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-   -   46 yr old benefit from coaching? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=461329)

PrestigeDave45 04-21-2013 01:26 PM

46 yr old benefit from coaching?
 
Hello,
Im a 46 year old returning tennis player. Played a lot (lot lot) as a junior. Walked away from the game at 16 in favour of another sport and various altruisms. Returned to the game for a short period aged 26 and pretty quickly my strokes came back to a rasonable level. Unfortunately I didnt keep it up. My return lasted less than a year.
Now I'm 46 and have been playing regularly for the last year and a half. My body is in good condition though not quite fully fit. At least this is what I think but then i reconsider and ask myself how fit should a 46 year old be? I seem to have no template to guage myself against apart from other club players who seem to me at least to be fitter.
i attend the gym or play tennis possibly 3 times a week. One or the other.
My real question is this. Since Ive returned to the game almost 16 to 18 months ago, my game goes from bad to indifferent to really good. The really good days keep me coming back for more, a love of the game also helps.
I frame the ball on my forehand more than i would wish. I play with a Head Mp prestige, a racket I played with as a junior thanks to semi sponsorship.
I wonder am I asking too much of myself now to play with such a scalpel.
i wonder has my tennis hubris surpassed my reality.
At the moment Im considering taking lessons from the club pro. The frustrations involved in playing good one day and brutal the next have proved too much for me so I'm hopeing some coaching might help. I can get a 10 lesson deal and take it from there. A friend of mine says im wasting my time and that in time it will come back and that my errors are down to slight fixs which in time he feels i will correct myself. This may be true but i would hope the coach will speed up that process.
I should also say I was involved in a motorcycle accident a few years ago in which I injured my back. When i returned to the game 18 months ago it was painful but walking mild jogging and a good deal of tennis and outdoor activities have pushed me on well. So despite a bad tennis game i still feel I have made excellent progress.
However i still harbour notions of competing at a high level. How feasible is this? My body is good to go now. Would a session of coaching help? 10 lessons.
Anyone else out there in the same position?
Thank you

rkelley 04-21-2013 02:11 PM

If the pro is a good teacher and is willing to evaluate your game and strokes and not just fit you into his/her predetermined form, then definitely take some lessons. That outside perspective can really help you along. Taking some video of yourself is also really helpful.

More generally go for it. 46 is not too old to still play at a high level and improve. Like you I took a break after my 20's, but it sounds like you were quite a bit better than me. I didn't play much in my 30's to mid 40's. I stared playing again a few years ago. I'm 50 now and I'm hitting better then I ever have. I took a mini-set off a high school varsity player a couple of weeks ago, and I've taken games off of 18 open and 5.0 players. No way I could have done that with the game I had in my 20s. And I'm still trying to improve.

sureshs 04-21-2013 04:47 PM

If you were a solid junior player, you are good to go. Most club pros teach adults who never played in school or college. You may already be beyond that level.

Tennis Channel is a great resource to watch and have the pro techniques sink in subliminally.

goran_ace 04-21-2013 06:24 PM

Hmm, if you've only been playing for a month or two I'd say don't worry about it, it'll come back to you like riding a bike, but you've been back for a year and a half and can't put together a consistent level of tennis.

You have to be able to figure out what you're doing wrong. Are you not playing often enough, is it a physical fitness issue, or is a technical issue? If you're playing at least once a week and say you are in decent shape then it may be a technical issue and it'll help to work with a coach. If you're 46 and quit playing the first time at 16, that places the end of your junior tennis days in 1983 (they had Head Prestiges back then?) so you probably have classic strokes and might benefit from learning more modern strokes and tactics if you plan on competing.

greystar403 04-22-2013 06:40 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goran_ace (Post 7360214)
Hmm, if you've only been playing for a month or two I'd say don't worry about it, it'll come back to you like riding a bike, but you've been back for a year and a half and can't put together a consistent level of tennis.

You have to be able to figure out what you're doing wrong. Are you not playing often enough, is it a physical fitness issue, or is a technical issue? If you're playing at least once a week and say you are in decent shape then it may be a technical issue and it'll help to work with a coach. If you're 46 and quit playing the first time at 16, that places the end of your junior tennis days in 1983 (they had Head Prestiges back then?) so you probably have classic strokes and might benefit from learning more modern strokes and tactics if you plan on competing.

