http://www.seniorsoftballstore.com

 
SIGN IN:   Password     »Sign up

Message board   »Message Board home    »Sign-in or register to get started

Online now: 4 members: Powerandspeed, hector, kipper, mdwhite58; 72 anonymous
Change topic:

Discussion: Why Do Some Guys Lose It Sooner

Posted Discussion
June 26, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
Why Do Some Guys Lose It Sooner
Approaching 70, and having played SB for 5 years, I note big individual differences in how soon batters lose the ability to drive the ball as they did in prior years. I recognize that age is an obvious factor and that scientifically it is proven that we lose muscle mass as we age, but I think I am seeing more.
Is it as simple as some guys just work out harder and smarter and keep what they have longer? I think this is part of it.
Is it genetics? Probably to some degree, but science can't prove it, but can show how far your cells have aged. One other factor I have noticed which might only apply to rec players: it seems some guys just lose the desire to attack the ball. This just might be a corollary of not being in shape, but I think it is independent. I am wondering if others have any thoughts on this and if others have advice on how to stave off the inevitable as long as possible. Your thoughts?
June 26, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
I would say most of it is genetics and how much effort you put into playing at your best and using your years of experience to compensate for your declining physical skills.

At 80 I am having one of my best years hitting and pitching. Fielding depends on the condition of my legs that day with my neuropathy in my feet and lower legs. My mind says move but my legs say forget it.

I play with 10 other 80 yr old's in my league that can't do half the things I do. I also work out everyday hitting and pitching trying to better myself which also helps.

My objective is to try to stay up with Angie (Inside joke).
June 27, 2013
Omar Khayyam
989 posts
HJ, good question. I play in a mixed age rec league so I have watched guys age into their 70s and 80s for almost 15 years (and I've watched myself). Very, very few of these guys are workout guys in the sense I think you mean. They might ride a bike on a day they're not playing softball, or go golfing, or maybe swim, but working out to build muscle mass? Nope.

Most were never guys who had the inclination or time to regularly work out, so it is age and genetics catching up with them. I also think you are on to something about desire to drive the ball. I see it a bit differently. As one's muscles weaken, and the player is no longer able to hit the fence or over, or even drive the ball for doubles, they wisely change their swing. I've seen guys learn to go to all fields to compensate. Others aim better for the gaps; some now try to hit the 5-6 hole; some take more walks. In other words, they are using their experience to get on base.

I think Fred S is an exception in having the time and desire to better himself physically every day. Not normal for most aging players (as he implies himself about his 80s teammates). And don't forget the large percentage of older guys who have just stopped playing because the game has changed for them and is no longer as fun (emphasis on slugging versus defense, base running, strategy). There should be 10-15% more teams in senior ball than there were 15 years ago because of better health and more opportunities, but actually in our area, the number of senior teams is shrinking relative to the senior population.

