What age did you lose a step of speed ???

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
When I was 25-35 I was always faster than my opponents and could run everything down.

When I hit 39 I noticed I lost a first step and cannot cover the court like I used too. My speed is only above average right now.

Oh well, this was last year and I hope I dont get any slower for awhile.
 

dgold44

G.O.A.T.
I have recently changed my game from a boring counter puncher to taking more chances and going for more shots.

Speed is lost first but power can last a long time as you age.
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
I'd say 28-30ish I felt a hint of greater difficultly in accelerating quite as fast. The most noticeable was the recovery after very long tough physical exercise.
 

Ash_Smith

Legend
I was never super quick - it was said that when I was younger "the first step is in his head" - as I have gotten older progressively more and more steps are in my head :D
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
Right around 39-40 is when I lost a step. Could still cover most of the court, but would be 1 step off and it was tough to take the mini-steps before a shot when stretched to my backhand side in particular.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
I think late 30's is when most decent athletes begin to lose a bit. Then around late 40's you lose more. Usually the natural loss is compounded by increased weight, lack of activity and leg injuries.

The good news is you probably won't notice because you are more concerned about hair loss, back pain and ED.
 

rchjr2091

Semi-Pro
I'm 41, I don't think I have lost much on my speed. What I struggle with is recovery, if I have played some tough sets especially on hard courts, I definitely can feel it the next day.
 

ohplease

Professional
I'm 41, I don't think I have lost much on my speed. What I struggle with is recovery, if I have played some tough sets especially on hard courts, I definitely can feel it the next day.
This. Good tennis can still be played, but the question is how long before your body starts to drag. Maybe the second match? Or the second set?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Lost a lot of speed in my 30's as a gained some weight. Lost a lot of it in my 40's and picked up some speed. Now weight is a constant battle and my speed is slipping as is my ability to jump. There are so many overheads where my brain says I can reach it and my body betrays me (yay 2 inch vertical leap).
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
First loss was 16, broken tib/fib from crashing in a motorcycle road race. Didn't get back to 80%, but still played senior year football and basketball.
2nd loss was 21, another worse tib/fib, needing 6 pins, wire, plate. Got fast by '78, or 7 year's after the break.
Stayed good till 3rd break, '83, which ended my motorcycle racing career.
Got fast by '89, when I started tennis again at age 40, was by far the fastest on the courts, and played No.2 for Dominican College to 2 tough sets in a loss in a 4.5 tournament.
Was still quick and fast until around age 50, when things headed downhill REALLY quickly, bottoming out in a '97 break in the ankle with 2 detached tendons and haven't run at all since.
 

mightyrick

Legend
I'm faster now at 46 than I was at 26. IMHO, the key isn't age -- it is weight -- and dodging injury. I know people well into their 60s are are incredibly agile around the court because they have kept their weight down and have been fortunate enough to be able to manage their injuries.
 

shindemac

Hall of Fame
I'd say the key is weight and injury. My times on the spider drill were 14-15s 10 years ago (check the archives). I recorded it on here so I wanted to see how much I would slow down as i age. Now ten years later (and one ankle injury), I'm down to 17-18s and barely hold'n on. For reference, I've seen many 4.5s post a time of about 17s, and I've seen someone live (4.5) do it on the court. I've also seen some old guys on here post good times (17s), and they are also in the 4.5 range. But i think it's also a function of how good you were in your youth too. I know some of these guys were athletes.
 
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xFullCourtTenniSx

Hall of Fame
It should be around 30, give or take a few years. This is assuming you've always trained. Obviously some of the people here are faster than their youth because they trained poorly in their youth and are putting more into their training now. But that doesn't mean they haven't lost speed. If they trained this hard when they were younger, I swear these guys who claim to be in their 40s and faster than in their 20s would be at least 3 steps faster in their 20s.
 

