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millardus 04-26-2013 05:26 AM

Who has taken an extended work-break to focus on tennis?
A long post, sorry! Read if you want to hurt your brain! :twisted:

I'm mulling over this sort of thing myself, but I'm only think 6 months.

Slow Friday afternoon, got me musing. So, who on here has taken an extended break from work to commit some proper time to their tennis (I think I could swing it at work)?

I know of one guy on here that took a 18-24 month sabbatical, from a position of being a strong player already. What can realistically be achieved in a 6 MONTH period I wonder, with the following setup:

- 34 years old, (ok, 3 weeks from 35!), 5 ft 9.775, married, no children for 2-3 years. Wife who would also like to do the same, for herself.
- Finances ok for that time
- Must be at a fighting tennis weight before starting, but not necessarily singles tennis fit (i.e. gym and drills would form part of tennis 6 months)
- I have volleycam, Lobster ball machine, various court strings and cones and things already.
- I have a tennis club membership, though *might* also consider joining an indoor club for 6 months to ensure playing (Acrylic and carpet courts)
- currently a middling 4.0 (Play higher ability dubs than singles though), played a lot from 11-15 yr old, then stopped for 12/13 years completely, treaded water from 28-33. 33-34 got more focussed.
- 2 hrs coaching per week with a friend, 2 separate hours however. Friend is LTA 3.1, 26 years old fairly active player, and a performance coach.

So, assuming the necessary dedication, and let's say 30 hrs per week of tennis training (Court time and physical training), what do we think is achievable over 6 months?

Your answers and\or recommendations can range from:

- Stupid open question
- A ratings bump answer
- A more practical, *you will get more control over your shots and gain confidence* type answers
- Why bother, save your money!
- Whatever answer you fancy giving!

This is a Friday afternoon time-filler as well as a reasonably serious first pass at working out if this is worth it.

My own personal motivation will be the ultimate decider, but I'm interested in people's success stories or insight.

charliefedererer 04-26-2013 06:15 AM

Are you and your wife really on the same page about not having children?

What will being a better tennis player do for you?

Will you really be more happy at 4.5 than at 4.0?

How quickly after returning to work will your tennis prowess fall off?

Are you getting up now to work out before you go to work so you can concentrate on your tennis in the evening?

Could you benefit more from your ball machine by working more on your weakest ground stroke and volleying - running to return balls hit far away from your initial position?

Could you currently fit in several 20 minute sessions practicing your serve each week?

At 34, and allowing your body to recover from the training an tennis, how many more hours could you really train and play by taking time off, and not start to break down?

Avles 04-26-2013 06:52 AM

If your finances and career make it feasible, your wife is on board and this is what you really want, why not? It sounds like a great time, and I'm sure your game (and your fitness) would improve dramatically if you stuck with your plan.

A couple random bits of advice...

Take a sec to consider what else you could do with that time and money. e.g. travel, learn a language, develop some other new skill to carry with you for the rest of your life. Not saying that tennis isn't a worthy goal (I think it is!) but there could be an opportunity cost issue here.

Depends on your personality, but if your goal is to really make progress (and not just have a fun 6 months) it'll probably be good to build as much structure into your daily activities as possible. From what I've heard, sabbaticals are very easily squandered.

Also, overtraining/getting injured would be a potential pitfall so I think you'd want to pay pretty close attention to that.

If you do go for it, I hope we'll get to see some before and after videos!

maggmaster 04-26-2013 06:57 AM

I work a full time job and still manage to get 20 hours on the court and 5 in the gym every week. I wish I could do what you are proposing, that would be amazing. I would imagine that you could get to 4.5 if you really applied yourself and did everything right. Barring injuries of course.

millardus 04-26-2013 07:01 AM

On the kids front, the lady is the one more keen to wait for kids, she's a few years younger than me. Fine with me, our friends just had their first child at 41 so we've got precedent!

I like the questioning abt the motivation, nice one!

Would I be happier at 4.5...... I'm sure I would tennis-wise, but the *cost* would have a bearing on that. Playing at a consistent 4.5 but losing 6 months of income and security.... I don't know.

If I thought I could get close to 5.0, then perhaps it would feel more worthwhile, but I'm a realist, I understand the magnitude of jumping from a 6.1/6.2 to 4.1\4.2 in 6 months, it's just not possible!

In saying that, you'd certainly achieve a great deal with 6 months of dedicated tennis. Perfect your technique, develop a strong work and training perhaps it has fringe benefits beyond just the tennis improvement.

In saying that, perhaps weekly focussed micro sessions would have the same overall *tennis* impact, just over a longer period. And the dedication needed to workout in the mornings, and be on court most evenings..... that in itself takes motivation.

But flipping back again, those 6 months would theoretically help you achieve a fitness level the greatest of your life in a relatively short time window, an achievement in it's own right.

There's the vanity factor, we cant underestimate that ;-)

millardus 04-26-2013 07:17 AM

Well, no matter whether I do this as a 6 month thing or extended period while working, if I go ahead with it I will blog via wordpress for sure.


