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View Full Version : Is pushing a viable strategy for double?


Golden Retriever
12-04-2009, 07:25 AM
Pushing is surely a viable strategy for single but how about double? I don't play double at all so I really don't know. Please don't call me stupid.

SlapChop
12-04-2009, 07:31 AM
put the pusher in the back and the more aggressive player on the net.

Mick
12-04-2009, 07:33 AM
it would only work if the opposing team can't put away the pushed balls, so it probably would work against the low level doubles teams.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 07:48 AM
I'll give the obvious answer: It depends on level.

I watch my opponents' stroke mechanics in the warm-up. If they are pushing, I know exactly what I will do on every single point: Take the net. I will S&V, and I will follow my returns to net. I know that the pusher cannot ever hit a dipper below net level. Nor can they hit a sharp angle because they won't have the topspin needed to keep the ball in the court.

All they will be able to do is lob, so I will be ready for that.

I've lost *a lot* of 3.5 ladies doubles matches, but can't recall losing to an out-and-out pusher.

LuckyR
12-04-2009, 08:34 AM
Pushing is surely a viable strategy for single but how about double? I don't play double at all so I really don't know. Please don't call me stupid.

The short answer is no.

The whole point of doubles is that you have the advantage of a netman from the very first stroke. The netman's job is to put away errant strokes, thus high percentage shots with little pace or angle should be immediately punished. Thus shots from the baseline need something more than clearing the net and landing within the lines, they need, pace, spin, angle or placement.

user92626
12-04-2009, 08:59 AM
I agree with Cindy. It depends on the level. A quick question for Cindy, how you can tell if your oppon's stroke is pushing? Im trying to recall who's pushing in the groups I play but I can't tell. Everyone just hits with a different pace and spin and different ball trajectories. That's all.

With that said, since I see all shots in term of pace and spin, it makes no different how the ball gets hit to me. I would just punish the low-paced and easy set-up balls. I'm more deterred by fast incoming shots. With a little placement or angled a bit they would cause you to stretch your legs and constantly switch between FH & BH, and you'll eventually lose out. That's the nature of this sport.

Ripper014
12-04-2009, 09:32 AM
Depends on the level... I have seen some pushers in my time with excellent lobs... consistantly within a foot or two from the baseline... they win and win ugly... but they win.

As the level of play increases the approach shots (serves) are better placed with more spin and movement making it more difficult for the pusher to hit an effective defensive shot... and thus more points are won by the aggressive player.

JRstriker12
12-04-2009, 09:36 AM
If the opposing team can't volley or hit overheads, then pushing can work in doubles.

Cindysphinx
12-04-2009, 09:46 AM
I agree with Cindy. It depends on the level. A quick question for Cindy, how you can tell if your oppon's stroke is pushing? Im trying to recall who's pushing in the groups I play but I can't tell. Everyone just hits with a different pace and spin and different ball trajectories. That's all.

With that said, since I see all shots in term of pace and spin, it makes no different how the ball gets hit to me. I would just punish the low-paced and easy set-up balls. I'm more deterred by fast incoming shots. With a little placement or angled a bit they would cause you to stretch your legs and constantly switch between FH & BH, and you'll eventually lose out. That's the nature of this sport.

I can tell if it is a pushing stroke largely (in ladies 3.5) due to a lack of finish over the shoulder. If there is a way to generate topspin with a short, incomplete stroke, I don't know what it is. Without topspin, they can't hurt me. If they try to hit hard and flat, their ball will too often hit the tape (because they are trying to keep it low). If they have a short ball, they will not have enough court to work with; lacking topspin, they will have decrease pace.

Regarding whether it matters how the ball gets to you . . . I find it matters a lot. The determining factor in whether I hit a defensive shot or offensive shot is whether I reach the volley above net level or below net level. Those who hit with topspin can get the ball below net level, forcing me to hit up and defensively. Those who send me the ball flat (or pushed) let me make contact above net level.

Granted, if someone has enough pace they can cause me trouble with a flat ball. Fortunately, pushers lose mathematically because for every ball they get by me with flat pace and placement they will hit three long or into the net strap.

xFullCourtTenniSx
12-04-2009, 11:03 AM
Same as in singles, pushing works up to a certain level. After that, you have to evolve to counterpunching or junk-balling.

The higher the level becomes however, only the best net players with the most solidly rounded doubles game (serve, returns, and net play mostly) and the best connection will win. Usually depends on the net play though. The faster your hands and the better you can put the ball away whenever you can get a racket on it, the easier things get.

papa
12-04-2009, 12:20 PM
One thing most good pushers have going for them is "ball location" so as several have mentioned, it is effective to a certain extent/level.