rufus_smith

Professional
It's not a matter of age so much. If you keep free of injury, free of chronic illness, keep your body weight low, and keep up muscle strength in your legs by practicing tennis sprints, you shouldn't lose much foot speed as you age, says this senior guy. But those are tough things to do.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
It's not a matter of age so much. If you keep free of injury, free of chronic illness, keep your body weight low, and keep up muscle strength in your legs by practicing tennis sprints, you shouldn't lose much foot speed as you age, says this senior guy. But those are tough things to do.
Hi Rufus Smith!...
I do agree with you. No injuries, keeping slim, staying in shape, and working out are the keys.
You know I don't have it, with tons of injuries, little tennis practice, lots of windsurfing.
Was nice to meet and play with you, even though you were basically done before I showed up.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
It's not a matter of age so much. If you keep free of injury, free of chronic illness, keep your body weight low, and keep up muscle strength in your legs by practicing tennis sprints, you shouldn't lose much foot speed as you age, says this senior guy. But those are tough things to do.
Yea, I weighed 155 at 25 years old and 190+ at 45. I'm down to 180 now at 59. It seems nagging injuries and some weight gain set in around mid 40s. Groin pulls (seems like about 2 years of this back and forth), calf pulls, shoulder tendinitis, tennis elbow, ankle injury in non-tennis accident, ankle tendinitis, and diminishing night vision all started in 40s and keep recurring into 50s. Also, add in a meniscus surgery and a few episodes of back spasms in the 50s. I sound like the walking wounded, but, all in all, I'm relatively healthy and once I get warmed up probably cover the court reasonably well. I would like to get down to 170 lbs. That would be good for my tennis and overall health.

I think you are correct about keeping weight down. I have a friend around 63 who is very thin and has always played a lot of sports - tennis and baseball. He is still very fast and he gets to a lot of balls you don't expect him to cover.
 

mightyrick

Legend
Yea, I weighed 155 at 25 years old and 190+ at 45. I'm down to 180 now at 59. It seems nagging injuries and some weight gain set in around mid 40s. Groin pulls (seems like about 2 years of this back and forth), calf pulls, shoulder tendinitis, tennis elbow, ankle injury in non-tennis accident, ankle tendinitis, and diminishing night vision all started in 40s and keep recurring into 50s. Also, add in a meniscus surgery and a few episodes of back spasms in the 50s. I sound like the walking wounded, but, all in all, I'm relatively healthy and once I get warmed up probably cover the court reasonably well. I would like to get down to 170 lbs. That would be good for my tennis and overall health.

I think you are correct about keeping weight down. I have a friend around 63 who is very thin and has always played a lot of sports - tennis and baseball. He is still very fast and he gets to a lot of balls you don't expect him to cover.
Guys like you and LeeD are my heroes for this. At 46, I'm more healthy weight-wise and fitness-wise than I've ever been... but I'm starting to experience the good old aging injuries. I've currently got a pretty damaged hitting hand (specialist is still trying to figure out what it is) -- probably related to an injury to the hamate bone or possibly TFCC. So that will probably end up with surgery. I do get other aches too, sometimes. But I'm overall in good health.

But you guys give me reason to keep pushing. When I hear of a guy 10+ years older than me whose had a couple surgeries, repeated bouts of joint problems... et cetera... and you still push and get your ass out on the court and do pretty well... that is all the motivation I need to keep going.

I'm not going to stop until I'm dead.
 

Bender

G.O.A.T.
I'm faster than I've ever been (26), partly because I dropped about 14-16 kg of fat and gained 2-3 kg of muscle.

But I'm picking up quite a few injuries now--rotator cuff (from way before), wrist injury, and now a knee injury. All minor pains, but I may have to stop playing for a few weeks.
 

Chas Tennis

G.O.A.T.
Gradually lost some speed and had some knee pains after sitting for half an hour about 10 or 15 years before I joined a gym and did leg strength training. Regained my speed and my balance improved. I later learned that the knees were painful because my rectus femoris (the only quad that connects about the hip joint) was tight and short and that made the knee cap and cartilage not work as they should. I stretched my rectus femoris and greatly improved the knees and also slightly reversed some anterior pelvic tilt. Felt 20 years younger.

In the last few years, I've slacked off with the leg exercises because of some knee issues but for several years I had regained my speed.

When I now think about

1) Age
2) Lack of regular high force exercise.
3) Not allowing proper healing when injured.
4) Other factors.

I'd say that #2, #3 and #4 are widely being missed by those who think and communicate in terms of age and form opinions on how things will go.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I think the best way to keep track is by actually measuring it Maybe time your sprint, tennis court line touch times, spider drill times, etc.
It's possible that we may get slower for various reasons over time (injury, weight gain) and then regain some speed but actually still be slower than we were pre-injury/weight gain. What we feel isn't always accurate. Just look at all the people who think they serve 100+ mph without ever getting their serve radared.

I haven't done any speed tests since I pretty much don't run at all outside of tennis, but I'm pretty sure I'm slower now than I was before. I do try to take the stairs as often as possible, though, and usually go two steps at a time.