Personally, I am more like Fred in that I have joined a gym and ride an exercise bike to keep my legs in shape, but I can't say my hitting is better than it was 5 years ago. Time is taking its toll. I keep playing because of the camaraderie and my love for the game, but I would enjoy it more if we returned to single wall aluminum days, even with the hot balls. Lots of my peers and former teammates have left today's hotter bat game. Aging guys who primarily value offense have compensated by spending thousands on the latest hot composite, and they fiercely defend their Mikens and today's hot game, but they are the minority in my opinion and the numbers show it.
June 27, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Wow-HJ what a great thread idea. Fred S.-you are my new hero for playing at 80 plus! And with neuropathy to boot. I also have that-I refer to it later in this thread. I recently had an experience that opened my eyes to how lucky we are to still be playing this game at our ages. A man I played with almost 35 yrs ago lost his son, who used to play with my son at the age of 2-3 yrs old. I hadn't seen that player for at least 30 yrs. Two other teammates arranged for the 4 of us to have a drink with the son in his honor and I hadn't seen them much over that 30 years either. The man who lost his son has Parkinson's. The second friend had 2 strokes, but is doing ok. The third man had a heart attack, but is also doing ok. I don't believe any of the 3 could even play any more. They think I'm nuts for still playing, but I would disagree. This game has given me a reason to work out hard and stay in shape over the years. I have put well over 30,000 miles on bicycles riding outside (the only way to do it). Yes, I worked my jobs long hours all my life, but I MADE time to work out and stay in at least reasonable shape-and I still do. My father never played a sport, and has had neuropathy for 30 years, and I now have the beginning stages of it. At my age he was already struggling with it. But the motivation to still play and stay in shape and compete is helping forestall the inevitable, in my humble opinion. I also still carry over a 200 average bowling despite very sporadic participation in the last 20 years. I will not stop playing any games that I can until I absolutely can't play an more.
I also remember a friend on my old team that hit about 40 hr's or so in 1980. That was good back then. In 1981 he hit 2 and quit the next year. He lost it at 35 yrs old and never regained it. Who knows-was it mental or physical?? We will never know.
As far as muscle mass-I don't think Fred Purvis has lost anything there at 65 yrs old as he still bench presses 405 pounds. Yes, 405!! Think that is defying growing old?
June 27, 2013
Ceres
63 posts
In a class given by Larry Wier, the Fitness director at the Johnson Space Center he explained that as we get elderly our fat% increases and our muscle% decreases.So we become weaker eventhough our weight stays the same. Webbie25 what did Fred bench at 25? What will he bench at 75? I'm happy you're still giving it a go.

HJ, I do know eye black won't make us stronger.
June 28, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
I will ask Fred when I see him what he lifted at 25, Ceres. But he is an amazing 'specimen'.
June 28, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
Ceres raises a point I would like to discuss.
Simply put, since as you get older you lose muscle and gain fat, if your weight stays the same as you get older, you are getting fatter as a % of your body weight. Think of the out of shape old guys with thin arms and big fat bellies.
I have come to the conclusion that unless you are very thin you must lose a pound or 2 a year to maintain fitness. In my experience, I think the heavier guys deteriorate faster, but this is maybe just saying the obvious that the thinner guys are in better shape. Thin really isn't the right term, actually it is % of weight which is fat. That said, I am having problems keeping my weight down, lifting and running but I know if I don't I will decline faster.
June 28, 2013
batter4u
Men's 65
74 posts
There are many things that are involved here. Genetics is one of the biggest ones, but much can be over come or compensated for with lifestyle. I know some guys who live a pretty unactive lifestyle and when they go to tourneys, usually play good for a couple of games then don t understand why their game goes downhill or they end up pulling a muscle or getting hurt. I ve been a personal trainer for years and have have seen some dramatic changes in clients from ages 18 to 92 with lifestyle changes,,, bottom line for me is your stuck with the Genetics that God gives you but the rest depends on your commitment to yourself
June 28, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
Never lifted weights in my life or worked out in a gym. I find it very boring. In fact I never played sports till I was 59, after a bout with Leukemia, I was looking for a challenge and found the Senior League which had just started up. The only weights I lift are 2 5Lb dumbbells I work out with a little so I can swing my 30 oz PST's.

I do a lot of hitting a pitching on off days and maybe 10 mins on treadmill at night. Because I am playing 4-5 days a weed I have cut back on treadmill.

I did bowl (Candlepin) a lot when I was younger may 50 strings a week.