GuyClinch
12-05-2009, 02:14 PM
I find its not very effective. The big problem is in singles you can really do well with a medium to slow paced deep fairly high over the net 'rally ball'. But in doubles this shot is smacked for a winner by the net person. In singles if you use that and your opponent goes to the net you can often adjust your stroke so it goes over his head. However again in doubles there is already a person back to handle the lobs.

I think my doubles experience has helped me get over my pushing ways but sometimes I play with a female partner and they hit shots like that and the net guy just smacks the crap out of it. Its very disheartening. Pushing by and large is a singles strategy, IMHO.

Pete

jserve
12-06-2009, 02:18 PM
I would have to disagree with some of the posts in this thread. I think pushing can be successful at all levels of doubles if done well. Just as aggressive players improve their games, so do the pushers. Keep in mind a 5.0 pusher is not going to be hitting lofty balls over the center of the net. By that level a consistent controlled player will be using spins and angles very effectively and wont be giving the more aggressive players easy put aways.

In fact, I much prefer playing power players than I do pushers at the 5.0 level because its easier to use their own pace against them when volleying.

LeeD
12-06-2009, 03:15 PM
I agree with Jserve...
Pushers don't always just lob it back up the middle. I know lots, including myself, who can play 5.0 Men's doubles and never hit a topspin shot. Slice is height control, angle control, and depth control. Mix it up with controlled deep lobs, and it works just fine most of the time.
Topspin is overrated for singles and doubles. Placement, pace, and accuracy with consistency is the more important thing.

forthegame
12-06-2009, 03:18 PM
Sorry to sound really dumb, but this has been bugging ever since I joined TT. What exactly is a 'pusher'?

Mick
12-06-2009, 03:27 PM
Sorry to sound really dumb, but this has been bugging ever since I joined TT. What exactly is a 'pusher'?

pusher is a player who would return all the shots and wait for his opponent to make an error.

LeeD
12-06-2009, 03:32 PM
Exactly.
Pushers return shots waiting for your errors.
Given a chance, they'd choose to prolong the agony rather than end the point.
They can hit topspins, sidespins, any kind of spins, can hit passing shots, big serves, volleys, but choose to just get the ball back. Conservative winning strategy.

jserve
12-06-2009, 03:33 PM
Sorry to sound really dumb, but this has been bugging ever since I joined TT. What exactly is a 'pusher'?

A pusher is a player that is not aggressive at all and relies on consistency to win points. Its a very successful style of play even though the term pusher has a negative stigma about it since its a very frustrating style to play against.

Fedace
12-06-2009, 03:39 PM
I'll give the obvious answer: It depends on level.

I watch my opponents' stroke mechanics in the warm-up. If they are pushing, I know exactly what I will do on every single point: Take the net. I will S&V, and I will follow my returns to net. I know that the pusher cannot ever hit a dipper below net level. Nor can they hit a sharp angle because they won't have the topspin needed to keep the ball in the court.

All they will be able to do is lob, so I will be ready for that.

I've lost *a lot* of 3.5 ladies doubles matches, but can't recall losing to an out-and-out pusher.

How right you are. If the other guys are bad and i mean really bad,, it may work. you are just hoping for the other guys to miss, however..

tennisguy2009
12-07-2009, 11:40 AM
yes pushing is viable in doubles, very much so, but only if the pushers aim to get to net

Just played this weekend against 2 veteran doubles players in their 50s, one a tennis coach and the other the club tennis pro, both with 40 years tennis experience (each)

My partner was 30 years old, 5.0+ rated, very fast on court, heavy spin on both wings, same as me.

First set we beat the old boys but not as soundly as i would have thought, we won 6-3 by overpowering them, especially punishing them in the heavy topspin crosscourt rallys where net player could not participate, they got crushed again and again there. One of the opponents had a good serve so thats where they got 2 of the 3 games.

2nd set they changed tactics, they lobbed everything expertly and both came to net on lobs every point, every single lob was inches from baseline. And on their serves, they started serving very low very short very sliced serves, difficult to get heavy topspin off, then lobbing the return and just running to net.

suddenly we were down 4-1 in the 2nd set.

