I Need A Birthday Goal

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
I'm turning 60 in 2021.

: pauses a moment to wonder where all that time went :

I feel like I should pick a tennis-related goal to challenge myself. Trouble is, I can't think of anything. That's where you folks come in.

Here's what I've thought of so far.

1. Try to become a 4.0. I could decide that I want to make 4.0. I've been there before, so there's no reason I can't do it again. It would require prioritizing tennis over everything else, joining multiple teams, playing a lot, practicing a lot, taking instruction. But I play doubles, so I would have to find the right partner(s) who is willing and able to join the journey so we can learn to play effectively as a pair -- that is very hard to find. Besides, that goal is pretty arbitrary, and much of it is not within my control.

2. Try to win one 3.5 singles match against any computer-rated 3.5. Hey, don't laugh. I'm terrible at singles, and I really hate it. But I think I am fit enough to do it, provided I don't hurt my knee, hip, elbow, wrist, or shoulder. I only have one limb that is fully healthy (left harm); somehow, it feels like a bad idea to risk it.

3. Try to improve one stroke into a weapon. Mmmm, I'm not sure how to measure that. I guess I could get to the point where I can hit a flat/slice/topspin serve, but that shouldn't take 18 months, should it? I would love to have a devastating overhead, but that hardly seems like a milestone goal.

4. Get really good at mixed. I've never been all that good at mixed, although it is a fun change of pace. I play 7.0 and am so-so. It would be interesting to try to get good enough to win consistently at 7.0 and also play 8.0 well.

Anyone got an idea?
 

Ft.S

Semi-Pro
Firstly, congratulations making it this far, Cindy. Competing year-in, year-out is tough without a doubt.

Secondly, since you have no aspirations to go to Nationals, I think the first option is the best, but maybe should read a little differently: "Become 4.0 and stay at that level." Getting back again to 4.0 level, even 4.5 actually is doable for you IMHO, would actually cover all of the other possible goals you listed. You need to have a serve that is effective, playing singles successfully would get you to 4.0 quicker I think and 7.0/8.0 MXD would be icing on the cake of becoming 4.0.

I also do not think getting to 4.0 would require you to practice and get instructions as much as you make it out to be; you just need a good group of gents and ladies.

I hope you get to your goals, cheers!
 

Cashman

Hall of Fame
The four goals you’ve listed are great. I know a lot of elderly players who are just content with the goal of going out there and having fun with their friends, but you’re clearly more ambitious than that.

Which one you pick soley comes down to how much time and physical investment you’re willing to make.

Avoiding injury has to be a priority, because you are getting to the point where if you can’t exercise and lose fitness you may never get it back again.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
Congrats Cindy.

As one who has been following your posting for over 10 years I think, I am proud to call you a friend and hope you get your birthday wish whatever you decide it should be.

J
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Goals at any age is a great thing. This was my year of turning 50 and my goal was not specific ... just seriously upgrade my game. I did it by giving myself a birthday present of 12 private lessons and altered my practice schedule (more practice and smarter practice.) It worked ... I am not the same player I was even 6 months ago.

So ....

Getting back to and staying at 4.0 is I think more in your control than you think it is and would be a fine goal.
In terms of in your control: practice, lessons, focus, don't pick partners that are too highly rated, play up, play 55+ (if it counts towards ratings in your area it counts in ours)
Not in your control: who you play against, most injuries, Black magic NTRP math

If you don't like singles why would you have a goal to do something you really don't enjoy?

Specific shot. You have said often that your serve is just okay. If it has been just okay for a decade or longer then perhaps it would take 18 months to turn it into a real weapon, 1st 2nd, change-up and all the spots.

Mixed .... meh

Whatever or however you decide to focus your efforts .... I hope you find the joy in the process
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
Thanks. You guys are really sweet.

This is going to be a real challenge in logistics. Back before I worked full time, it was easy to practice. Just practice whenever and wherever. Now, I can have a practice session or lesson scheduled, it rains, and I am straight out of luck for a week.

Maybe what I need to do is get with three other ambitious 3.5s and have us all decide to improve together, as teammates and as partners. I don't really care to try to outsmart the computer. I feel confident that if I get all of my old shots back, that will be good enough.

I don't know how realistic it is to become a big server. I mean, come on. How many 60-year-old women have you met who have their serve as a weapon?
 