I used to be able stand at the net post and jump over it easily with two feet together. Nowadays I can barely jump over the net with a scissor kick jump at the net strap at the middle of the court. Which is basically like not jumping at all b/c I'm about 6' tall.
 

ojo rojo

Legend
First loss was 16, broken tib/fib from crashing in a motorcycle road race. Didn't get back to 80%, but still played senior year football and basketball.
2nd loss was 21, another worse tib/fib, needing 6 pins, wire, plate. Got fast by '78, or 7 year's after the break.
Stayed good till 3rd break, '83, which ended my motorcycle racing career.
Got fast by '89, when I started tennis again at age 40, was by far the fastest on the courts, and played No.2 for Dominican College to 2 tough sets in a loss in a 4.5 tournament.
Was still quick and fast until around age 50, when things headed downhill REALLY quickly, bottoming out in a '97 break in the ankle with 2 detached tendons and haven't run at all since.
Did you break your ankle playing tennis?
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Did you break your ankle playing tennis?
1. AFM Road racing on a YDS-3C 250 Production Class motorcycle, Cotati Raceway. Lost front wheel and tried to pick up the bike was still sliding at 20+ mph, catching my heel and highsiding with the bike.
2. CMC Motocross race at Carnigie Park on a 250 CZ, my first motocross race, let the pack take the start, but foolishly passed 15 guys up to 9th place before crashing on a off camber fast straightaway, taking 5 other rider's down with me.
3. AME Motocross race, now after 150 odd races under my belt, Lake Madera Raceway, 250 Suzuki watercooler, bad start, got to midpack before landing on a Yamaha rider's handlebar because he didn't triple the set of jumps like everyone else in the 250 Expert class.
 

BlueB

Legend
At 43 after I cracked left hip in a skiing accident. I recovered from that pretty well and some speed came back. But... a second slow down came by decision at about 45, after a pulled hamstring tendon and pulled achilles tendons. I still can put the "turbo" on, but won't do it for every ball.
On the other hand, mu footwork and positioning got better, so I still get to plenty of difficult balls.
I still don't know very many faster guys in their late 40s...

Next barrier, slow worsening of the eye sight affects the anticipation, reaction and ball contact :(
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Yeah, this year, I"m gonna need glasses to pass the driver's license test. Bummer. We only get worse with time.
Been driving for 52 years without needing glasses, so it's gonna be a shocker. Might need them for tennis pretty soon too.
 

RetroSpin

Hall of Fame
keep up muscle strength in your legs by practicing tennis sprints
How many Olympic sprint champions, competitors even, are in their 40's? None.

For some reason, leg muscles lose elasticity and fast twitch capability as we age. All the training in the world won't change that. Now the loss may not be enough to impact a less than world class player all that much, but at some point it will.

If you avoid injury, you might be the fastest >65 player in the country but you won't be as fast as you were at 35.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Wow, what a shocker yesterday, something you all predicted.
Played a 4.0 who's at the top of his level, who practices against a former top 5 A player. Lost 2, 4, 2.
I just couldn't get to 3' of my alleys, over and over again. His depth kept me pinned deep, lessening my angles, his body serve handcuffing me (he's 6'3" and 30 year's old), and when I came to net, his lobs were past mid NML, just resetting the point in his favor.
My wide serve and volley did work, but I tightened up on important points and lost my advantage with 4 double faults, all on my ad point. Tough way to win a game, DF on ad point.
Not much going for my game, just didn't have the power or placement to bother him.
 
