Retired Father and Tennis

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by oneleaf, May 22, 2007.

  1. oneleaf

    oneleaf Guest

    I have enjoyed reading the posts on this great forum, and have learned a lot! I wanted to ask for some advice regarding my retired father. We are looking for things for him to do during the summers when he visits, and he has always enjoyed tennis, although he hasn't played in a long time. He is 68, has no medical problems, and is in great shape.

    First, we were wondering whether it is appropriate for someone his age to play tennis?

    Also, he has some very old equipment (still using prestrung racket from over a decade ago!) and sneakers, and it pains him to spend money on anything new. Racket and strings will be no problem, since I will simply go to the store and buy a nice racket and strings for him. Sneakers will be tougher, since he will need to try them on at the store (but we will make him do it)! BTW, any suggestions for a racket and strings with comfort being the primary concern? I have found Prince Premier Softflex to be very easy to play with and was planning on getting him the same.

    I was also considering getting him some ace bandage to wrap around his ankles and have him do 15 minutes of stretching and jogging and warmup before playing everyday.

    I would be interested to hear any advice or comments regarding what to watch out for with my father getting started again with tennis at his age. Thank you very much!
  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Jun 2, 2006
    The Great NW
    What level player was your Dad? If he has an older game that was honed nicely, hopefully all he will need is an arm friendly racquet and he will be off to the races. Prince, Volkl and ProKennex would be my choices there. I'd get gut (which he will remember from before) strings as well.

    As to shoes, if he has not worn modern athletic shoes, as you know they are very different feeling than the sports shoes of yore. What would be considered a stripped down tournament shoe, will feels like a pillow to him. I would start there.
  3. fearless1

    fearless1 Rookie

    Oct 31, 2006
    Tallahassee, Florida
    First thing is generally a trip to the doctor to make sure all A-OK for tennis at his age. Of course, a quick trip or two out to the courts with current racquets and sneakers won't hurt either, a good way to make sure pops really wants to play. In general, the best time to buy new things is after trying for a while with what you've got. This will help to establish a "baseline" or standard and to identify problem areas that would need to be rectified too.
  4. itsstephenyo

    itsstephenyo Rookie

    Jan 12, 2007
    I'm almost in the same boat as you are. My dad is 59 years old, while I am only 18. He's incredibly fit, though. He runs a few miles a day, played lots of soccer in his youth, and the doctor said he's got the body of a 25 yr. old. He loves using his old Dunlop Black Max from the 80's.

    Now, whenever you begin playing any sport, you should always stretch. Especially at his age, warming up the muscles is essential. Take those 15 minutes to stretch it out and warm it up. Work up a bit of a sweat before you actually go start hitting. That's when you know you're ready to go play. Also, make sure your dad listens to his body. Starting up again, he'll start to feel pretty sore and weak in some muscles. That's to be expected. It should go away in about a week or two. After that, however, be pretty careful not to get injured. At his age, injuries are amplified greatly. They hurt more and last longer. My dad injured his hand when he had to fix our fence almost two months ago. It's still slightly swollen and bothers him.

    Other than that, just be pretty careful. Don't overwork anything and don't do anything stupid. Just have fun!

    Edit: It should be said that when my dad and I hit, we don't stretch... We never really have, even when we used to play several hours of soccer at a time.
    Last edited: May 22, 2007
  5. Bottle Rocket

    Bottle Rocket Hall of Fame

    Jan 12, 2006
    San Francisco, CA
    When I first started playing tennis, I got routinely beat by a 72 year old man.

    He is in decent shape and walks most days of the weak, but that's it.

    I think it depends on the physical condition of your father... It also depends on how good he used to be. Was he a decent player?

    Most of the time when I got to the court with the guy, we just hit some volleys. Then after a few minutes we hit from the baseline, then we started playing. There was no dynamic warm up and no static stretches. We didn't even stretch afterwards. I've recently learned better habits, but this guy has never followed the "rules".

    Most of the older people I see are using decent sized rackets that are usually fairly light.