We had to change tactics : when we were serving, we did not stand at net, but on service line, so we could smash the lobs instead of chasing them all over the court, so both of us standing at service line right after one of us served.

and on their serves we had start standing well in front of the baseline to blast our service returns point blank right at them, hit their serves on the up right by the service line before they skidded super low at baseline.

we won the next 5 games to win 6-4 but if we did not change to counter the pusher tactics, we would have lost the set.

so yes i think pushing with net play is very viable doubles tactics, I think it would actually work extremely well in ladies club tennis, because they do not have the weapons to counter it (heavy spin fast shots and powerful overhead smashes)

Fedace
12-07-2009, 11:44 AM
^^^^^Tennisguy,, if you guys are so FAST, then why didn't you get to the Lobs quick enough so that you can smash a Huge over-head after the ball bounces ?????? If you guys are 5.0, you can hit a close to 100mph over-head and take the Head off the net guy coming in.......

tennisguy2009
12-07-2009, 05:53 PM
Fed, these were the most consistent lobs I have ever seen in my life

I am not exaggerating when i say every single one was inches from the baseline and in the corners. I guess thats what you get with 40 years of lob practice.

They were also playing inside of the baseline, just waiting to chip the lob up and get to net, cutting down our reaction time a lot.

anyways when we were standing at service line (or just in front) they were toast.

tennisguy2009
12-07-2009, 05:58 PM
^^^^^Tennisguy,, if you guys are so FAST, then why didn't you get to the Lobs quick enough so that you can smash a Huge over-head after the ball bounces ?????? If you guys are 5.0, you can hit a close to 100mph over-head and take the Head off the net guy coming in.......


oh yah I did smash many overheads after the ball bounced from the back of court.

unfortunately my partner was not particularly good at this, a lot of unforced errors from his deep court smashes. My partner was more of a singles player like me, his strength was baseline rallies.

also the 2 other guys had good hands at net, they did not shy away from the deep court smashes, they tried to volley them back, no chickening out, and got quite a few back. Respect to them.

GuyClinch
12-08-2009, 03:55 AM
Yeah I dunno if I would count net rushers as pushers..

Slazenger07
12-08-2009, 05:22 AM
From what Ive seen at the 4.0-4.5 level pushers do not fair well in doubles. my friend is a pusher and we both mostly play doubles, when he gets on the run in doubles he always just slices it back like he would in singles and it makes for easy put away volleys for the net player. When I play against him I consistently poach his returns of serve cause I know he'll just block the serve back, setting me up to put it away. It works very well. I think this should be the general strategy employed in doubles against pushers, be aggressive and take it to the pusher.

Kinda frustrating playing doubles with him for this reason at times, but he is starting to learn he must adjust his style for doubles and force himself to be more aggressive. When he is more aggressive he plays better doubles.

raiden031
12-08-2009, 05:47 AM
I agree with Jserve...
Pushers don't always just lob it back up the middle. I know lots, including myself, who can play 5.0 Men's doubles and never hit a topspin shot. Slice is height control, angle control, and depth control. Mix it up with controlled deep lobs, and it works just fine most of the time.
Topspin is overrated for singles and doubles. Placement, pace, and accuracy with consistency is the more important thing.

Exactly.
Pushers return shots waiting for your errors.
Given a chance, they'd choose to prolong the agony rather than end the point.
They can hit topspins, sidespins, any kind of spins, can hit passing shots, big serves, volleys, but choose to just get the ball back. Conservative winning strategy.

First off, you always describe yourself as a 4.0, but you can compete in 5.0 doubles?

Doesn't sound like you're describing a pusher to me....a pusher is not a highly skilled player with all the attriibutes you mention. A pusher is someone who relies on consistency but doesn't have the skill to hit the shots you describe.

BullDogTennis
12-08-2009, 06:11 AM
i don't think it is...because with a pusher (unless of course he was lobbing it really high) the net man would have easy (slow balls) to get to and set up for and put away at net.

Cindysphinx
12-08-2009, 07:12 AM
I thought a pusher was someone who had poor technique and didn't drive the ball, choosing to push it instead.

That is not the same as a counterpuncher or defensive player.

I played a lady who pushed yesterday. When I hit a slice serve to her, she could not return it. It flew off of her racket in all sorts of weird directions as she tried to steer/bunt/push it back. Even if she managed to get a ball back into play, it was an easy pick-off for the net player.

raiden031
12-08-2009, 07:53 AM
I thought a pusher was someone who had poor technique and didn't drive the ball, choosing to push it instead.

That is not the same as a counterpuncher or defensive player.

I played a lady who pushed yesterday. When I hit a slice serve to her, she could not return it. It flew off of her racket in all sorts of weird directions as she tried to steer/bunt/push it back. Even if she managed to get a ball back into play, it was an easy pick-off for the net player.

