going to lob over their backhand with the already established correct grip, just to move them around for fun. Would any 25 year old even think to do that?
    And mostly, I like to lose a few points just to establish I can make then run hard to fetch a retrieval, so my next shot doesn't have to be nearly as good as my opponent's.... is that strategy for a younger player?
    And spotting a weakness, I stay AWAY from it until an important point comes up, choosing to lose a few games, but having the ace in the hole. Is dat strategy for a younger player?
     
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  7. goober

    goober Legend

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    You should go watch some USTA league play sometime. Almost all teams I have seen have their #1 and #2 singles slots at the 4.5 level filled with younger guys in the 20s and 30s. Many of these are ex college players. Occasionally you see some 40 year olds. You almost never see 50-60 year olds fill those positions. I would be very surprised if it were different in Norcal.
     
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  8. Jim A

    Jim A Professional

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    I see a pretty big difference between singles and doubles players at the 4.0/4.5 level

    there are some great doubles players with a very ugly singles game,
     
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  9. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    I have played in 4.0 and 4.5 (I'm currently 55 y.o.) leagues at 1 or 2 singles and you are correct in that most teams put "kids" out there. I disagree that a younger player rated the same as me has an advantage in a league match. Quite the opposite, in fact. When they have the advantage is Sectionals weekend where you have to play two matches a day for three days. No way can I keep my levels up after a ninety minute rest period!
     
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  10. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I'm going to make the assumption that the 24 year old is computer-rated. I would bet on the 45 year old man to win the match in most cases.

    My opinion is that the older player will more likely win at the lower levels, but as the levels increase, the younger player has the edge because the older players start losing a step and I would think at 4.5, 5.0 that would start making a big difference.

    As for women, the difference I see is that the younger players would have the edge at a lower level. Of the 50+ aged women I've seen, their movement is pretty bad, so much that I think it would effect them even at 3.0-3.5, whereas I've seen some quick men at that age whose experience and smart play would be enough to overcome their lost step.

    So in most cases I'd give the edge to younger women, but older men (in the 3.0-4.0 ranges) and to the younger for both at the higher end (4.5+).
     
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  11. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    so you are saying younger women with older men is a great mixed doubles?
     
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  12. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Yup... :):)
    Me 60 with the 28 year old girlfriend....
    But maybe first, I gotta teach her how to play tennis... :confused::cry:
     
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  13. spot

    spot Hall of Fame

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    Older players should be smarter and more consistent- they should be able to more effectively exploit an opponents weakness at lower lines. As you move up and the consistency of both players increases the difference in fitness should give the younger player a significant advantage.
     
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  14. goober

    goober Legend

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    We are talking in generalities here. Of course there are always exceptions and I know a few 50+ 4.5 that can hang in singles. I think a better way to ask the question if you took 100 random computer rated 4.5 players that are 50-60 years old and another 100 4.5C 20-30 year olds and had them play each other in singles which group would win?
     
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  15. rasajadad

    rasajadad Hall of Fame

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    I'd bet on the old guys in a one match event. My opinion is that younger players can kick my can the 2nd match of the day. No way is an 18 year old 4.5 going to beat me the first match on a Saturday morning. (Unless I had to mow the lawn the night before! ;-) )
     
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  16. goober

    goober Legend

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    18 year old no. 30 year old ex D2 college player who has been playing since juniors I am not so sure 8)
     
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  17. Tennisman912

    Tennisman912 Semi-Pro

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    I would have to agree with goober here. As the level of tennis rises, and as suggested they are both computer rated the same, generally speaking, the younger player is going to win the majority of time. Fitness means a whole lot more to everyone at 4.5 or above as presumably they all have relatively good strokes. A half step late or more consistently hurts that 4.5 guy much more than the 3.0 or 3.5 player.

    Good tennis

    TM
     
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  18. volleyman

    volleyman Semi-Pro

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    Around here, since everything is in the *******ized 2 set + 10 point tiebreak format, fitness doesn't play as big a role. It can still be a deciding factor, but it's nowhere near as important as it is when you play a full 3rd set.

    I've given up trying to handicap matches by age. Older players have come up with ways to compensate for their loss of footspeed. It's rare to see a good older player try to bang with a young guy. You'll see them take control of the point with placement, and try to run the younger guy to death. Or they'll slice everything all game long and make the young guy play the entire match from around their ankles.

    Or they'll just suck the pace out of the ball. Or save energy by using the young guy's pace against him. And sweet baby jeebus, the lobs. Rainbows regularly bouncing off the baseline.

    So, at least at the 4.0-4.5 level around the Triangle area of NC, I don't handicap by age, only by what I see on the court.
     
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  19. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    This.

    Same goes for why you see younger players in the singles spots. The older guys don't want to go hard on their bodies, or simply prefer doubles.
     
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  20. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    Oh don't be silly. I can dominate a good number of FAR fitter players who play at my skill level... but who don't think much on the court. Fitness is important to a point. Assuming reasonable fitness for one's age, older players tend to be more experienced and smarter players. This is far, far more important than a slight edge in fitness.

    At the 5.5 and higher level it might start making more of a difference... But then, maybe not. I bet some of the old pro's could CRUSH younger big time pro's, but it would take a lot out of them (as in: they could do a match or two when fresh, but playing through a tournament would be tough).

    Fitness is an important part of the game, but I think people are overestimating its importance here. Particularly when discussing individuals in the same NTRP...
     
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  21. Tennisman912

    Tennisman912 Semi-Pro

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    Why silly me as I thought that if you are playing someone who doesn't think on the court that fitness (or any thing else for that matter) won't matter was obvious. But when two players are equally smart about approaching the game, the fitter player will win more often than not. Isn't that how pushers win? They count on keeping the ball in play until your fitness level causes you to become reckless/impatient and then it is game over, at most levels. Granted, we are talking generalities overall.

    Silly me. What was I thinking? Of course you may change your mind about fitness not being a major concern when you are 10 or 20 years older and if not, more power to you.

    TM
     
    Last edited: Apr 30, 2009
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  22. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Your observation is correct but I disagree with your conclusion. In many areas 4.5 is the most sandbagged of all the levels because there is no 5.0 locally.

    IMO most 4.5 elderly players are folks who were higher than 4.5 but have been ranked down since their heyday due to physical limitations, whereas most ex-college 4.5's are really low 5.0's who don't have access to 5.0 play so they play 4.5 and naturally will beat their true 4.5 competition regardless of age.
     
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  23. goober

    goober Legend

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    Sandbagged or not, these guys have computer ratings and they are the present reality of USTA tennis. To borrow a sports cliche- "It is what it is"
     
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  24. vagabondma

    vagabondma New User

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    I've seen two things happen with seniors players. In singles at the higher levels, they tend to rely heavily on shot placement and will try to take control of a point as quickly as possible. Even if the younger player has more stamina, if he/she cannot take control of the points, they will get worn down and make more mistakes. In doubles, this applies to, although I've seen many of them with great hands at the net who can take any shot blasted at them and drop it right at the net. There is one 4.0 who is 74 and wins the majority of his matches- not just in seniors but in the regular adult leagues.
     
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