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5 Tips to Keep Playing Tennis as You Age

By Patricia Sands September 26, 2023 Health and Fitness

The older I get, the more I realize that age is no reason to stop playing tennis, or any sport for that matter. In fact, as the “golden years” sneak up on us (really, what are they anyway?) and the demands of family and employment lessen, we may have more time to participate.

Needless to say, illness and ongoing health issues may not allow us to do everything we wish, but that can be a factor at any point in life. Allow me the liberty of assuming you do not have any serious limitations and you do have an interest in the game of tennis.

There appears to be some evidence of the game being played as far back in time as ancient Greece. However, records usually refer to the game of “Paume” (Palm) played in 12th Century France as the beginning of tennis as we know it today.

Tennis smashed onto the worldwide athletic scene soon after its modern rules and equipment were introduced in 19-century England. Exciting, competitive and uniquely accessible to people of all ages and talent levels, tennis continues to enjoy popularity, both as a recreational activity and a spectator sport. Now it is possible to follow the tour practically all year.

Tennis Is Fun

You laugh a lot more playing tennis than you do playing golf, that’s for certain! Most of the people I play with are over 50, and some are in their mid-80s.

There is no shortage of competitive spirit and those who may not be able to scramble like they used to, can still play a good game of doubles. Several of the seniors have just taken up the game and enjoy it tremendously.

I’m willing to bet there are tennis clubs in your neighborhood, both private and public, and groups of people of all ages that would welcome you. Playing tennis is a fabulous way to socialize, too.

Like anything else, lessons are essential to get started and there will always be groups to join at your level. Once you learn the game, your enjoyment watching the action on television or attending tournaments will be enhanced.

Tom Sweitzer, a USPTA Master Tennis Professional at Blue Ridge Country Club, offers up the following helpful tips for seniors to improve their game and have fun while playing tennis.

Tip # 1: Improve Your Strokes

You want to have effortless strokes, which allows for maximum control and power with minimal effort. Young guys can stand on their head when they hit the ball, but bad mechanics really show up when you get older. Better strokes lead to better play – and for seniors, fewer injuries.

Tip # 2: Play Within Your Abilities

Seniors should play within their abilities. A typical injury occurs when you are hitting back and forth, and a player will run after a drop shot like they are 20-years old. If you are 50, you have to, at some point, realize you don’t play like you are 20. Use realistic judgment and know your limitations.

Tip # 3: Take Time to Rest

Smart senior players realize the body needs to recharge and will play every other day instead of every day. Even the top five players in the world know the body needs to recharge, so you have to know your own time table for recovery.

Tip # 4: Choose a Clay Court

The sooner a senior player starts playing on a clay court, the better it will be on their joints. Not only from a physical standpoint in extending a career, but it also teaches you to control the ball better. Playing on a clay court also cuts down the heat index.

A hard court will burn the skin right off when you touch it, a clay court is dirt and is watered regularly. The biggest growth in USTA (United States Tennis Association) tennis is with seniors and super seniors and most of them are playing on clay courts.

Tip # 5: Choose the Best Time of Day

We’ve had some pretty hot days, so it’s important to play in the morning or in the evening. Those are the best times to play for seniors because you can play longer and don’t get drained. We schedule USTA team matches at 6 p.m. because you aren’t getting the direct sun and the temperature decreases as much as 10 degrees.

No matter when you play, you want to take fluids as you lose fluids. Take in fluids a little at a time, every two games during a changeover.

It’s never too late to add a new activity to your life or pick up one you may have dropped some time ago. Just do it!

Let’s Have a Conversation:

Do you play tennis or some other sport? What tips have you adapted to the game as you have aged? Please share in the comments below.

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More senior women should take up the sport of tennis, even if it is to just “play patty cake” across the net. I have been playing since age 27, 73 now, and the game has done wonders for my health, appearance and social life. Movement will keep us young. No one can believe that I am in my 70’s.

Holly Schmitz

I’m 76 and still enjoying tennis — since I learned 40 years ago! Some of my tennis girlfriends are older, i.e. one is 83 and stilll running. We have great games as well as such fun and are supportive for each other. I know pickleball is the latest craze and I’ve played it quite a bit, but tennis is more with a certain group who become your close friends.

Yes, tennis is not the only workout necessary. I also do workout DVDs, walk my dogs, learning to Efoil surf, hike, etc. My mind has unlimited desire for doing all that I enjoy. However, the body doesn’t always “recharge” as quicklly as I want. Now I have to go and do my DVD workout before I do the house work, yard work, errands, etc. There’s never enough time (and energhy) to get everything done!

Forgot to mention that I reccently divorced from my now transgendered husband and am raising my 15 year old grandson. I soooooo wish grandson woulld step up and help me more but it’s like pulllng teeth to get him to do so. He just doesn’t get it that I’m getting old and can’t do it all! Unfortunately since divorcce my income is at poverty level so can’t afford to hire help or pay my grandson the exhorbitant amount of money he can earn elsewhere. My husband was great about doing many things around the house and even liked to cook. Now she is my good friend but, unfortunately, doesn’t help with my household chores. She just bought a new home nearby and is selling her condo She will be very busy doing projects in her new home. We had fun while it lasted.for 20 years

I’ve been on the dating “rolller coaster” for 3 1/2 years. Ugh, such heartbreak. Since I’m a very active 76 year old, I’d like to have a guy in my life who is too. I’m beginning to think Mr. Right isn’t out there. Although I keep searching. My motto is “next”. And as far as getting everything done, I do as much as I can yet make sure I have time for tennis, and all the other things I love to do! It’s so important to still enjoy my life.

Joe d

Fitness & strength exercising are the keys for playing O60 tennis. As an O60, one knows how to play (strokes, technique etc). Longevity and enjoyment at this stage of one’s tennis journey is significantly helped by keeping to a regular fitness routine including the use of light weights (& high repetitions)..
Simply playing tennis every other day is not sufficient to maintain one’s level of play!

The Author

Patricia Sands is the author of the best-selling Love in Provence trilogy. Her fifth novel Drawing Lessons was published in October, 2017. She lives in Toronto, when she isn’t somewhere else, and calls the south of France her second home. Find out more at

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