I agree. The game has changed DRAMATICALLY over the past several decades.

I was watching my coach teach an older gentleman things that were new to him. I think it was a continental grip on a serve... After a few mishits, he complained to my coach that he wasn't getting the results and continued to pancake his serve. He's paying for the lesson so my coach really couldn't say much.

To wrap this story up, the gentleman was very close minded and did not want changes in his game because he wasn't seeing results. (Plus he dictates whether my coach gets a lesson fee or not)

I would take the lesson. Another set of eyes is good to have, especially experienced ones. Remember to be open minded though. Although changes don't come instantly, it might be for the best. If you feel it is something weird, ask him politely to explain in detail why he is having you change something.

PrestigeDave45 04-22-2013 07:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goran_ace (Post 7360214)
Hmm, if you've only been playing for a month or two I'd say don't worry about it, it'll come back to you like riding a bike, but you've been back for a year and a half and can't put together a consistent level of tennis.

You have to be able to figure out what you're doing wrong. Are you not playing often enough, is it a physical fitness issue, or is a technical issue? If you're playing at least once a week and say you are in decent shape then it may be a technical issue and it'll help to work with a coach. If you're 46 and quit playing the first time at 16, that places the end of your junior tennis days in 1983 (they had Head Prestiges back then?) so you probably have classic strokes and might benefit from learning more modern strokes and tactics if you plan on competing.

Thank you, yes I believe it was 82 or 83 when my junior tennis days finished up. I believe my racket of choice at the time was the head professional and the current prestiges are a pronation of that range if I am correct. Now thats open to correction!
My style would be of the classic variety. Lots of coaching etc. Used Dunlop maxplys to aged 14 or so then the Heads. I definately play at least twice a week and gym it also(one or other). Bodys in good shape but fitness could be questionable. Had some serious injuries a few years ago and basically my body whilst it looks fit is not up to competetive tennis, not yet anyway. The amount of balls I shank drives me insane at times, most always on the forehand side, my forehand return of serve is especially bad.
Im hopeing the coach can figure out what im doing wrong.
The game has evolved so much, the forehand follow throughs etc. My strokes would be good(say from a knock up perspective) but once the game starts its all over. But hey i won the knock up!!

jrs 04-22-2013 07:56 AM

I would recommend an older coach - a coach who knew the old technique and have also incorporated the modern game. He/She will be able to help you bring your game to a good level - without having to dismantle your game.

I remember, taking a lesson with a very young pro - very good player. But he was only familiar with modern game and wanted me to learn that from scratch and practice as if I am going to Wimbledon.

Then an older coach - who basically fixed some smaller issues added grip change - small changes - that helped me transition to the modern game. But nothing too dramatic and too quick.

goran_ace 04-22-2013 08:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrestigeDave45 (Post 7361081)
Thank you, yes I believe it was 82 or 83 when my junior tennis days finished up. I believe my racket of choice at the time was the head professional and the current prestiges are a pronation of that range if I am correct. Now thats open to correction!

Head TX professional (white, red/black graphics, CAP grommets)? Nice! You might want to post pics in the classic racket section. Would be great trade bait if you want to pick up a few frames of something a little more user friendly.

TennisCJC 04-22-2013 11:01 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrestigeDave45 (Post 7359647)
Hello,
However i still harbour notions of competing at a high level. How feasible is this? My body is good to go now. Would a session of coaching help? 10 lessons.
Thank you

We had a team coach who introduced his wife to tennis. I believe she was in her 30s when she started playing. She reach top 10 in international rankings in over 50s. So, you can play at a high level even if starting as an adult as long as you play against your age group, but you aren't going to win Wimbledon.

TennisCJC 04-22-2013 11:02 AM

Yea, I would think take 4 to 6 weekly lessons and then practice 3-4 months. Then, go back for 4 to 6 weekly lessons and practice 3-4 months. Repeat until you are a champ or tennis pro retires from all the lesson fees you have paid him/her.

