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Old 04-23-2013, 03:02 AM   #18
Join Date: Mar 2013
Posts: 143

Originally Posted by PrestigeDave45 View Post
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.
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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