I once received an anonymous message on this site accusing me of 'trying to wind back the clock' as I was still rather focused on playing tournaments as well as coaching. My reply from memory was simple as I stated that if a coach can still move then they should in my opinion still play the occasional competition. The reasons add up if you take the time to think about it;
Inspiring your students.
Showing your students that you can actually hit a ball under pressure, not just in practice.
Supporting local events.
Keeping the thought process active rather than just going from memory.
There are no doubt many more reasons why a coach of tennis should give it a go but I believe that those four examples top the list.
I looked up the results of a recent Country Championship where teams from all around our State took part and the thing that struck me most was that the students' coaches also took part in the senior events. That to me is inspiring to read because it shows a lack of fear and it would have been inspirational for those junior players to witness their mentors having a red hot go also because a kid will look up to the person who teaches them.
If that person, mentor, coach is leading by example then I think that is probably a huge factor in driving a student to become better at the game.
I recently wrote on my site a post titled 'AN EXPERIMENT' ( Silly Idea ) where I detailed my thoughts on a couple of local tournaments I competed in, a singles and a doubles event. It was irrelevant that I had success in both of those events, it was more important that I simply played because at age 48, well I suppose you are not expected to trouble the score board.
Is however that last statement an excuse for many ?
I once read that the great John McEnroe was still classed as the 'best over 50 player in the World' and that when you think about it, is rather inspiring but it's who John is, he's competitive even at age 55 plus.
Several years ago Bjorn Borg at age 54 took on Jim Courier in a singles exhibition match but I can guarantee you that Borg wanted to still gain some respect. Courier, at around 15 years younger took the match 3 and 6. Not bad for an 'old bloke' Bjorn.
Remember also that with a guy like Courier, he still hits with current Davis Cup players as he is the Captain of the US team and Borg is simply playing for pride and from a very long memory, that's inspiring once again.
Was I really trying to 'wind back the clock' as I was accused of by that anonymous messenger ? I think it has more to do with trying to stay in the game and not gather cobwebs because many coaches and mentors of the sport of tennis do this way too early and regret it later. We all go through stages in tennis, loving it, hating it, craving for the adrenalin rush once again, despising it for what it does to us physically and mentally, yet we keep coming back to it , well some do anyhow.
My theory on it is simple, you are a long time retired, many years to sit back and think about how good it was to be able to play a sport that can do so many things to us both physically and mentally whether good or bad yet we can look upon it all as a test of character. So I ask the obvious question, do you own character or do you just own an ability to hit a tennis ball ?
Any coach of the sport of tennis who owns an astute mind will tell you that character is what defines you as a person and a player and possibly the number one thing that a player or even coach for that matter requires for either success or respect.
There are many active tennis coaches out there and I take my hat off to all of them because their students are the ones who will reap the rewards of an 'active' mentor whereas a coach who simply goes from memory and You Tube instruction is lacking a hands on approach to their tuition.
Give it a go if you still can, play a Mixed Doubles event for a bit of fun, no one says you have to play 15 year old kids in singles who can run all day but show you actually still know how to compete. Justifying your $60 to $80 an hour price tag is something that is important to the consumer.
Do we put a limit on age do you think ?
I will post that clip of Courier and Borg on this site and you take a look at the physique and ability of Bjorn at age 54. You tell me whether or not you are a bit 'soft' for not still having a go at your age.......