PrestigeDave45 04-22-2013 11:43 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by TennisCJC (Post 7361559)
We had a team coach who introduced his wife to tennis. I believe she was in her 30s when she started playing. She reach top 10 in international rankings in over 50s. So, you can play at a high level even if starting as an adult as long as you play against your age group, but you aren't going to win Wimbledon.

Well thats that then!!!

GrandSlam45 04-22-2013 02:33 PM

Dave, I'm the same age as you and I'm playing the best tennis I've ever played in my life. If your body is good to go, then coaching and tons of practice will get you back on track. I believe it's never too late to improve as long you stay strong and healthy.

Also try demoing some new racquets and string combos. For me, finding the right racquet made a huge difference.

LeeD 04-22-2013 02:38 PM

Any age can benefit from coaching, clinics, or privates.
Just both parties need to be assimulated into a common goal and method, be compatible, be supporting, work together, like a S/O team, or it will fall apart.
Can't have a tough coach with a free spirit.
Or a lackadaiscal coach with a structured scientist.

Tonyr1967 04-22-2013 11:17 PM

Dave - my story is almost identical to yours.

I returned to the game at 44. Now at 46 I'm playing reasonably well. I normally play younger/fitter players and against them I win far more than I lose. Against players my own age, I do very well and when I play my junior day peers (who didn't have such a long break) I can compete (still lose) but am getting closer all the time.

I don't think you ever totally lose 'it' - you just have to find 'it' again and a decent coach is a good way to start.

stringertom 04-23-2013 12:59 AM

If you still have your basic fundamentals from your junior and 20's era, I'd suggest finding good hitting partners over jumping into competitive match situations. Once you shake off the rust from your hiatus, then work with a coach who has an eye for strategies to take advantages of your strengths and hide any weaknesses. Only then should you dive in to changing the stuff that isn't working. You'll have a lot of positive momentum by then, which makes attacking problems a more positive process.

PrestigeDave45 04-23-2013 01:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by stringertom (Post 7362705)
If you still have your basic fundamentals from your junior and 20's era, I'd suggest finding good hitting partners over jumping into competitive match situations. Once you shake off the rust from your hiatus, then work with a coach who has an eye for strategies to take advantages of your strengths and hide any weaknesses. Only then should you dive in to changing the stuff that isn't working. You'll have a lot of positive momentum by then, which makes attacking problems a more positive process.

Actually I hadnt event thought of strategies or such tennis academia.
I very much like the idea of finding good hitting partners. However I find for some unknown reaon they love to play matchs even if its just a knock up.
I see the competetive streak in all the players I play. Actually It drives me insane, most especially when i see them playing to my weaknesses. People love to win even if its against some returning player. Ultimately I notice with the club that whilst many keep an eye on my progress very few are actually up to help me along. This i put down to the competetive nature of the human beast and bear no personal grudges. Thats tennis! And also I'm very much aware that me improving my tennis game is not and quite rightly so high on their agenda.
There is one guy I play in his 50s. Hes a provincial representative here. He hits classically, slice backhand, high toss top spin serve. Lovely player to play against as its easy to groove against such an opponent. I do well against him. Big hitters cause me a lot of trouble. I tend to frame my forehand return of serve more often than is acceptable.
Thank you for your input

PrestigeDave45 04-23-2013 02:13 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Tonyr1967 (Post 7362641)
Dave - my story is almost identical to yours.

I returned to the game at 44. Now at 46 I'm playing reasonably well. I normally play younger/fitter players and against them I win far more than I lose. Against players my own age, I do very well and when I play my junior day peers (who didn't have such a long break) I can compete (still lose) but am getting closer all the time.

I don't think you ever totally lose 'it' - you just have to find 'it' again and a decent coach is a good way to start.