A pusher is someone who is best known for their shot tolerance. No matter how good a shot you hit to them, they are able to return the ball with a neutral shot. They don't have amazing ball control as LeeD describes, otherwise they would use it!

In singles this is fine because their opponents are typically not skilled enough to take advantage of their non-pressuring shots. In doubles though if you don't hit better quality shots, you will be poached and punished. Simple as that. Anyone playing above senior 3.5s in doubles will get punished. There is no 5.0 pushing in doubles.

user92626
12-08-2009, 08:18 AM
Pusher is like ufo. Everyone has encountered it, but nobody is gonna agree on what it really is.

Pushers have no control but can return any shot no matter how good. They have no technique but have great "ball location" skill. They are not highly skilled but have amazing consistency. They don't play above 4.0 but they possess the mental fortitude that can inflict agony on any opponent.

Totally make sense. :shock:

Slazenger07
12-08-2009, 09:14 AM
"Queen of the Botched Sitter" haha I like that Cindy

jserve
12-08-2009, 09:34 AM
First off, you always describe yourself as a 4.0, but you can compete in 5.0 doubles?

Doesn't sound like you're describing a pusher to me....a pusher is not a highly skilled player with all the attriibutes you mention. A pusher is someone who relies on consistency but doesn't have the skill to hit the shots you describe.

Well I guess our definitions of pushers differ slightly. In my opinion, pushers are more commonly referred to as counterpunchers at higher levels of play, but they are still the less aggressive consistency players.

Tennisman912
12-08-2009, 11:10 AM
Tennisguy2009,

All the tactics you are describing to beat these so called pushers after going down 4-1 in the second set are just common sense to a 5.0 or an advanced player. A 5.0 isn’t going to keep crowding the net for 4 or 5 games if someone is lobbing them effectively. They will make an adjustment in court position when it happens once or twice. A 5.0 (or any advanced player) would never start on top of the net when their partner is serving. They want to be able to move forward to put away volleys and do with authority.

Also, 5.0 players don’t have any trouble putting away overheads the vast majority of the time. Even if you have great hands, you won’t get back more than 1 out of 10 from any 5.0 overhead. To suggest a 5.0+ player is “not particularly good” at hitting overheads anywhere, including a high bouncing one is ludicrous. Any 5.0+ player would laugh at your descriptions of them. May I humbly suggest you find real 5.0 players and not the kind who just says they are 5.0+.

Regarding pushing, I agree with the others. Pushing success is entirely dependant on level of play. Pushing is only effective against those who can't take advantage of the opportunities they get to end the point and have the patience to wait for that time. The higher the level, the more likely those pushed back returns will be pummeled consistently. Advanced players got there by being able to take advantage of an opportunity to end the point, NOW with good anticipation, recognition of that opportunity instinctively AND the skills to take advantage of that opportunity. Pushing is generally only viable up to 4.0 with very rare exception.

Good tennis

TM

papa
12-08-2009, 12:54 PM
Tennisguy2009,

All the tactics you are describing to beat these so called pushers after going down 4-1 in the second set are just common sense to a 5.0 or an advanced player. A 5.0 isnít going to keep crowding the net for 4 or 5 games if someone is lobbing them effectively. They will make an adjustment in court position when it happens once or twice. A 5.0 (or any advanced player) would never start on top of the net when their partner is serving. They want to be able to move forward to put away volleys and do with authority.

Also, 5.0 players donít have any trouble putting away overheads the vast majority of the time. Even if you have great hands, you wonít get back more than 1 out of 10 from any 5.0 overhead. To suggest a 5.0+ player is ďnot particularly goodĒ at hitting overheads anywhere, including a high bouncing one is ludicrous. Any 5.0+ player would laugh at your descriptions of them. May I humbly suggest you find real 5.0 players and not the kind who just says they are 5.0+.

Regarding pushing, I agree with the others. Pushing success is entirely dependant on level of play. Pushing is only effective against those who can't take advantage of the opportunities they get to end the point and have the patience to wait for that time. The higher the level, the more likely those pushed back returns will be pummeled consistently. Advanced players got there by being able to take advantage of an opportunity to end the point, NOW with good anticipation, recognition of that opportunity instinctively AND the skills to take advantage of that opportunity. Pushing is generally only viable up to 4.0 with very rare exception.

Good tennis

TM

Your right here, a pusher does not have all the strokes some think they have. They merely meet the ball and push it back - thus the name "pusher".

