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  1. Silver smasher is offline
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    #1

    Can a late starter become a quality veteran player?

    I started playing seriously at 60 and my aim is simply to become a decent local league player. It seems that most of the quality older players I meet have been playing for many years and often were good juniors.

    Do you know of any top veteran players who were not top junior players? Is it possible to become good enough to play at the veteran world championships after taking up table tennis at 30 or 40?

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    #2
    Depends on how much practice you're able to get per week and how comitted you are. Giving up will not serve you any good at least.
    A good coach is needed. And I think that at the age of 60 it's definetly important to work out as well, to have good strength and stamina. Nerding around on the internet regarding techniques can also do you good.
    But proper training and repetition of the basics and footwork practice is a must.

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    #3
    i hope so

  4. Kuba Hajto is offline
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    #4
    You can always try.. What's the worst that can happen? You are going to have a good time. That doesn't sound that bad. Get a coach though.

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    #5
    I restarted at age 59 after not having played for 38 years. Key point is to thoroughly warm up and stretch before the practice, and to be really careful if you are overweight since the load on the knees and back is high for sudden unplanned movements (getting to a ball far far away). With bi-weekly 1 hr coaching I made it to USATT 1300 rating at the 2019 US Open after 9 months of practice (2-4 hours/day 6x/week, partially with a robot) and lost 30 (13.5kg). However, I strongly recommend to learn the correct technique especially for top spin since the older European style technique we learned in the 70's is OK for teens but not for 60 year old backs.
    So e.g. go to YangYangTT and watch the top spin intro.
    I also had issues with tennis arm but that went away due to the Covid-19 imposed break where I spent the time building up the arm muscles with light weights.
    Also I mostly stay at the table and play short pips backhand and try to learn the techniques like Mima Ito as she can beat physically stronger players (all of them except Chen Meng).
    I use copy exact where I can so I am actually doing more stretching exercises now.
    At the 2019 US Open I saw that many older players have unusual rubber combinations (e.g. anti-top or short/medium/long pips on one side) to throw off the younger two-side loopers.
    For me the hardest task was to learn top spin and I strongly recommend to bring a camera to coaching and review the outcome to see how you really look like. Somewhat depressing but useful.
    Also I had the honor/opportunity to play against Danny Seemiller at the US Open (he is 65 now) and this was the outcome: https://youtu.be/Q0AK0G0UYwk. So he played anti-top on one side. He has been in great shape at 65 and participated at the US Olympic Qualifiers this year. So it can be done, if you are careful not to hurt yourself.

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    #6
    Thanks for the message and video Erwin. I am lucky enough to be fairly fit but your advice on stretching is a good one. I am told that I have decent shots on both sides so I am not going down the dodgy rubber route at this time.

    My main problem is that I am not a natural athlete and do not have the hand eye co-ordination of a good player. I use a coach and train hard just to be reasonably competitive. This gets back to the original question- can you take up the sport later in life and become a high level player?

    I suppose that if I had been a talented squash, badminton or tennis player it would have been easier to transfer to table tennis. However I am not sure if even a talented sportsman with a year or two of training would easily beat a variety of players (attacking, defensive, penhold, long pimples etc) to win a tournament.

  7. vvk1 is offline
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    #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Silver smasher
    I started playing seriously at 60 and my aim is simply to become a decent local league player. It seems that most of the quality older players I meet have been playing for many years and often were good juniors.

    Do you know of any top veteran players who were not top junior players? Is it possible to become good enough to play at the veteran world championships after taking up table tennis at 30 or 40?
    Anyone over 40 can enter the VWC if they can afford the registration fees + travel and hotel costs. No need to be a "quality player".

  8. yoass is offline
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    #8
    I started playing again after about 35 years, and have been training steadily. If my rating shows my development, then this tells a tale. The curve that fits best seems to be a line, with two bumps related to periods of injury and one current bump related to both COVID-19 and injury.
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    Not getting injured (or recovering better/faster) is a main concern.

  9. Lula is offline
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    #9
    Everyone can develop!

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  10. Kuba Hajto is offline
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    #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Lula
    Everyone can develop!
    Agreed, it's a matter of environment and resolution. The more love and effort you put in, the more and quicker you develop. I love that feeling of beating opponents I couldn't previously.

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  11. UpSideDownCarl is offline
    says I like to hit Heavy Topspin
     
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    #11
    So, this is info.

    I know a guy who is a coach. He is a pretty good coach for any level up to about 2200 USATT level He could coach people higher than that. But I know a lot of good coaches who would probably be better for players higher level than that. But this guy is amazing at working with people who are adult learners who seem like they just have no talent for the sport/game.

    Now, there are two people I know, who this guy coached who started at a level that was really quite low. One was a woman. One was a man. The woman was in her late 50s or early 60s when he started working with her. The man was mid 60s. The woman had trouble even making contact with the ball a lot of the time. To me, the amount they both got better working with this one particular coach was pretty staggering.

    I am confident that if it was any of the other coaches I know, who are all great coaches, these two would not have gotten as good as they did with the coach the ended up working with. This guy just has a way of working with adult learners that seems to be quiet effective.

    How good did they get? Well, I would say, going from not being able to put the racket on the ball on a consistent basis to 1200-1300 is pretty darn good improvement. And that is what looked like happened from where I stood. But I did not have a tournament rating to look at. She may have played tournaments. But I don't think so.

    The guy showed pretty remarkable improvement as well. Not sure of a real rating for him either. But he got to what I feel is a pretty respectable level. But of them started quite late. Both of them started without table tennis or other racket sport experience.