If you do go for it, I hope we'll get to see some before and after videos!
A starting point would be similar to this link below, though my forehand has improved a bit since this march vid.... the video was revealing abt the forehand fallibility.

As you can see, I need more commitment on the backhand side too.....there are a host of areas to improve.

If I am honest with myself, I can be equally dedicated by strongly structuring my working life to accommodate getting 15hrs of quality tennis training per week, though I worry about those tough weeks at work where projects go to s**t. That can be mentally draining.

Govnor 04-26-2013 07:24 AM

I wouldn't do it. There are more important things in life. Stick to enjoying tennis for what it is - A hobby.

BTW I love your serves down the T in that vid. More like 5.0 than 4.0.

samarai 04-26-2013 07:35 AM

With any activity, if you are not playing for money, then u are playing for fun.

millardus 04-26-2013 07:49 AM


I love your serves down the T in that vid. More like 5.0 than 4.0.
It is by far my strongest shot, by far! Even as a young teen I took to it, whereas footwork has always been my Achilles heel. If I want to progress, that is a huge focus area... thankfully not soo necessary for the serve ;-). (Edit here: in case this sounded arrogant, I meant that FOOTWORK isn't so necessary for the serve, as opposed to *my serve is so good it doesn't need attention* haha!)

It's the reason I'm a better doubles player than singles. Whereas my serve technique is by no means flawless (I drop the left arm very early, toss is not very high), the club coaches do seem to believe I have the best racquet head skill (aside from our premo 3.1 player) when serving, because I can hit slice, top, flat and pretty much place it where I like.

So, whereas the serve can hack it at quite a high level, the backhand, net game and movement are not even close to that sort of level, particularly in singles. In doubles it's not soo bad, I tend to play big points quite well even when returning...I can hack it back if I need to!

There's already an interesting response similarity building up..... most people would not do it I'm gathering....... so I wonder what motivates people to do so..... maybe they are already at a very high level and so can see that increments beyond that are extremely challenging and so very rewarding if reached.

allenkau 04-26-2013 09:34 AM

If you can squeeze in 3 hrs a day for Tennis... that should be enough to get "GOOD"...

The full time academy kids don't spend 8 hrs a day on the courts...

bhupaes 04-26-2013 11:45 AM

A friend of mine in his mid thirties who hits with me once or twice a week has kinda dedicated his time to tennis (but not to the exclusion of work). He is very athletic and fast, and has a decent record in 4.5 USTA singles. He definitely has 5.0 potential - but I think he has to move even faster on the court to get there... I hope he makes it, but I won't be surprised if it's not possible.

Personally, I've had to take breaks from tennis to deal with work and life... which is okay since the best I could hope to achieve by dedicating my life to tennis would be the dubious distinction of being the best tennis player in my cemetery, and that too is by no means certain... :(

So all I would say to the OP is to make a balanced decision, and be happy!

Venetian 04-26-2013 12:14 PM

Step 1: Continue working for those six months.
Step 2: Use the money to buy a new car.

Midlife crisis solved!

BMC9670 04-26-2013 01:00 PM

I don't know what you do for a living, but a 6 month gap in work history may come back to haunt you with future employment prospects. Seems like a fairly frivolous risk to me.

sureshs 04-26-2013 01:32 PM


Originally Posted by Venetian (Post 7369783)
Step 1: Continue working for those six months.
Step 2: Use the money to buy a new car.

Midlife crisis solved!

Porche/BMW convertible/Mini Cooper/Fiat are the preferred choices

LeeD 04-26-2013 02:00 PM

Why not work part time.
I worked part time my entire 4 years of trying to get good at tennis, usually twice a week, pretty much all day, but enough time off to hit the wall for 45 minutes after work.
Playing full days, 5 days a week, then partial hitting days is plenty for anyone.
Rode my bike 13 odd miles to work in hilly SanFrancisco, a really bad old 3 speed that weighed over 35 lbs., for exersise.

sureshs 04-26-2013 02:04 PM


Originally Posted by LeeD (Post 7370001)
Why not work part time.
I worked part time my entire 4 years of trying to get good at tennis,

He has a family, you realize that?

LeeD 04-26-2013 02:13 PM

Put wifey and the kids to work.
If you make a decision that clashes with your later desires, either live with it or change the situation.
Instead of a dilema, think of it as an opportunity.

Venetian 04-26-2013 02:38 PM

What's to gain from this OP? I could understand if you were, say, a former junior circuit standout that was now 21 years old and single and decided to take a shot at getting a few ATP points just for the experience, or to honestly see how far you could go. But you're a 34 year old married rec player with a job. Why would you sacrifice your job and a portion of your savings to maybe possibly become a slightly better recreational player? Would you take 6 months off of work to try to get better at Words With Friends? This is all risk with no meaningful reward. It confuses me even more because you have no kids and should have plenty of free time to devote to tennis already.

arche3 04-26-2013 02:46 PM

stupid idea. just sayin. get a grip. it is rec tennis.

BMC9670 04-26-2013 02:47 PM

Why not just take a 2 week vacation and go to a high end tennis camp? Probably do some good, be fun, and not jeopardize your future.

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