    Wilson Hammer (the 4 and the 6) rackets are very popular as are some of the larger Head rackets (Ti-S6). The Wilson H6 is a great racket and you can find them prestrung and ready to go for $70. The 6.3 is also a good one. A lot of them can be found used on this website for around $30...
  6. tennis-n-sc

    tennis-n-sc Professional

    Feb 22, 2004
    If I were him, I'd feel better about it all if my kids quit treating me a baby or an invalid. Hey, he'll do what he wants to do. He's earned it.

    As for tennis, I've played guys in their 90's so he has a long way to go, if he chooses to go in that direction. I'm a senior and we know better than most that we all are gonna die sometime. So, get on with life. I'd rather die doing something I'm passionate about than living in fear that my passion might kill me. Live life like there is no tomorrow, because there isn't. As John Lennon once said, "Life is what's happening while we are making plans." A famous moutain climber once said "I'm here for a good time, not a long time." Of course, he died on the mountain.
  7. oneleaf

    oneleaf Guest

    Thanks for all of the responses!

    LuckyR, not sure what level he was, but he used to just enjoy hitting the balls back and forth and was never competitive. I definitely intend to get him to buy some high quality athletic sneakers.

    fearless1, he's recently gone for a checkup and he looks to be in good physical shape. I agree that it may be good to use current sneakers and equipment first, except that his sneakers are really old and worn out. Also, he can try my racket first to see if he notices a big improvement over his old one.

    itsstephenyo and Bottle Rocket, thanks for sharing your experiences and suggestions.

    tennis-n-sc, we're not treating him like an invalid. In fact, I was the one that brought up the idea of him picking up tennis again and he was interested. My mom and I just wanted to take some precautions, such as more comfortable equipment and shoes (i wanted to get him a retirement gift this summer and thought a racket and shoes would be good), warmup exercises, etc., since I expect it will help him enjoy it better.
  8. fuzz nation

    fuzz nation G.O.A.T.

    Oct 20, 2006
    I'd say maybe get him a brief lesson so that he heads back into the game with some good habits to work on. Better mechanics, etc. will probably keep him out there longer with better success.
  9. tangoll

    tangoll Rookie

    Apr 18, 2005
    I'm 65 and ...

    I'm 65, retired, have been playing tennis for over 30 years, and still looking to play probably 10 more years. Right now, I play 2 or 3 times a week, usually doubles, but sometimes, singles, and still play in our local club tournaments - singles, doubles, mixed doubles. Here's what I watch out for:
    - stay away from hard courts, because they really affect my knees
    - before playing, I do some minor stretching of the calves, arm, forearm, neck, back and lower back, but no more than a minute in total; I warm up gradually on the court, hitting with a very loose grip and not swinging all out.
    - drink lots of liquid during matches; slow down when feel out of breath
    - I don't jump up to try and get high balls anymore, but will still try to run down drop shots, lobs over my head by spinning around and running back
    - wear knee braces, wrist band, and forearm band
    - will use some heat ointment to treat a sore area before playing, and after playing, will sit and cool down before showering, eating, or drinking.

    On days not playing, will do some simple knee/leg raises to strengthen muscles around the knees, and hand/forearm exercises to strengthen the forearm muscles to prevent occurrence of tennis elbow. Also extension and stretching exercises to stretch and loosen the lower back. All done at home, without any special equipment or weights.

    I'm six foot tall, but weight has been inching to 205 lbs now, so starting to really watch what I eat. Get checkup every two years or so; have a slight asthma problem but it's under control with medicine every two days, and an inhaler medicine each time I play tennis.

    I credit tennis with my overall general well-being, and with helping me keep an active life. So I hope your father will try out to see whether tennis will be of interest to him.
  10. bluegrasser

    bluegrasser Hall of Fame

    Jul 29, 2005
    Great advice....
  11. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Feb 17, 2005
    Big Canoe, GA
    Good job tangoll - keep it up!
  12. forzainter

    forzainter Semi-Pro

    Oct 27, 2006
    there shouldnt be any problem about his age, the LTA in britain has rankings for people ages 80+
  13. kevhen

    kevhen Hall of Fame

    Feb 20, 2004
    Auckland, New Zealand
    An oversized lighter racquet strung at a low tension may work better for him. Add some cushions to his shoes so he doesn't do any damage to his feet. I play tennis with a 64 year old who is still a 4.0 level player. Good luck to him.

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