Players at the 5.0 level have no problems with overheads keeping in mind that everyone has their days. Even 4.0 players can/should be able to effective hit overheads - its more a matter of consistency. Sure, wind, sun, lights, location can be/are factors most players know what to do even in adverse situations.

Can a 4.0 player play higher level doubles - maybe. That would generally put them in the "open" category in most tournaments which is pretty good tennis. Very seldom do you see senior players in these events but as with everything there are exceptions.

Cindysphinx
12-08-2009, 01:13 PM
"Queen of the Botched Sitter" haha I like that Cindy

Thanks! I wish it were a joke. :)

GuyClinch
12-08-2009, 04:06 PM
LeeD has a crazy definition of pusher. If we were playing doubles with Murray and he was slamming winners all over the place.. Well he is a "pusher"..so yeah pushers like that can sure win.

But dinkers and soft hitters aren't that effective at doubles. The main thing is the net man can smack shots that would be perfectly effective in singles..

Pete

LeeD
12-08-2009, 04:15 PM
I have a "crazy" definition of pushers because I've talked to 7.0 players and also played at almost that level a few times.
I mentioned TomBrown. Look him up. Pure 6.0 pusher, maybe 5.5. Never hits winners, unless his opponent gives up on the shot.
Murray just digging balls back means he's pushing.
Murray smacking winners left and right means he's aggressively hitting.
If YOU are a 3.5, then your normal definition of pusher might be true.
But if you're higher, you still face opponents who choose to push the ball back, via topspin, slice, flat, or whatever, not going for winners or forcing shots, not going for aggressive shots, not going for anything but continuing the point. PUSHER. Afraid to win, and would rather not lose.

tennisguy2009
12-08-2009, 07:48 PM
Tennisguy2009,

All the tactics you are describing to beat these so called pushers after going down 4-1 in the second set are just common sense to a 5.0 or an advanced player. A 5.0 isnít going to keep crowding the net for 4 or 5 games if someone is lobbing them effectively. They will make an adjustment in court position when it happens once or twice. A 5.0 (or any advanced player) would never start on top of the net when their partner is serving. They want to be able to move forward to put away volleys and do with authority.


TM

tennisman, true, but i clearly stated both myself and my partner are singles players

I really don't know what is going on in doubles, I play doubles 4 times per year maybe..... and going down 4-1 isnt that hard, lose 2 service games, have them hold 2 of theirs, happens quick.

so perhaps we are not the best doubles players to compare to, but i think pushing at doubles is very doable especially at weaker levels and ladies doubles, so my opinion is unchanged

tennisguy2009
12-08-2009, 07:52 PM
also you guys MUST see this every time you go to a club and watch tennis:

all 4 doubles players are like half way in the service blocks having a volley "practice session" where the point goes on for 6 volleys - except they are all 4 trying to win the point.

and in your head you are screaming my god why doesn't one of them just put it away, but none of them has any pace on any shot including volleys

its bizarre

Ripper014
12-08-2009, 11:23 PM
I think the problem here is the definition of a pusher... IMHO it is not about a persons ability, it is more about their tactics. Pushers do not try to win points outright (well not often), they prefer to play high percentage tennis and have you make the mistake.

In my definition... pushers may be very skill at all facets of the game... they may or may not decide to use these skills at different times in a match... but their main strategy is to wait for you to make an error. A pushers strategy is to play high percentage defensive tennis to win.

A counterpuncher on the other hand will try to neutralize the tactical situation until the opponent makes a mistake. At that point the counterpuncher will go to the offensive and close out the point. In other words counterpunchers use defense to setup their offensive game.


Players that push/steer/bunt balls back in play are just players with poor stroke mechanics doing the best they can, don't confuse them for real pushers. Pushers win a lot... and have a closet full of trophies... but they seldom are able to get out of 4.0, as mentioned... players at that level and up are more consistant at putting away winners.

papa
12-09-2009, 04:06 AM
also you guys MUST see this every time you go to a club and watch tennis:

all 4 doubles players are like half way in the service blocks having a volley "practice session" where the point goes on for 6 volleys - except they are all 4 trying to win the point.

and in your head you are screaming my god why doesn't one of them just put it away, but none of them has any pace on any shot including volleys

its bizarre

Interesting observation.

However, you can't put away a ball that kept low. First ball that gets up will be put away.

Doubles is a different game in many respects but seldom would you/should you see all four players in the position you mentioned - maybe inside the service line but not all four that close to the net. The threat of the lob keeps them/should keep them backed up a little anyway.