    But, with a coach that was working with them the way he would with younger players, they would not have made anywhere near as much progress. The coach worked with them in a way that was very effective for getting adult learners to make real improvements. Yes, the determination and dedication that these two had, the time these two invested in improving was a big determining factor as well. But without the way this coach worked with them, I am pretty confident they would not have made the kind of improvements they did.
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  12. Lula is offline
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    #12
    From my experience adults in general are better than kids. Feel like they are more motivated because they have more limited time so they really choose to be there, have better attention span and have easier to grasp what you really want to say. So talking about playing styles and tactics are easier as well.

    Do not like the use of talent. Feel it is to undefined. Feel like talent could be that you are good at listening or a lot of things.

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  13. UpSideDownCarl is offline
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    #13
    This is why I included the words: "seem like": "who seem like they have no talent for the game/sport."

    But I think you are 100% correct in what you say. And this coach was excellent at getting the two I described to understand strategies and tactics that they could use to their advantage.

    And clearly, these two ended up becoming fairly decent players even if it "seemed like" they had no "talent" for the sport. So, that was part of the point. And, it sounds like the OP's question is about whether there are people like him, who start without much background in the sport and can work to become solid players even when starting at an age like 60. So the two I was talking about are two people who started off at very beginner levels, never played when they were younger, and went on and improved to what, in my estimation, are fairly decent levels.

    Would either win the over 40 or over 60 at the US Open. No. But they became decently competent players.
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  14. Der_Echte is offline
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    #14
    @Silver Smasher....

    We would need to know what you define as a Quality Veteran Player.

    TTD Member MOG has a number of videos in his threads.

    Is the standard you seeking lower, similar, higher, or much higher?

    Thanks.
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    #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Der_Echte
    @Silver Smasher....

    We would need to know what you define as a Quality Veteran Player.

    TTD Member MOG has a number of videos in his threads.

    Is the standard you seeking lower, similar, higher, or much higher?

    Thanks.
    Poor Mog, is he the baseline now for passable veteran play?

    Also, someone new to the game probably can't quite tell what's going on in a match like that and the desire to want to get to a decent level is relative to what happens around you IRL. For me, decent level just always meant not wanting to be the guy that no-one wants to play with.

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    #16
    Quote Originally Posted by UpSideDownCarl
    So, this is info.

    I know a guy who is a coach. He is a pretty good coach for any level up to about 2200 USATT level He could coach people higher than that. But I know a lot of good coaches who would probably be better for players higher level than that. But this guy is amazing at working with people who are adult learners who seem like they just have no talent for the sport/game.

    Now, there are two people I know, who this guy coached who started at a level that was really quite low. One was a woman. One was a man. The woman was in her late 50s or early 60s when he started working with her. The man was mid 60s. The woman had trouble even making contact with the ball a lot of the time. To me, the amount they both got better working with this one particular coach was pretty staggering.

    I am confident that if it was any of the other coaches I know, who are all great coaches, these two would not have gotten as good as they did with the coach the ended up working with. This guy just has a way of working with adult learners that seems to be quiet effective.

    How good did they get? Well, I would say, going from not being able to put the racket on the ball on a consistent basis to 1200-1300 is pretty darn good improvement. And that is what looked like happened from where I stood. But I did not have a tournament rating to look at. She may have played tournaments. But I don't think so.

    The guy showed pretty remarkable improvement as well. Not sure of a real rating for him either. But he got to what I feel is a pretty respectable level. But of them started quite late. Both of them started without table tennis or other racket sport experience.

    But, with a coach that was working with them the way he would with younger players, they would not have made anywhere near as much progress. The coach worked with them in a way that was very effective for getting adult learners to make real improvements. Yes, the determination and dedication that these two had, the time these two invested in improving was a big determining factor as well. But without the way this coach worked with them, I am pretty confident they would not have made the kind of improvements they did.
    What do you think this coach did differently? 1 coach here started a new player in his 60s on antispin on the backhand to help him be competitive quicker (not sure if It's worked).

  17. Der_Echte is offline
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    #17
    Quote Originally Posted by SofaChamp
    Poor Mog, is he the baseline now for passable veteran play?

    Also, someone new to the game probably can't quite tell what's going on in a match like that and the desire to want to get to a decent level is relative to what happens around you IRL. For me, decent level just always meant not wanting to be the guy that no-one wants to play with.
    Soory, it is not to disparage MOG or "Poor Ole MOG".

    MOG is a recognizable England vet with video footage available and a known standard.

    Car is advocating that a good standard for a player starting late 50s or into 60s is a standards many levels below MOG.

    I asked the OP to define his desired standard for what in his opinion is a Quality Vet Player by comparing to MOG as I kow MOG's standard and his vids are easy enough to spot and see.
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  18. Lula is offline
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    #18
    Probably depends on what is available? Have started organized adult training again so here they have some possibilities. If there are possibilities like this the adults will come. We are more than 30 players every time.

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    #19
    In my club one of the coaches have started playing at age of 40.
    Now he is coaching the children team and is an excellent player and coach.

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    #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Silver smasher
    I started playing seriously at 60 and my aim is simply to become a decent local league player. It seems that most of the quality older players I meet have been playing for many years and often were good juniors.

    Do you know of any top veteran players who were not top junior players? Is it possible to become good enough to play at the veteran world championships after taking up table tennis at 30 or 40?
    I think it depends on the age that you start.

    I've started playing at the age of 39 (now I'm 45), but for the last 6 years I've been training very hard, 4-5 times a week, 2-3 hours per day with drills and training kids that are playing at very high level.
    I'm in very good physical condition and exercise daily.

    After all this time and given all these factors, I've improved a lot and I've even beaten veterans that have been playing since childhood.

    But I don't know if I could have improved that much, if I had stared playing at the age of 60. I find it highly unlikely.

    If you train daily, I guess that you can become a decent local league player, players with many years of experience that played competition leagues as children, will be out of your reach, because they are too experienced.

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