When I first started I was the player you hoped wouldn't show up. But I was lucky that I got in with a few players that loved to play and practice and we would spend 2 hrs hitting and fielding balls after our games and eventually I got to be pretty good.
June 28, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
A further take on wht batter4u said, I notice guys who are in pretty good shape who play in multiple leagues and then practice many times a week. In many cases their play totally peters out in the dog days of summer. They lose all power and become ineffective hitters. Does anyone have any guidelines as to when it is too much. Enthusiasm is great but too much is too much.
June 28, 2013
Fred S
Men's 80
80 posts
You have to let your body tell you when it is time to take a day off. I don't think there is any guide line as everyone is different. I know players a lot younger than me that can't play 2 days in a row. For me I would say 4 days of games or 6 days with maybe 3 games and 3 days of light practice is about Max then need a day off which is usually Friday's.
June 28, 2013
Lecak
Men's 55
1006 posts
I can't speak to the losing it end but as too rest I've had to rethink what appropriate rest is due to the type of activities I'm involved with. From a training standpoint I found that a heart rate monitor has significantly changed the way I train. Once you know what your heart is doing the group I train with have significantly increased our workload. I'm training with a 30 year old who has gone from 270 lbs to 200 lbs in 5 months with tremendous increases in strength and athletic movement. We both sought out advice and rest is quite important. We train very hard 3 days a week with complete rest 2 days and then light activity the other 2. I personally would not attempt to play softball on the 3 days we train hard. We have also noticed we can't eat the same. Proper rest and nutrition became very integral to what we are attempting to accomplish.
June 28, 2013
Rightrj
Men's 50
56 posts
What I have notice in a lot of guys is their water intake...Don't get me wrong everyone's body is different * I really believe most folks don't listen to their bodies...I do the Spin Bike 3 days a week & hit BP twice a week, but the thing that I truly believe keeps me going is my WATER intake....I drink on a daily bases at least 100oz a day...I can sweat with the best of them, which in my opinion makes me always cleaning & flushing out that crap that we put in our bodies! Most young people do not like & won’t drink water! Try increasing your water intake & see what it does to your Stamina?
I'm 57 & take NO medication what's so ever!
June 28, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Lots of great points here. Joe, your point about not attempting to play softball is something I discovered in my regimen. If I do a 20-30 mile bicycle ride, I am absolutely ineffective hitting the next day. No legs. So I have to space it out around softball. I also stop training a week before a major tournament to rest everything so I am strong for the tournament. HJ, the point about the summer 'doldrums' is very valid-the heat can wear you down, especially in the west where days under 90 are rare. Genetics are also huge. If you have a predisposition toward, say, extra weight, it becomes a battle all your life to fight that. And the older we get, the harder it is to get it off. I know-I can't seem to get that extra 7 lbs of this year.
June 29, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
Rightrj, living in L.A. water intake may be more of an issue than in other parts of the country. I
agree to listen to your body, but excessive automatic hydrating can be dangerous by depleting
sodium. More people die in marathons from drinking too much water than from heat prostration. Recent articles I have read suggest not overhydrating before events. Elite runners do not drink during races as a generalization. One tip, fatigue is generally caused by the brain saying enough. A tiny bit of sugar added to plain water can trick the brain and overcome fatigue for a while.
Webbie: great points about rest and recovery. I too am fighting weight loss and think a personal trainer may be necessary for the incentive to really work out and lose the final pounds.
a while
June 30, 2013
Rightrj
Men's 50
56 posts
HJ,
Thanks for the tip...I too have read those studies...My question would be what is too much water intake.....For me I think my intake is correct, if you had a chance to see how much I sweat on a give day, you might agree with my intake!...I'm not over weight...6'2 215 but let's take a 3 game day on a 80 degrees day, I may go though 3- 5 shirts SOAKED! I will take some Electro ligths on very warm days for playing but always drinking water....
July 1, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
Rightrj, taking no meds at 57 and being healthy means you are doing most if not everything right.
Anyone who plays 3 games in 1 day in hot weather most be cognizant of staying hydrated. That said, there is concern for those who are not in your shape who just automatically hydrate w/o letting thirst be the guide. Clearly with the heat now affecting the west dehydration should be the main
concern. But for others playing 1 game in less severe weather the opposite may be the concern.
As a low carber I eat a lot of salt normally which mitigates water loss.
July 1, 2013
tg69
307 posts
HJ, heres something to take into consideration.Some of us never had it to start with so no problem loosing it.Just a hard fact.
July 2, 2013
Ceres
63 posts
Hj, The tips from this thread are very helpful. I believe they pertain to most of us. Then there are the "Specimens" like Fred S, Fred Purvis, and tg69.
July 2, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
tg69, I am not sure what you are saying. I realize that the starting point differs for each of us. My concern is what makes a player at any level seem to deteriorate suddenly and fast. It is possible that the decline is in fact gradual and my impression of rapid decline is just wrong.
I do think I see rapid decline in some on a year to year basis. As an outfielder I am conscious that we start crowding in on the guys who just don't drive it like they use to. One thought, there may be medical issues which become sudden major issues but which are not publicized. Restated, there may be more going on then meets the eye.
Sept. 4, 2013
Super V 10
Men's 50
69 posts
Wow, there are 19 replies on this thread and nobody said anything about TESTOSTERONE when thats the number one reason why men lose it that fast when they get into there later years,
Guys If you fill like you have lost it go to your Dr and get you test levels checked (simple blood test)
Every man over 50 should get tested once a year