GuyClinch
12-11-2009, 02:41 AM
Players that push/steer/bunt balls back in play are just players with poor stroke mechanics doing the best they can, don't confuse them for real pushers. Pushers win a lot... and have a closet full of trophies... but they seldom are able to get out of 4.0, as mentioned... players at that level and up are more consistant at putting away winners.

Yeah I get it.. But these Federer's that are holding back don't exist..

fuzz nation
12-11-2009, 06:44 AM
I get the feeling that we're onto different discussions in this thread and it's maybe worth pointing out the difference between a singles pusher vs. the tactic of pushing to gain the advantage on a doubles court. In my mind, one of the smartest ways to deal with a pusher in a singles match is to rush the net or try and draw that pushing opponent forward. Obviously a lot of those singles pushers will be in trouble in a half decent doubles setting - the level of play is a factor, but I want to get to the singles vs. doubles aspect of this issue of pushing.

Sharp doubles players understand the importance of denying their opponents an advantage. Keeping a lot of shots at waist level or below is one of the surest ways to prevent an aggressive reply in doubles as you try to gain the upper hand during play. This can often be accomplished by pushing a low, slow ball back over the net that might force the other guys to shovel the ball up around your shoulder or head height where you can drive it down on them. Some of these "pushed" shots might include a chip or slice - I'll call it more of a push just because it's not a heavier flat or topspin drive.

Pushing some lower 'n slower balls at your opponents as you work to gain better positioning in doubles can pay off big time, even at a higher level. But if a pair of singles pushers tried to nudge their typical off-pace shots around as a doubles team, they'd probably get hammered. I think of a lot of rally balls from singles pushers as not quite floaters, but let's say "cruisers" that have a lot of net clearance and only moderate pace. For any doubles team that knows enough to take the net, those cruisers are nothing but a free lunch.

As for general pushing in doubles, I've seen it work painfully well for girl's high school doubles competition. A team will start with both players back at the baseline (serving or receiving) and plainly push against their opponents until they get a short ball and can move forward to net together. This is pretty much 3.5 level of play where the girls don't have enough variety in their game or good transitioning skills to counter this style. The pushing opponents keep them over a barrel, often stuck in the dreaded one up-one back alignment, until they get the chance to attack.

user92626
12-11-2009, 08:12 AM
also you guys MUST see this every time you go to a club and watch tennis:

all 4 doubles players are like half way in the service blocks having a volley "practice session" where the point goes on for 6 volleys - except they are all 4 trying to win the point.

and in your head you are screaming my god why doesn't one of them just put it away, but none of them has any pace on any shot including volleys

its bizarre

It's not bizarre. It can mean that they all are at similar level and there might be no opening to put the shot away. Say, even if you're an advanced player, if a shot is volleyed xcourt extremely closely to the net, can you put it away or simply do the same thing or lob?

dlk
12-11-2009, 08:30 AM
"In my mind, one of the smartest ways to deal with a pusher in a singles match is to rush the net or try and draw that pushing opponent forward." By Fuzz Nation

This is what gives me trouble when I'm playing defensive. Their net play forces me to address w/pass or lob & pressures my positioning.

papa
12-11-2009, 09:15 AM
The pushing opponents keep them over a barrel, often stuck in the dreaded one up-one back alignment, until they get the chance to attack.

So your concluding that one-up, one-back is not a formation played at the higher levels? Not trying to bait you here but it sounds like that's what your saying.

Bungalo Bill
12-11-2009, 09:38 AM
Same as in singles, pushing works up to a certain level. After that, you have to evolve to counterpunching or junk-balling.

Yup, pushing can be a viable playing strategy up to a certain level. I remember this one guy that was thee master pusher and that guy could handle hard hits and push it on a dime. For many players, he was very frustrating to play against. However, as he moved up the ratings, his pushing strategy became a liability for the team rather than a benefit.

mucat
12-11-2009, 10:49 AM
If the definition of pushing means push the ball. The net partner will get kill multiple times over and over again.

Bungalo Bill
12-11-2009, 11:45 AM
If the definition of pushing means push the ball. The net partner will get kill multiple times over and over again.

Not true. A pusher has the ability to place a ball at your feet, off to an angle, or bump it over an opponents head. Whatever they try to do it does not automatically put the netman in a vulnerable position. We are talking about pushing the ball not giving up powerduff balls which makes it obvious.

GuyClinch
12-11-2009, 05:08 PM
Not true. A pusher has the ability to place a ball at your feet, off to an angle, or bump it over an opponents head. Whatever they try to do it does not automatically put the netman in a vulnerable position. We are talking about pushing the ball not giving up powerduff balls which makes it obvious.

