Peyton Manning of the Denver Broncos is 37 years of age. He is having a career year, even after having neck surgery two years ago. Dara Torres is another example, having qualified and medaled at the 2008 Beijing Olympics for team USA in swimming at the age of 41. Then there is Simon Whitfield who at 38 years of age, just retired in 2013 after a long and successful career, which included Gold at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. But the man who we might say has truly defied father time is Jamie Moyer, who at the age of 49 became the oldest pitcher to win a Major League baseball game.
These athletes are not the same as they were when they began their careers. Peyton Manning has learned to read defenses better than any other quarterback. In addition, he throws a lot of short passes which saves his arm from getting tired at the end of the season. The American swimmer, Dara Torres had 2 coaches, 2 masseuses and a chiropractor as part of her support team on her quest for making Beijing. Simon Whitfield had to learn to swim properly by studying video footage of his swimming form, since he could no longer rely on brute force. And in order to remain at the top, Jamie Moyer set his mind to focusing on the task at hand, established short-term goals and concentrated on just one pitch at a time.
As these athletes age, they have also changed the way they approach their profession. Injuries, competing against younger athletes and the changing nature of their sports means they have had to adjust to changes occurring within the sport and with their bodies. Since they are not as young in terms of athletic longevity, they have to:
- Make sure they recover properly by sleeping, eating right, and getting regular therapy including massages.
- Seek to strengthen their weaknesses by studying video footage, understanding what their opponents’ strengths and weaknesses are, carrying out resistance training to maintain muscle mass and working on their mental preparation.
References from the SIRC Collection:
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