Webbie: you need to get a hold of Fred and tell him he just broke the senior USA Powerlifting bench press American RAW record by 52lbs

Dave Velasquez
Sept. 4, 2013
Allan55
79 posts
HJ,
Most of us would agree that as we age, we lose muscle mass and increase the percentage of fat in our bodies. However, to address your point regarding driving the ball, I would like to point out there are a large percentage of players who "muscle the ball" rather than use proper mechanics. These players use mostly their upper bodies. As these players lose muscle, it becomes difficult to "drive the ball." These players will find it difficult to use different muscles to compensate for the power loss. That is why you will see some older players changing their swings. My suggestion is look to your legs and hips. The legs and hips are extremely important in the swing. Another point is older players lose flexibility. All players need to work on their flexibility. That will keep your swing stronger for a longer period of time.
Sept. 5, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
Dave-Fred knows it-it has been a matter of getting the records certified. But he got injured this summer so unfortunately he may not ever get to do it.
Sept. 5, 2013
Tri18
607 posts
Dave,
You brought up a great point. It's a medically proven fact that our bodies begin to slow testosterone production as we age. This has numerous negative ramifications on a man mentally, physically, and emotionally. This is the very reason that I created an all natural Men's Performance Formula. Look on the ssusa message board under product review to learn about it. It's further explained on my website. Btw.....with all the research studies we did to develop it did you know.....put a 50 year old man in a Porsche for 20-30 minutes. Measure his testosterone levels before the ride and then after the ride.....almost every subject tested.....markedly higher levels after driving the Porsche.
AlanTanner
Www.team1sports.us
Sept. 5, 2013
HJ
Men's 70
437 posts
Allan55, great post. It seems totally logical.What technique changes do you see which work for upper body hitters who have lost their power? I see former long ball hitters in my rec league becoming placement singles hitters. We crowd them and try to have them hit it over our heads which usually is ineffective for them.











Sept. 5, 2013
Enviro-Vac
Men's 60
391 posts
Tri18 - love it - drive a Porsche
Sept. 5, 2013
Tri18
607 posts
Vac,
True story...! After developing Performance Formula AND driving my Porsche daily....I got too jacked up so I just traded in the Porsche on a RV !
Good luck this year.
Alan
Team 1 Sports
Sept. 5, 2013
Tim Millette
481 posts
Im not buying that porsche thing.....In my town all the middle age Porsche drivers drive right past the softball fields on their way to the country club.
Their porches of choice is something called a Rolf?

Even though I have not played more then 15 rounds of golf since high school I am usually in the top three in/or winning the long distance contest at the school fund raiser"...that testosterone stuff must not help club speed.