OnTheLine

Hall of Fame
Thanks. You guys are really sweet.

This is going to be a real challenge in logistics. Back before I worked full time, it was easy to practice. Just practice whenever and wherever. Now, I can have a practice session or lesson scheduled, it rains, and I am straight out of luck for a week.

Maybe what I need to do is get with three other ambitious 3.5s and have us all decide to improve together, as teammates and as partners. I don't really care to try to outsmart the computer. I feel confident that if I get all of my old shots back, that will be good enough.

I don't know how realistic it is to become a big server. I mean, come on. How many 60-year-old women have you met who have their serve as a weapon?
First of all ... I know a few 60+ women with fantastic serves .... and notably for you, all of them lefties. One of them hits a very fast paced slice to the T on ad that then slides away from you ... at 8.0 mixed has left quite a few 4.0 men just mumbling. It can be done.

On the need for other ambitious 3.5s .... just move to Vegas ... I am here, it never rains :) We will do great!
 

Ronaldo

Bionic Poster
First of all ... I know a few 60+ women with fantastic serves .... and notably for you, all of them lefties. One of them hits a very fast paced slice to the T on ad that then slides away from you ... at 8.0 mixed has left quite a few 4.0 men just mumbling. It can be done.

On the need for other ambitious 3.5s .... just move to Vegas ... I am here, it never rains :) We will do great!
Lost Vagrants?
 

onehandbh

Legend
3. improving one stroke into a weapon.
Some ideas: learn a kick/topspin serve. Dropshot with some sidespin.

Regarding injuries: Have you tried doing yoga?
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
Since I turned 50 a couple years ago, I've found it much more satisfying to focus on goals relating more to participation, health, and fitness than skills development and winning. My body just can't take the pounding over the time to really have the number of reps needed for real improvement. My goal is to have fun, and my enjoyment has really increased since I've decoupled my enjoyment from winning.

My most notable accomplishments so far in 2019 have been playing my first matches on clay, improving my UTR to 5.0, and avoiding injury - and having lots of fun in the process. My wife and I did well in our most recent senior games at the local and state levels, but we skipped the national level senior games even though we both qualified for singles and doubles. The level of competition seemed likely far above us, and the location seemed too expensive and not nearly as much fun or appealing to justify the time and expense.

We've had a good time the past few years in formal competition, but we seem to be shifting to less formal competition. We're just liking the informal play with the peeps we meet at the local courts more than the more formal organized events. If the goal is to be fit and have fun, the recipe is simple: avoid injury, do more of what you find fun, and do less of what is not as fun. My experience is that the stuff that is not fun in the past two years is unlikely to suddenly become fun. And the stuff that has been fun is more likely to continue being fun.
 

Cindysphinx

G.O.A.T.
3. improving one stroke into a weapon.
Some ideas: learn a kick/topspin serve. Dropshot with some sidespin.

Regarding injuries: Have you tried doing yoga?
Yes. I tried yoga and promptly got injured. I was doing a down-dog several years ago, and I kind of hyperextended my big toe. My podiatrist explained that I had sesamoiditis, an irritation of the sesamoid bone. There's no real treatment. It took over a year to resolve, and I still feel it at times. I also have a hip impingement (so no outward rotation of the hip) and a knee that does not like twisting. Many of the basic yoga moves cause me physical distress. I want no part of yoga. I've gotta stick with running, spinning, and weights.

MathGeek, I feel ya. I am in the same place -- I don't want to play so much and work at tennis so much that it becomes a job. It definitely felt that way at times -- being on five teams in one season, captaining one, co-captaining another. So yeah, it is important to find the sweet spot and stay there.
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
One advantage of turning 60 is that you can always make up an excuse for losing and your claims of tennis glory in the past will not be contested because nobody younger will care, and the older ones won't be able to hear what you say.
 

WhiteOut

Semi-Pro
4. Get really good at mixed. I've never been all that good at mixed, although it is a fun change of pace. I play 7.0 and am so-so. It would be interesting to try to get good enough to win consistently at 7.0 and also play 8.0 well.

Anyone got an idea?

