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-   -   Anyone at 4.0+ without high school or college experience? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=109152)

raiden031 12-13-2006 11:08 AM

Anyone at 4.0+ without high school or college experience?
 
It seems like the the majority of young posters are playing high school tennis and that a lot of the elderly posters played college tennis a number of years back. Is there anyone that made it to the 4.0+ levels without either high school or college tennis background? If so, describe your progression through the levels and how much did you have to practice, since you were probably not part of organized tennis with daily practice sessions?

atatu 12-13-2006 11:22 AM

I'm 4.5 (just appealed from 5.0, hooray) and I did not play HS tennis or college tennis. I did play some tennis in HS, but we didn't really have a team at my school, because I was overseas. Anyway, right after college I was living in D.C. and my girlfirend was on the west coast, so I played tennis 5 times a week and got pretty good in three years and started playing leagues, etc. My mental game was still pretty weak. Then I went to law school when I was about 27 and pretty much quit tennis for three years. When I started playing again in my 30's my mental game improved a lot (studying for the bar helped) and I took some lessons to improve my forehand. I've been playing at the 4.5/5.0 level on and off and I'm now 44 years old.

Geezer Guy 12-13-2006 11:35 AM

Well, first of all - can you use another word besides "elderly"?

Anyway, I played "at" tennis a little as a kid, but never had any formal lessons. I'd say I never got past the 2.5 level. This was back in the wooden racquet days. (Really!)

At 40 I took up the sport seriously. The first thing I did was join a club and take a series of "Intro to Tennis" group lessons for beginners. I've stayed a member of that club ever since. I've taken lots and lots of group lessons, drills, some private lessons, and spent (in total) a month at Newk's and several other weeks at several other tennis resorts and camps.

I've always played in Singles and Doubles leagues at the club. After several years I joined the USTA. I was originally rated a 3.5, got my butt kicked badly for 2 years and was bumped down to 3.0. I started a 3.0 USTA team with a bunch of other guys that gut bumped from 3.5 to 3.0 and we went to sectionals. We took 2nd and most of us got bumped back to 3.5.

Since then I've been playing 3.5 USTA leagues and tournaments, with varying degrees of success. I think I was ranked in the top 20 (at 3.5) in our section (which sounds nice, but really isn't that big of a deal) several times.

A couple of weeks ago, near the end of my 51st year, I got bumped up to 4.0. That's my tennis life in a nutshell.

Kaptain Karl 12-13-2006 11:47 AM

GG - I am impressed by your progress. Well done!

- KK

raiden031 12-13-2006 11:51 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Geezer Guy (Post 1115239)
Well, first of all - can you use another word besides "elderly"?

This coming from a guy with the word 'geezer' in his username. LOL

eunjam 12-13-2006 12:07 PM

damn....i guess i need to go to law school to improve my mental game.

he he.

nice job atatu getting to the level you are.

Geezer Guy 12-13-2006 01:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by raiden031 (Post 1115268)
This coming from a guy with the word 'geezer' in his username. LOL

:) :o :D good point!

-----------------

KK - Thanks!

bad_call 12-13-2006 01:28 PM

never played tennis before but then picked it up while attending college. started playing seriously after college and tried a few open comps with so so results. found some good practice partners and improved. entered more open comps and did better. occasionally practiced and hit with the college players for a while. found another good practice partner and moved up to about a 4.5 or so. stopped playing for a good many years and now starting back.

kinda boring from a tennis standpoint...

goober 12-13-2006 03:29 PM

One guy I play with started tennis at age 39. He has been just bumped to 4.5 computer NTRP rating after 3 years of play. He is athletic and plays 6 days a week and is a real student of the game. He has beaten tennis teaching pros his same age in age group 40 tournaments.

freelythinking 12-13-2006 03:46 PM

Well, the story which I'm about to tell is not about me. It is about one of my tennis friend. He picked up a tennis racket for the first time when he was 18. He was raised in a pious family so he didn't have to go to regular school and all he did was play tennis and go to mosque. He once told me he would hit against a wall for hours. He recorded every singles tennis matches on tennis channels and watch them and re-watch them over and over again. He was basically in love with tennis. Now he is 25 and rated(computer) at 4.0, however he has beaten every single 4.0's he played with ease. Without a doubt I would rate him weak 5.0 or super strong 4.5. I also think that if he had started playing tennis at earlier age and taken professional lessons, he would have been at much higher level than where he is.

goober 12-13-2006 03:59 PM

BTW I am not sure playing high school tennis confers any degree of competence. I have played multiple current and former high school players. For the most part the average level of play from what I have seen for high school is is pretty low. Most 4.0-4.5 club players would beat most average high school players easily.

Hoss 12-14-2006 06:16 AM

I think it's difficult to make a generalization like that Goober. It would really depend on where you went to high school. I would think that playing on a high school team in a large metropolitan area would naturally require competence, given the competition readily available. This especially given that most high school varsity teams consist of just 6 players of each gender (at least when I played high school ball).