Tony just a question.
Do u feel on your return to the game that your game has consistently improved. Have there been major lulls in progress. Periods of time in which ur game has fallen apart? Followed by periods where you progress nicely?
Im just wondering what to expect.
My coach said to me that the more advanced my game was as a junior the harder it will be for me to reach expectations of myself on court. I have seen other players of my era come back and make much better progress than me but their game whilst good wouldnt have been as technically proficient as mine. (lol thats my theory anyway) Actually its also my coachs theory.
I followed a guy on here who returned to the game after 20 years, he posted videos of his strokes and could see how with each video he improved, got a lot of hope from that.
In truth the first year back I was plagued with niggling injuries, hamstring, shoulder pains, back trouble ut feel my body has toughened up a little now.
Did you have these problems? If so how long did it last? Possibly you lived a very active life before returning to the game and had no problems.
Thanks

Tonyr1967 04-23-2013 03:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by PrestigeDave45 (Post 7362748)
Tony just a question.
Do u feel on your return to the game that your game has consistently improved. Have there been major lulls in progress. Periods of time in which ur game has fallen apart? Followed by periods where you progress nicely?
Im just wondering what to expect.
My coach said to me that the more advanced my game was as a junior the harder it will be for me to reach expectations of myself on court. I have seen other players of my era come back and make much better progress than me but their game whilst good wouldnt have been as technically proficient as mine. (lol thats my theory anyway) Actually its also my coachs theory.
I followed a guy on here who returned to the game after 20 years, he posted videos of his strokes and could see how with each video he improved, got a lot of hope from that.
In truth the first year back I was plagued with niggling injuries, hamstring, shoulder pains, back trouble ut feel my body has toughened up a little now.
Did you have these problems? If so how long did it last? Possibly you lived a very active life before returning to the game and had no problems.
Thanks

Me, I've been start - stop - start, but have kept improving. Initially I got very frustrated - I expected to be able to hit shots that my body was no longer capable of.

My forehand is a great example. As a junior I had a big serve and big forehand; I hit my forehand with body rotation, a western grip, and an open stance - normal now but not in the late 70's. I just took my experience as a high standard table tennis player and applied it to tennis.
When I returned to tennis, my forehand was - OK. Reliable, still a good amount of spin and reasonable pace but it didn't click like it used to.

I hit with an old maxply a few weeks back for fun and it seemed to sharpen my ball striking, then whilst on holiday over easter I played TT for the first time in 30 years. I played the week I returned and suddenly I was hitting with more pace, spin and control. Still not sure what I am doing differently but after 2 years - I got my forehand back.

My serve - one shot that I didn't seem to lose. Although with the modern strings and head sizes it seems to be easier than ever to hit with pace or spin. My kick serves are better now than they were when I was 16.

Physically, I've paid a price. Tore both calve muscles a few times (thank God for neoprene sleeves), developed TE and (re)torn my rotator cuff. My biggest problem is that I suffer from ME/CFS and have been using tennis as rehab. Started playing a single game and after a year was able to play a whole match. Not progressed too much since then, but its made a massive difference to me physically. It also limited the practice time I could put in.

The calf tears were stupid - didn't warm up properly, but the sleeves helped them heal quickly and allowed me to play during the process.

TE - down to Poly strings (which I love). Changes to more flexible racquets and eventually full gut. Finally found a solution that allowed me to play full poly (low tension) and to change my frames to a very stiff (APD '13) - Wilson Shockshield grip with old fashioned power pads.

Shoulder - one game where I really went for every first serve, a couple of poor ball tosses and..tear. Again, I've played whilst it heals (which as extended the healing time) but eventually I found a solution that allowed me the serve at 80% during this time.

My biggest problem has been mental. I expected to play well and to win from the get-go, but initially, I'd look at seemingly 'lesser' players, play them and lose. Some I'd beat comfortably but whenever things got close, I would find myself playing not to lose, my game would fall apart and then I'd lose anyway.

I kept practicing and playing and after a while refound my mental toughness and my ability to concentrate just on the point or even the stroke - the rest seemed to take care of itself. If I lose now, it is simply that the player was better on the day - tactically, physically or both.

In terms of progess, its been relatively slow for me. The only eureka moment was my forehand...and I still don't know what I'm doing differently. I honestly think it is down to 'time served'.
All that said, I don't think your body ever totally forgets - I still find myself ocassionally playing reaction shots that I have no right to pull off; half volley drop shots (ala McEnroe).

I'd suggest that if you stick at it and put the court time in, you will probably find yourself progressing quite quickly - you just need to keep in mind that it may seem very slow to you. You will expect to be able to do lots of things already...but can't at the moment. When suddenly you can do something new, you will dismiss it because you thought you could do it already. Good luck!


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