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Playing Tennis at Any Age

Photo by Steven Lane - Martha Frederick

Becoming a professional tennis player is a long and arduous journey.  Anybody wanting to go that route needs to start young. However, becoming a pro is not what tennis is all about; there’s more.  In fact, tennis is mostly all about not going pro.  Sure, being a great player is a dream for a lot of kids, but there is competition at every level and in every age group.  Not to sound discouraging but, if becoming professional was the only reason to play tennis, the sport wouldn’t exist at all.  Age is only a factor in that one, ultra-competitive and tiny slice of the tennis playing population.  We should not make Rodger Federer a measuring stick to our own enjoyment.  That, friends, is a recipe for depression.  Don’t think that just because your serve is bad or you’re not able to get top-spin that you can’t confidently get onto a court and enjoy yourself.  Old, in tennis, really is just a state of mind.

How do I Know?

Because I have spent the last two weeks playing with a group of 60-80 year olds – and one 8 year old.  I participated in a league that represents a community of people who are, for the most part, past retirement age.  The one thing that was reinforced for me over these two weeks is that when people get onto a tennis court, regardless of age, they all act like kids, and that’s a good thing.  Our little group mostly played doubles.  That’s fine because, doubles or singles, the game is equally fun.  Furthermore, the 8 year old kid that was playing along with us (who happens to be very talented, ranked 10 and under player) has learned more about the game by playing these older folks than he ever would by playing kids his own age for twice the number of days.  Each of the dozen or so retirees took turns schooling him on how tennis is a crafty sport full of trickerations as well as a physical sport.  These people know all the angles. I’m confident that they weren’t this tricky when they played 30 years ago.  But, when their bodies failed them, they learned how to compensate with their minds.  If only youth could be combined with experience!

The lesson here is that when we stop paying attention to age and the limitations of creaky joints we can learn a lot from each other by playing tennis together. Tennis is a smart sport that lends itself to the wiliness of age. It is also a physical sport which favors youth. If you are an older person who hasn’t taken up tennis yet, don’t think you can’t. If you’re young and you want to be a pro, don’t think you can’t. The point is simply to get what you want from it. Tennis is the infinite Giving Tree. Young or old tennis has something for you. And, remember – Boulder Colorado can provide you tennis year round. Speaking of trickeration, check out our volley clinics for adults!

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Discuss: “Playing Tennis at Any Age”

  1. December 23, 2011 at 4:53 am #

    It really is a sport for any age, you dont need to rely on a team you are the sole participant, such a great sport

    Posted by Ben Reed

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