Yeah but "pushers" that can do all that can crack the crap out of the ball - and usually do. It sounds like your describing a local teaching pro hitting with his classmates and holding back..

I haven't seen many of these people in regular match play..

Ken Honecker
12-11-2009, 11:38 PM
So your concluding that one-up, one-back is not a formation played at the higher levels? Not trying to bait you here but it sounds like that's what your saying.

I think that is the general concensus. I'm not really sure at what level you need to develop into playing sides. Honestly I played one up one back for years back in the 70's and was blessed with the perfect partner to match up with my skill set so we hardly ever lost to anyone whether they were playing proper "sides" or not. I can see the advantages in playing sides but admit that to do it requires a different skill set from singles players which are usually who most of the the youngers guys are. I was surprised when my daughters joined the High School team that they weren't coached to play anything but one up one back. Furthermore I didn't seen any of their opponants playing anything different.

papa
12-12-2009, 04:35 AM
I think that is the general concensus. I'm not really sure at what level you need to develop into playing sides. Honestly I played one up one back for years back in the 70's and was blessed with the perfect partner to match up with my skill set so we hardly ever lost to anyone whether they were playing proper "sides" or not. I can see the advantages in playing sides but admit that to do it requires a different skill set from singles players which are usually who most of the the youngers guys are. I was surprised when my daughters joined the High School team that they weren't coached to play anything but one up one back. Furthermore I didn't seen any of their opponants playing anything different.

Ken,

Yeah, know exactly what your talking about. At IMG (Bollettieri) a week or so ago, just about every doubles team played the one-up, one-back formation. These were all very good players from around the world so its pretty much accepted - at least in the younger age levels where they are so fast. Actually, I think you can cover more of the court with this formation BUT you have to be fast - both players.

Some attribute this to singles players playing doubles, I'm not sure that is the case at all although it certainly might be a factor. I think the more important factor is that we now have players hitting winners from everywhere and the necessity of being in close, other than to poach, "might" be fading a bit.

As players get older, there is a lot "less movement" throughout the point which is to be expected for perhaps several reasons.

papa
12-12-2009, 04:52 AM
Not true. A pusher has the ability to place a ball at your feet, off to an angle, or bump it over an opponents head. Whatever they try to do it does not automatically put the netman in a vulnerable position. We are talking about pushing the ball not giving up powerduff balls which makes it obvious.

Well, although I agree with you wouldn't you agree that a "pusher" basically is not delivering the ball without much pace and making you either play their game or provide all/most of the power for every shot. It seems to me that a pusher essentially blocks back most shots with "push type strokes" going for angles and location rather than any semblance of power. I know several (couple anyway) who are very effective this way and can basically drive you crazy quickly.

Ken Honecker
12-12-2009, 05:20 AM
I'm glad to see I'm not the only one that has a soft spot when it comes to one up one back. I play a little more sides when teamed with my 51 year old wife who doesn't have more than a step worth of range but otherwise I still like to hog the whole net and rely on my fast hands and 77 1/4 inch wingspan.

chris
12-12-2009, 07:00 PM
Pushing is surely a viable strategy for single but how about double? I don't play double at all so I really don't know. Please don't call me stupid.

you shouls learn topspin if you want to be a pusher

papa
12-13-2009, 12:25 PM
Well, although I agree with you wouldn't you agree that a "pusher" basically is not delivering the ball without much pace and making you either play their game or provide all/most of the power for every shot.

sorry, worded this poorly ------------ meant to say, "pusher is not delivering the ball with much pace ............"

raiden031
12-13-2009, 02:15 PM
I think the problem here is the definition of a pusher... IMHO it is not about a persons ability, it is more about their tactics. Pushers do not try to win points outright (well not often), they prefer to play high percentage tennis and have you make the mistake.

In my definition... pushers may be very skill at all facets of the game... they may or may not decide to use these skills at different times in a match... but their main strategy is to wait for you to make an error. A pushers strategy is to play high percentage defensive tennis to win.

A counterpuncher on the other hand will try to neutralize the tactical situation until the opponent makes a mistake. At that point the counterpuncher will go to the offensive and close out the point. In other words counterpunchers use defense to setup their offensive game.


Players that push/steer/bunt balls back in play are just players with poor stroke mechanics doing the best they can, don't confuse them for real pushers. Pushers win a lot... and have a closet full of trophies... but they seldom are able to get out of 4.0, as mentioned... players at that level and up are more consistant at putting away winners.

