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 Post subject: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 20 Nov 2022, 21:43 
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I started playing Table Tennis four years ago at the ripe old age of 63 and was immediately hooked. Four years latter I’ve recently completed my 68th tournament. One thing I’ve noticed players who have started playing the game seriously after the age of 60 seem to hit a rating ceiling of around 1500 then get stuck in a rating loop hell that bounces up and down between 1300 and 1500. For me the rating ceiling was 1580 and currently 1350. I’ve polled approximately 10 tournament players all who started after the age of 60, all who take the game seriously and all who are in my exact position.

I know many players well over 60 who are well over 1800. My training partner is 66 and is rated 2100 but they have all been playing 50+ years. So my question, are there any forum members that started playing after the age of 60 that achieved a rating over 1750?


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 Post subject: Re: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 21 Nov 2022, 22:18 
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There is the obvious impact on your playing strength as you get older. Motor skills (mobility, reaction time) and vision tend to degrade with age. However, that does not explain the "oscillating rating" you described.

While not directly an answer to your query, I offer a reason why it may be so.

Training:
Players who started at an early age may have trained technique in extended drills, and built a "muscle memory". As we age we are more vulnerable to RSI, so extreme repetition may do more damage than good.
A club coach (official or "self appointed") may be reluctant to offer unsolicited advice to someone who age-wise is clearly their senior. We do not want to offend.

So, I submit that the basic strokes can be learned "autodidact", and skills can be built, at any age, aided by advice from your peers. With this approach, some parts of the foundation for a good game, knowing all the strokes, technique, footwork, body work, tactics, everything that makes your playing efficient, economic and consistent, are often overlooked. More so as you get older, for your peers are fewer and the fear to offend may be greater.

This can make a huge difference when you move between tournament classes. The players in a higher class are more likely able to spot weaknesses, and to exploit them. If your footwork is lacking, they will move you around. If your pushing is inconsistent, they will feed you short backspin. Etc. So you will lose more matches and your rating drops rapidly.

In the lower class, you are more likely to gain sufficiently from your strong points, which you are more likely to train if you don't receive any proper and systematic coaching. You will win more and gain a higher rating.

So yes, also indirectly I believe that age matters, in a way which amplifies the "rating loop". I also believe that the age issues can be overcome. Get advice/lessons from a skilled coach. Do drills, but not for hours. Ask your peers what they think your weakness is (then they can tell you without fear of offending you).

Above all: have fun!


Last edited by keme on 25 Nov 2022, 16:39, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2022, 03:50 
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I'm an older player.

With age one is more sensitive to playing conditions.

For best vision of the ball we need more light compared to younger players.

For many reaction time increases with age.

Better efficient technique can reduce chances of an over use injury.
As we age recovery time increases.
Agree shorter training intervals and appropriate rest periods important.


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 Post subject: Re: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 22 Nov 2022, 14:47 
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There are a LOT of players who get stuck around 1300-1500.. and it's not just older people. :lol:

I suppose to get to 1900-2000 you probably do need to be young and athletic, at least to some degree. I do know of seniors who continue to be rated above 2000 but yes, they will have started playing at a high level while younger. In Indiana there was this old gentleman called Harry Deschamps - he was probably in the top 10 players in the state until his 70s or later, IIRC, rated around 2000. Played with hardbat, chopper. And I suppose there was Marty Reisman.

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 Post subject: Re: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 24 Nov 2022, 20:58 
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Matter a lot.....I'm 63 years old & handicapped.

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 Post subject: Re: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2022, 02:42 
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Ten years ago I was much faster and more flexible, so I would say yes :oops:
But on the other side you have more experience and sometimes can react intuitively :angel:

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 Post subject: Re: Does age matter?
PostPosted: 27 Nov 2022, 08:40 
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Certainly does… :rock: Only once a week of casual-fun play for me. Would love to play more, but gone are those days. :( Do sneak in and evening of play here and there when I can and feel I have some energy to do so. That's about it for me though my appetite and love for the sport certainly has not diminshed one bit with age :nod:


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