My wife is a traditional singles player -- her whole life. she hit a b-day number this year that helped her to decide to really focus on dubs play. been doing small private 4-person clinics every week with a few of her teammates, and her dubs game this year has been awesome...she's noticeably more assertive and 'owning' the net-play, versus the passive/reactive net-play so commonly seen of singles players who play dubs...

as a result, she's really growing to enjoy dubs also, maybe even a little more than singles...so as i look at your four possible goals to chase, I thought maybe sharing this would be helpful to you.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I'm turning 60 in 2021.

: pauses a moment to wonder where all that time went :

I feel like I should pick a tennis-related goal to challenge myself. Trouble is, I can't think of anything. That's where you folks come in.

Here's what I've thought of so far.

4. Get really good at mixed. I've never been all that good at mixed, although it is a fun change of pace. I play 7.0 and am so-so. It would be interesting to try to get good enough to win consistently at 7.0 and also play 8.0 well.

Anyone got an idea?
I think becoming a much better mixed player, and especially developing the skill set to be the 3.5 part of a dominating 8.0 tandem is a very sensible goal for an aging gal.

Of course, finding a mobile strong 4.5 partner goes without saying. But there are 3 skills in particular that a 3.5 gal needs to have in order to make life miserable for her mixed opponents and make her popular with her choice of 4.5 partners:

1. Learn to be comfortable playing the net with aggression from an offensive position 3 feet from the net. Don’t worry about high balls over your head. Don’t back up. Stay up tight, don’t alley-hug, and pinch the middle to take away any low stuff over your half of the net with ample poaching opportunities. This skill will serve you well on 50% of the points, because your starting position when your partner is returning should be all the way at net, close enough to touch it.

2. Learn a consistent slider serve, with a touch of sidespin, and a even a touch of underspin. Your serve needs to stay low. Don’t put any topspin on it, which will just cause it to pop up higher where a 4.5 guy can crush it. Keep your serve bounce low around the knees and your partner will be grateful. This comes in handy on another 25% of the points.

3. Get comfortable returning 4.0 ladies’ serves from halfway between the service line and the baseline. This will take time away from opposing 4.5/4.0+ would-be poachers. You will need this skill on another 12.5% of the points, but these points are especially important for tilting the outcome of a mixed match.

Now you will have the advantage on 87.5% of the points. The other 12.5% don’t really matter. You can get aced every point on the macho 4.0 guy’s serve, but still get the break if your 4.5 partner sets you up at the net on his return points, including the no-ad deuce point.

Master these 3 skills (and charm your way to a strong 4.5+ partner) and you will be guaranteed to dominate 8.0, and maybe you’ll actually learn to love mixed.
 

J011yroger

Talk Tennis Guru
I think becoming a much better mixed player, and especially developing the skill set to be the 3.5 part of a dominating 8.0 tandem is a very sensible goal for an aging gal.

Of course, finding a mobile strong 4.5 partner goes without saying. But there are 3 skills in particular that a 3.5 gal needs to have in order to make life miserable for her mixed opponents and make her popular with her choice of 4.5 partners:

1. Learn to be comfortable playing the net with aggression from an offensive position 3 feet from the net. Don’t worry about high balls over your head. Don’t back up. Stay up tight, don’t alley-hug, and pinch the middle to take away any low stuff over your half of the net with ample poaching opportunities. This skill will serve you well on 50% of the points, because your starting position when your partner is returning should be all the way at net, close enough to touch it.

2. Learn a consistent slider serve, with a touch of sidespin, and a even a touch of underspin. Your serve needs to stay low. Don’t put any topspin on it, which will just cause it to pop up higher where a 4.5 guy can crush it. Keep your serve bounce low around the knees and your partner will be grateful. This comes in handy on another 25% of the points.

3. Get comfortable returning 4.0 ladies’ serves from halfway between the service line and the baseline. This will take time away from opposing 4.5/4.0+ would-be poachers. You will need this skill on another 12.5% of the points, but these points are especially important for tilting the outcome of a mixed match.

Now you will have the advantage on 87.5% of the points. The other 12.5% don’t really matter. You can get aced every point on the macho 4.0 guy’s serve, but still get the break if your 4.5 partner sets you up at the net on his return points, including the no-ad deuce point.

Master these 3 skills (and charm your way to a strong 4.5+ partner) and you will be guaranteed to dominate 8.0, and maybe you’ll actually learn to love mixed.
I plan to live past 60 and I intend to help my odds by never uttering the words aging gal in a sentence.

J
 
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