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The Aging Athlete

                            (page 4 of this website)   

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                                   Glory Days

We’ve all had them. The question in my mind is how to be as athletic as possible the older one gets. Recently at dinner In between courses, a fifty something college basketball official shared valuable insights into athletes growing older. I commented on the fact he must work out intensely to be in such great shape. His reply “I always have.”

Always is a key concept. I’ll never forget my neighbor who always ran the number of miles of his birthday on his birthday. You can imagine the training that went into his 45th birthday run. Thankfully he has the right body shape, discipline and determination for it.

I used to work – out to be attractive to women. Now I work out to stay alive! Several of my closest friends inspire me, and keep me going. My 40 something friend charges the surf hard, right into Sports Illustrated Magazine, a true waterman. My fifty something buddy is still one of the fastest players on the basketball court, armed to the teeth with wisdom. My sixty something friend does 200 sit – ups every morning and surfs big waves all over the world most recently from a private yacht in the Indian Ocean no less.

A fifty something guy myself, I ski, swim, bike, golf, hike, play tennis and non competitive basketball. I was once a surfer, boxer, runner, football and baseball player. I’m fascinated with how people successfully unwind their athletic experiences into older age. I’m sure many would smirk at the term “athlete” being used loosely in this context. My only reply to this is what I see in the gym. It is clear to me whom are the folks that are athletic, and those who are not. Keep in mind most folks are at home watching television whatever their age.

Staying physically active for as long as possible is worthwhile goal. We can share, learn and be inspired by each other, and our friends. To get the conversation started I propose the following acronym “BEER”. Beer can serve as a springboard for ideas and a framework for the discussion. Hopefully this will result in a series of best practices which will enhance all our lives.

Why beer? It’s easy to remember and often times in one’s mind towards the end of a good work-out.

B – Balance

E – Energy

E – Exercise

R – Rest

Balance is key for 40+ athletes because it impacts so many athletic endeavors. It also enhances one’s rhythm which helps one to better get into the flow of life. Finally it helps prevent falling the number one enemy of the 40+ athlete.

Energy is central to a 40+ athletes because they need to stay active daily. As one gets older energy seems to be in shorter supply and we benefit from healthy ways of increasing it.

Exercise resulting in physical conditioning (staying in shape) is “core” for the 40+ athlete. Good decisions regarding types and durations of exercise are often times the difference between failure and success.

Rest and rehabilitation (making comebacks) are often times the least understood and underestimated factors in the longevity of the 40+ athlete.

Have any ideas to contribute on balance, energy, exercise, and rest. Do you know a 40+ athlete? Can you share tips, strategies, secrets to their success? Please email me @


                         Finding Your Sweet Spot

Instead start with a reasonably easy level of activity and improve on it by doing it just a little bit better than you did the last time. Rod was focused on hitting the ball a little better each time. He kept working on hitting the ball closer to the center of his racket, the sweet spot. Often times It might not have been until near the end of the match that he was hitting the ball more consistently in the sweet spot. It didn’t matter what the score was he was hitting the ball just a little bit better each time. At some point in the match he was winning his points while enjoying the sound that the tennis ball makes when it hits the sweet spot of his racket. His opponent was likely beating himself up over losing his huge lead, perhaps prematurely tasting victory. His opponent becomes discouraged by being so close to winning he begins to unravel like a cheap suit. Rod just keeps hitting the ball a little bit better than last time.

It’s good for the aging athlete to have goals. One worthy goal is make continuous improvement in whatever you’re doing little bits at a time. Forget the score especially the old ones, instead patiently focus on finding your sweet spot.

                                                           Rod Laver


Rodney George “Rod” Laver MBE (born 9 August 1938) is an Australian former tennis player who holds the record for titles won in career, and was the World No. 1 player for seven consecutive years, from 1964 to 1970 (from 1964 to 1967 in the professional circuit) . He is the only tennis player to have twice won the Grand Slam (all four major singles titles in the same year) – first as an amateur in 1962 and second as a professional in 1969. He is the only male player and was the first player, male or female, to have won the Grand Slam during the open era (in 1988 Steffi Graf also achieved this feat). Laver won eleven Majors and eight Pro Slams. In 1967 he also won the Professional Grand Slam (only Ken Rosewall did the same in 1963). In addition he won nine Championship Series titles (1970–75) the precursors to the current Masters 1000. Laver won and excelled on all the surfaces of his time (grass, clay and wood/parquet), and was ranked as the best professional player in the world during the five-year period he was excluded from the Grand Slam tournaments.[1][2][3][4][5][6][7][8] Rod Laver is the second and last male player to win each major title twice in his career. Only Roy Emerson and Margaret Court had won all four Grand Slam tournaments twice before Laver in the history of tennis. Laver is regarded as one of the two greatest tennis players of all time.[9] Within his slams there are also 6 in doubles and 3 in mixed doubles.