Regards,

Hoss.

Caswell 12-14-2006 07:03 AM

There's a great player in my area that's rated at 4.0 (USTA computer rating) that didn't start until he was in his mid-twenties. Excellent mobility, not-so-pretty strokes, but amazing consistency and shot placement.

I ended up playing him in the semi's of a recent tournament and got pasted. He made two unforced errors the entire match - when they're that few, you can count them easily.

I played played a lot growing up in Florida - academy ladders, high school team, USTA tournaments, and team tennis. Now in my late twenties, I'm only competitive up into th 3.5 ranks. I've got "pretty" strokes, but they require a ton of footwork to pull off. It almost feels like a liability now - I can play with the 4.0's on our USTA teams, but once the rally gets long my feet simply give out and it's over. Point after point like that.

I'd actually love to have the simple strokes most of the guys who started as adults have.

sdslyout 12-14-2006 07:20 AM

I'm 44 and never played or gave tennis a second thought . In high school and for 10 years after i was into racquet ball and went to "b" level . It's been 1 year and 2 months now for tennis, no clubs no formal lessons . I've got a buddy who could have gone pro that turned into my trainer running drills ,mental game ,gear. At my local courts i've met many people and play / hit , sometimes 3 times aday . I call my local courts the " pond" and i'm the new little fish in a pond full of big fish who have been playing tennis 20 years + . They have a hard time believing i'm only 1 year playing and as a result they ask me to play singles and doubles , weekly , sometimes i get handed my *** and other times i do the *** handing. They all say i play at 4.0-4.5 level , or college level . In my driveway i build a backboard to hit against and i jump rope at home . gear wise i started with a wilson ncode N6 and have moved to a head flexpoint fire and wilson ncode Ntour's . One of the guys i play is a sales rep. for wilson and he has given me 3 wilson ncode Ntours(brand new) pretty cool . He says that way nothing gear wise will hold me back. Above all i've learned that foot work will make you or break you and i have zero ego. I hit hard and play even harder, on the court(s) it's war !! and also loosing is a large part of winning plus playing tennis is fun. There you have it in a nut shell

raiden031 12-14-2006 08:12 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goober (Post 1115836)
BTW I am not sure playing high school tennis confers any degree of competence. I have played multiple current and former high school players. For the most part the average level of play from what I have seen for high school is is pretty low. Most 4.0-4.5 club players would beat most average high school players easily.

Well given that a high school player has the opportunity to receive coaching for almost no fee, and the opportunity to practice 5 days a week for 3 months out of the year, I'd say they have a bit of an advantage over someone who starts out of high school.

mctennis 12-14-2006 08:24 AM

I am a 4.5 player and never played tennis until I was 27. I never had anyone I knew that played or that was interested in playing. I took a few basic tennis courses at the local community college. I enjoyed playing and have been a "student of the game" as it were since then. I do wish I had learned a lot sooner than I did. I would have liked to have played in HS and maybe gone on to play college tennis. When I was in HS there were a few guys on the team and it was nobody I actually was friends with or actually knew.

Geezer Guy 12-14-2006 08:26 AM

Some HS players don't get any "coaching" from the coach. Any instruction they get is solely up to them to arrange for privately. The coach just determines who the best players are and creates the line-up.

There's certainly an advantage to learning young though. The younger the better (within reason).

raiden031 12-14-2006 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Geezer Guy (Post 1116956)
Some HS players don't get any "coaching" from the coach. Any instruction they get is solely up to them to arrange for privately. The coach just determines who the best players are and creates the line-up.

There's certainly an advantage to learning young though. The younger the better (within reason).

What kind of joke of a coach is there only to create the line-up? That definitely is not the case with other high school sports.

python 12-14-2006 09:03 AM

Well, I played high school tennis and am a weak 4.0, but I don't think I got there because of my hs experience. My coach was a glorified baby sitter. He didn't really care about the team - all he did in practice was divide up the players on each court to play practice matches while he hit with the #1 singles boy. Coach was a good player in his own right (probably a solid 4.5), but he lacked the desire to help others become better. Eventually he became the art teacher after the principal got too many complaints about his "coaching" style.

goober 12-14-2006 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hoss (Post 1116801)
I think it's difficult to make a generalization like that Goober. It would really depend on where you went to high school. I would think that playing on a high school team in a large metropolitan area would naturally require competence, given the competition readily available. This especially given that most high school varsity teams consist of just 6 players of each gender (at least when I played high school ball).


Regards,

Hoss.


I agree that it depends on the school that is why I said average high schooler. I went to a high school with a very high level of play. Most of the kids grew up playing tennis and many went onto college to play. I just assumed that was the level of play in high school, but now that I have been playing as an adult against many high school players current and former, I would say my high school was unusual. I would say that the percentage of high school players nationally that play at the 4.5-5.0 level is probably pretty small.


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