On the losing it thing.....in the vast majority of senior ball home runs are overrated....a lot of the time they count as walks or outs....I'd say losing it has more to do with defense/foot speed/flexability and arm strength.
Sept. 5, 2013
Allan55
79 posts
HJ,
I will start off by saying it is difficult to teach an old dog new tricks. I will also mention one method will not work for everyone. Having said that, when I was just starting the game of softball, a player asked me if I wanted to hit the ball farther. I thought that was a "no brainer question." My response was, "Doesn't everyone?" He then informed me I needed to do ball toss or get a tee and hit balls into a fence. So I went to the worst looking chain-link backstop with some old softballs and an old bat and basically straightened the fence. Hitting the ball was only part of the drill. Hitting through the ball, as if there were two balls was the drill. My swing began to lengthen. I could also feel my wrists and triceps getting stronger and the ball did go farther in games. It did take hours and hours of practice. Biceps may look good at the beach, but strong wrists and triceps will benefit you more in softball. The wrist exercises are basic. Just get a PVC pipe and tie a 5 pound weight to it for starters. Then roll the weight up. When it comes to tricep workouts, I will do 3 tricep exercises to 1 bicep exercise. The goal is to have strong extension in the swing. I hope this helps.
Sept. 6, 2013
Duke
Men's 60
702 posts
I think as we get older, our reaction times and strength will decrease. It will be different for each player. I strongly believe that the better older players are those that do not stop playing. If you continue to play a lot, then you will retain most of your skill, at whatever level you might be at.

Andy Smith,
55/60 Major
Sept. 7, 2013
phantomf4j
21 posts
Well, here is what I believe about skill maintenance as we get older. If one has been taught and has very good mechanics on the field, that will take him a long way down the road as he ages. It will never be more important than strength and speed, but he can survive as a good player for years if he has a good basic skill level for playing the game. Good hand-eye coordination is also important, but if the guys knows how to field the ball, hit the ball and play smart, he can be an asset on most senior teams. The other important aspect for a senior player is being savvy and understand what is happening around him during the game. For instance, I am amazed that senior guys seem to forget to ask themselves, "What will I do if the ball is hit to me on the next pitch." They forget about runners on base; they forget to hit the cutoff man; they do not run the bases intelligently; they hit to the left side with the bases loaded, etc. These are basics, that if mastered, will make that player effective even as he gets older. If a player has forgotten these important aspects of the game, he can watch and learn and recapture those abilities. Once he loses those pieces of the game, he is less likely to be productive or valuable to a team.
Sept. 7, 2013
Webbie25
Men's 60
1964 posts
I agree wholeheartedly with the never stop playing comment. Some people tell me that I am getting better as I get older. I tell them NO, I am getting worse, but slower than a lot of people. It's all relevant. I really think now that SSUSA has it right with 5 year divisions. The older we get, the deterioration seems to increase. There is a big difference watching each age division compete. Example: I feel like I am running just as fast as I did a few years ago. It just takes me longer to get to the next base. I'm just trying to delay the aging process. But, got a feeling I'm going to lose that one!
Sept. 7, 2013
Omar Khayyam
989 posts
Webbie has it right. I have always run as fast as I can to first base, particularly on a ground ball or a popup. You won't catch me pounding my bat down on the ground or loafing down to first. So this year, entering my seventh decade of playing league softball, I am still running as fast as I can. What I can't figure out is how third basemen and shortstops, who no longer have the whip arms they used to have, can still throw me out! It can't be that I am slower—I am running as fast as I can!
Sept. 7, 2013
Wes
Men's 65
311 posts
The easy answer is what your and my coachs have told us when we
started little league YOU PLAY LIKE YOU PRACTICE and practice
includes ALL OF THE ABOVE
Sept. 8, 2013
DCPete
234 posts
Believe it was Charles Barkley who said: "The older I get, the better I used to be"
Sign-in to reply or add to a discussion or post your own message and start a new discussion. If you don't have a message board account, please register for a free nickname. It will only take a moment.
Senior Softball-USA
Phone: (916) 326-5303
Fax: (916) 326-5304
2701 K Street, Suite 101A
Sacramento, CA 95816
Send us e-mail
Senior Softball-USA is dedicated to informing and uniting the Senior Softball Players of America and the World. Senior Softball-USA sanctions tournaments and championships, registers players, writes the rulebook, publishes Senior Softball-USA News, hosts International Softball Tours and promotes Senior Softball throughout the world. More than 1.5 million men and women over 40 play Senior Softball in the United States today. »SSUSA History  »Privacy policy

Follow us on Facebook

Partners