D

Deleted member 120290

Guest
I can never tell...Whenever I feel like I might be losing a step, I play only against guys like LeeD and Sureshs. Then I'm good for a while.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
The above post belongs in the TALL TALE section.
Yeah, it was pretty sad.
I'd watch this guy hit against a former A level player, now 73, for two years, and knew he was above my level, so while I watched, I never asked him to hit.
Then he asks me, like in July. We never got together, timing at all, but on Friday we scheduled a hit.
Hitting wasn't too bad, although he had a depth and power advantage. I never said I was anything more than a low 4.0, so he had lots of room to play 4.0 above me.
Sets were different. He had a powerful second serve (one DF total in 3 sets), and handcuffed me repeatedly going into my body. His wide serves were normal. The angles he created on anything short of the baseline was beyond my reach, him knowing I lack speed, and him hitting within 3' of the sidelines, usually with topspin, so I had little time to make it over to the ball and recover after my desperate returns.
I could win a few points S/V to his backhand, but more often than not, his low return of serve got him another chance, and he lobbed smartly to mid NML most of the time. I can hit overheads, but putting away a overheads from mid NML is not so easy.
My twist to his forehand on ad court worked pretty well, but I don't own that serve, and anything short gives him a low bounce, which he can pummel with his forehand. I was maybe 50/50 there.
My first serve was off, I hadn't played in 10 days, going to WineCountry, SF, Yosemite/Tahoe for 9 days. The few I got in worked just fine, but in 3 sets, maybe 4 flat serves total, missing easily 20 each set.
His backhand was stronger and more consistent than his forehand, so he neutralized the lefty advantage.
Once again, my second serve decided to abandon me. Possibly as many as 4 games would not have been lost outright if I hadn't DF'd, and twice that number more if I'd get decent depth with wider placements. But I didn't.
Maybe you guys are right, I"m closer to 3.5 than 4.0. However, that would mean my normal crew of 4.0's are also 3.5's, which would make all the old 3-3.5's look like beginners. Monday, my first day back, everyone was lazy and we played tiebreak singles. I was 50/50 with 3 different peers.
 

steve s

Professional
Wow, what a shocker yesterday, something you all predicted.
Played a 4.0 who's at the top of his level, who practices against a former top 5 A player. Lost 2, 4, 2.
I just couldn't get to 3' of my alleys, over and over again. His depth kept me pinned deep, lessening my angles, his body serve handcuffing me (he's 6'3" and 30 year's old), and when I came to net, his lobs were past mid NML, just resetting the point in his favor.
My wide serve and volley did work, but I tightened up on important points and lost my advantage with 4 double faults, all on my ad point. Tough way to win a game, DF on ad point.
Not much going for my game, just didn't have the power or placement to bother him.
Just seemed from your word that you were playing a tough player, with a serve that hurt you, pinned you to the baseline with his ground game,and lobbed deep.

You also did not have your "A" game in your bag that day. On top of that you had then metal toughness to give away four game points and still play on.

I strongly believe that if you win four games in a set, that the match could be won.

In my day, I could figure out how to win, or figure out how not to lose.

Now mostly play golf.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Just seemed from your word that you were playing a tough player, with a serve that hurt you, pinned you to the baseline with his ground game,and lobbed deep.

You also did not have your "A" game in your bag that day. On top of that you had then metal toughness to give away four game points and still play on.

I strongly believe that if you win four games in a set, that the match could be won.

In my day, I could figure out how to win, or figure out how not to lose.

Now mostly play golf.
Thanks, but the 4 games was only the middle set. First set, I got the first game, and none until he was up 5-1.
3rd set, I got the first game, and the third, then just got beat with superior shots making me run full speed out wide, then back, then watched as his shot zipped by where I wasn't.
I know when I'm overmatched, and was out of my element.
 

Easy Rider

Professional
At the age of 28, I realised I had to do more/less/diferent so I could maintain fitness level.
I didnt care that much.
At the age of 32, Ive broken my ancle (accident). After 6 weeks I was back on court, moving, running but Ive never fully recouperated and agility was gone
 

NLBwell

Legend
I don't know. I was very fast to age 25, but quit playing tennis for a number of years. When I came back at about 35, I was definitely slower, though still faster than most guys.
I tore my knee up around 39 and that was pretty much it for being speedy. I dropped another level in speed when I tore up my ankle a couple of years later. In my early 50's I put a tear in my achilles tendon, so I'm not very mobile at all now.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
Like some of the guys already said here, you can maintain your speed for quite a long time, and even improve it well into ur 40s or 50s, it all depends.
Some things people need to remember
1.We are not pro athletes, pro athletes are usually very low bodyfat and fitness, almost optimal weight/muscle/bodyfat balance for speed, we are mostly not, so one can lose like 10-15kg in their 40s and noticed he is faster than he ever was.
2.We do not have the wear and tear that pro athletes do, alot of pro athletes start losing that milisecond of speed once they hit 30s and so, but you have to know they play since 6 years old, almost every day, intense trainings and matches all their life, so wear and tear of the body will happen much sooner than recreational or low competitive players
3.Injuries also play a major role, if someone is injured in such an area that is key for speed (legs), once recovered, the body might not be as effective as it was before the injury
 

onehandbh

Legend
Like some of the guys already said here, you can maintain your speed for quite a long time, and even improve it well into ur 40s or 50s, it all depends.
All things being equal (weight, good shape, training, etc.), I highly doubt someone will be faster in their 40s and 50s vs when they were in their 20s.

