Seaside Director of Racquet Sports and Owner of 30A Tennis Tracy Townsend Talks Aging on the Courts

I know everyone has played that very slow player on the tennis courts. It feels like you are aging as the match marches on. That is not the aging that I want to talk about, though.

When I was young, I loved to run around the tennis court. I always kiddingly said I was faster than a car. I could literally run the ball down from almost anywhere. That speed was what I built my tennis game around. I could stay on the baseline and run down ball after ball until my opponent failed, or serve and volley over and over until my opponent was sick of seeing me put volleys away at the net. 

Flash forward a few years, and the speed somewhat leaves you. But the experience you’ve gained through the years enables you to cut more balls off with better angles. That experience helps you to be smarter in every aspect of play. Your shot selection improves. You learn some shots aren’t actually worth running for. You learn to pace yourself for the long haul. Experience and strategy replace incredible speed as your weapons on the court.

Keep flashing forward in your tennis career. Now you have injuries or body parts that don’t allow you to play like you once did. Speed is just a memory. You tell your body to run, to move faster, but it just doesn’t work. But now, all the years later, you have developed a lob and a drop shot. You have developed an attitude and, together with your newfound weapons, you get to make your opponents run instead of you doing all the work. You can now move the ball around all over the court. Players call you “crafty” and a few other names, but you take all references as compliments now. 

And now, you truly love the game. You always did enjoy it, but time really does give you an appreciation for the game that is just wonderful. It has given you health, success and failure, and you now know how to deal with it all. It has given you lifelong friendships. It may have even given you a lifelong adversary, that one player you just loved to beat or could never beat. 

Aging through your tennis career is a true journey. I hope you all learn to enjoy it as much as I have. Even in the latter stages of your career, you are able to learn new things. Learn new stretches. Learn to focus better. Learn to relax both on and off court. You can keep growing. How many things in life let you do that as you age?  It is a wonderful, lifelong game. Keep swinging!


Tennis Eye Opener Clinics, Mon-Sun. 8 – 9 a.m., Mon.-Thurs. 9-10 a.m., and Mon-Thurs. 10-11 a.m.

Tennis Round Robins, Fri.-Sun. 9 -10:30 a.m.

Intro to Pickleball, Mon. 10-11 a.m. (except holidays)

Courts are open for play daily 8 a.m.- dusk. Please call (850) 231-2214 to reserve courts, book lessons or sign-up for clinics and round robins. Find 30A TENNIS and SEASIDE TENNIS on Facebook for weather updates, news and events.


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