9 August 1938 (1938-08-09) (age 73)
Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia

1.73 m (5 ft 8 in)


Turned pro


Left-handed; one-handed backhand

Career prize money

Int. Tennis HOF
1981 (member page)


Career record
392–99 (79.8%) in the Open era as recorded by the ATP

Career titles
200 including 40 listed by the ATP

Highest ranking
No. 1

Grand Slam results

Australian Open
W (1960, 1962, 1969)

French Open
W (1962, 1969)

W (1961, 1962, 1968, 1969)

US Open
W (1962, 1969)


Career record
230–77 (74.9%) in the ATP statistics

Career titles
27 in the ATP statistics

Highest ranking
11 in the ATP statistics



A few Aging Athletes have managed to pull off a unique transition in their lives. In my experience this approach can be a blueprint for one’s sport transitions all throughout one’s life. From player to player coach, to official, to coach, to sports writer, blogger and eventually watching on T.V. as a fan of the sport (s) you love.

                                                                        Russell in February 2011

No. 6


Personal information

(1934-02-12) February 12, 1934 (age 78)
Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.

High school

Career information

San Francisco (1953–1956)

NBA Draft
1956 / Round: 1 / Pick: 2nd overall

Selected by the St. Louis Hawks

Pro career

Career history

As player:

Boston Celtics

As coach:

Boston Celtics

Seattle SuperSonics

Sacramento Kings

Career highlights and awards

Career statistics

14,522 (15.1 ppg)

21,620 (22.5 rpg)

4,100 (4.3 apg)

Stats at

Basketball Hall of Fame as player

FIBA Hall of Fame as player


Men's basketball

1956 Melbourne
Team competition

William Felton "Bill" Russell (born February 12, 1934) is a retired American professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). A five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player Award and a twelve-time All-Star, Russell was the centerpiece of the Celtics dynasty that won eleven NBA Championships during Russell's thirteen-year career. Along with Henri Richard of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens, Russell holds the record for the most championships won by an athlete in a North American sports league. Before his professional career, Russell led the University of San Francisco to two consecutive NCAA championships (1955, 1956). He also won a gold medal at the 1956 Summer Olympics as captain of the U.S. national basketball team.[1]

Russell is widely considered one of the best players in NBA history. Listed as between 6'9" (2.06 m) and 6'10" (2.08 m), Russell's shot-blocking and man-to-man defense were major reasons for the Celtics' success. He also inspired his teammates to elevate their own defensive play. Russell was equally notable for his rebounding abilities. He led the NBA in rebounds four times and tallied 21,620 total rebounds in his career. He is one of just two NBA players (the other being prominent rival Wilt Chamberlain) to have grabbed more than fifty rebounds in a game. Though never the focal point of the Celtics' offense, Russell also scored 14,522 career points and provided effective passing.

Playing in the wake of pioneers like Earl Lloyd, Chuck Cooper, and Sweetwater Clifton, Russell was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA. He also served a three-season (1966–69) stint as player-coach for the Celtics, becoming the first African American NBA coach.[1] Frequent battles with racism left Russell with a long-standing contempt for fans and journalists. When he retired, Russell left Boston with a bitter attitude, although in recent years his relationship with the city has improved. For his accomplishments in the Civil Rights Movement on and off the court, Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Barack Obama in 2011.

Russell is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame. He was selected into NBA 25th Anniversary Team in 1971, into NBA 35th Anniversary Team in 1980 and named as one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History in 1996, one of only four players that selected into all three teams. In 2007, he was enshrined in the FIBA Hall of Fame. In 2009, the NBA announced that the NBA Finals MVP trophy would be named the Bill Russell NBA Finals Most Valuable Player Award in honor of Russell.[2]

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