Try this experiment. Record your 100 meter sprint and spider drill times. Record them again in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years.

Also measure your standing vertical jump.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
All things being equal (weight, good shape, training, etc.), I highly doubt someone will be faster in their 40s and 50s vs when they were in their 20s.

Try this experiment. Record your 100 meter sprint and spider drill times. Record them again in 1 year, 3 years, 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, 25 years.

Also measure your standing vertical jump.
Thats why I mentioned fitness and weight, majority of recreational players have ALOT of room in those areas.
All things being equal I admit you won't be faster in ur 40s and 50s than 20s, but the difference shouldn't be too big, if ur slow in ur 20s ur gonna be slow in ur 50s, if ur fast in ur 20s ur gonna be fast in ur 50s, if you maintain ur fitness that is.
For example, a world record in 100m sprint for 60+ years is currently 11.7 which is quite fast, infact I would bet 98% of the people on this board could not run that fast.
It goes to show that if u maintain ur fitness and are fast, you will still be fairly fast even when ur in ur 50s and 60s.
But most people don't even have a good fitness level in their 20s, yet alone in their 50s or 60s, so most of the people won't even come close to their speed/agility/strenght potential, hence they will have room for improvement even at older ages, but 99% of them will likely get even worse fitness as they age and not better.
 

onehandbh

Legend
I agree. If you were overweight, sedentary, and out of shape in your 20s and then start exercising and lose weight in your 30s or 40s you could be faster b/c all those negative factors will outweigh your age-related decrease in speed.

11.7 is a really fast 100m time for some over 60 years old. The guy must have been a 10.x second sprinter when he was younger.

I think recovery may become a limiting factor, though, as supposedly as one gets older, it takes longer to the body to recover from exercise. There may also be some joint issues. (e.g. cartilage wearing out, ligaments, etc.)

Thats why I mentioned fitness and weight, majority of recreational players have ALOT of room in those areas.
All things being equal I admit you won't be faster in ur 40s and 50s than 20s, but the difference shouldn't be too big, if ur slow in ur 20s ur gonna be slow in ur 50s, if ur fast in ur 20s ur gonna be fast in ur 50s, if you maintain ur fitness that is.
For example, a world record in 100m sprint for 60+ years is currently 11.7 which is quite fast, infact I would bet 98% of the people on this board could not run that fast.
It goes to show that if u maintain ur fitness and are fast, you will still be fairly fast even when ur in ur 50s and 60s.
But most people don't even have a good fitness level in their 20s, yet alone in their 50s or 60s, so most of the people won't even come close to their speed/agility/strenght potential, hence they will have room for improvement even at older ages, but 99% of them will likely get even worse fitness as they age and not better.
 
When I was 25-35 I was always faster than my opponents and could run everything down.

When I hit 39 I noticed I lost a first step and cannot cover the court like I used too. My speed is only above average right now.

Oh well, this was last year and I hope I dont get any slower for awhile.
It's normal to start losing speed in your upper 20s but your speed may not matter much on the court if you can usually dominate your opponent. The more that your opponent runs you around, the more he/she is dictating the game.
 

FiReFTW

Legend
It's normal to start losing speed in your upper 20s but your speed may not matter much on the court if you can usually dominate your opponent. The more that your opponent runs you around, the more he/she is dictating the game.
Nobody is losing speed in his 20s lol... Even with pro athletes who have a ton of wear amd tear playing intensively day by day for 15 years, it only starts getting noticable after 30s that they start losing some speed.
 

TennisCJC

Legend
Nobody is losing speed in his 20s lol... Even with pro athletes who have a ton of wear amd tear playing intensively day by day for 15 years, it only starts getting noticable after 30s that they start losing some speed.
I think lots of pro's lose speed by 29 years old. Pros put a lot of pressure and stress on their bodies and many have chronic injuries by 29. Rafa Nadal's movement/speed diminished before he turned 30. Stephen Edberg and Patrick Rafter retired before 30. Boris Becker's movement diminished a lot before 30.

Lots of rec players lose speed before 30 too. I was very lean and quick at 20 years old, but was heavier, slower and practiced less by 29 years old. I would think most rec players are faster at 20 than 29 years old because rec players get jobs, families, gain weight, etc...
 
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