I think its silly to even use the word 'pusher' to describe any highly skilled player. What makes a pusher notorious is that they can beat seamingly superiorly skilled players than themselves just by keeping the ball in play.

Nobody thinks of Andy Murray this way even though many call him a pusher. He's still considered a highly skilled player, even though he might have a more conservative game.

And as far as rec. leagues, I've played against pushers as high as 4.0, none of which were skilled in the individual shots, but instead they just had good shot tolerance and defensive skills. They couldn't play offensively even if they tried because they don't have the strokes. One guy in particular was a 4.0 and had the weakest serve I'd ever seen. I would approach on every return and ended up breaking all of his service games except one, yet I had the most difficult time holding serve against him as well.

Bungalo Bill
12-13-2009, 05:39 PM
Well, although I agree with you wouldn't you agree that a "pusher" basically is not delivering the ball without much pace and making you either play their game or provide all/most of the power for every shot. It seems to me that a pusher essentially blocks back most shots with "push type strokes" going for angles and location rather than any semblance of power. I know several (couple anyway) who are very effective this way and can basically drive you crazy quickly.

Just as there are varying degrees of pace a full swing can deliver, there is varying pace from various pushers. In a general sesne, a push is simply not taking a full swing at the ball. If a player knows how to use theie weight transfer, has the right racquet and can handle the pace you give him, they can do some damage.

The pushers ability to be difficult depends on how they can use the power they are given against you.

GuyClinch
12-14-2009, 03:34 AM
I think its silly to even use the word 'pusher' to describe any highly skilled player. What makes a pusher notorious is that they can beat seamingly superiorly skilled players than themselves just by keeping the ball in play.

Nobody thinks of Andy Murray this way even though many call him a pusher. He's still considered a highly skilled player, even though he might have a more conservative game.

And as far as rec. leagues, I've played against pushers as high as 4.0, none of which were skilled in the individual shots, but instead they just had good shot tolerance and defensive skills. They couldn't play offensively even if they tried because they don't have the strokes. One guy in particular was a 4.0 and had the weakest serve I'd ever seen. I would approach on every return and ended up breaking all of his service games except one, yet I had the most difficult time holding serve against him as well.

QFT. its tiresome how every thread with "pusher" on it gets derailed because of Brad Gilbert's nonsense. Truth is a "pusher" and Andy Murray have nothing in common accept a willingess to play defense tennis.

We might as well compare MJ in his prime to some guy in the rec center that pushes you on drives because they both play "tough defense."..

I was watching Andy Murray a week or so ago in that round robin tournament and he was ripping crap loads of winners off the ground..

The OP is a guy who can't even hit topspin. A comparison to Andy Murray has no relevance..

Pete

Mahboob Khan
12-14-2009, 05:10 AM
No, I will not call you stupid. I reserve this for Rants and Raves Section!

I would say play lots of doubles to shed your pusher skin.

Against good serve and volley players pushers will not succeed.

Sorry, I cannot write much as I am exhausted from my posts at Rants and Raves.

Bungalo Bill
12-14-2009, 07:29 AM
QFT. its tiresome how every thread with "pusher" on it gets derailed because of Brad Gilbert's nonsense. Truth is a "pusher" and Andy Murray have nothing in common accept a willingess to play defense tennis.

Amen to that. They do not have anything in common except, and I would add, a desire to beat the opponent with whatever way they can. Andy Murray is definetly not a pusher and neither is any pro at that level.

mucat
12-14-2009, 07:46 AM
Not true. A pusher has the ability to place a ball at your feet, off to an angle, or bump it over an opponents head. Whatever they try to do it does not automatically put the netman in a vulnerable position. We are talking about pushing the ball not giving up powerduff balls which makes it obvious.

If a player have both depth and angle control, he is off my definition of a pusher. If pushers just block back their shot, depth of their shot will be very much related to the pace of their opponent's shot. Also, taking control of the net will not be a good strategy in single if a pusher can hit angle and depth at will. Again, the problem is the definition of pusher, which is different from player to player.

fuzz nation
12-14-2009, 08:06 AM
So your concluding that one-up, one-back is not a formation played at the higher levels? Not trying to bait you here but it sounds like that's what your saying.

I call it the "dreaded" one-up, one-back formation because it has some inherent weaknesses, but it certainly happens to everyone. I even saw a whole lot of it in the doub's matches that I watched in my last trip to the US Open, especially when the young sluggers would try to blow ground strokes through their opposition.

It certainly ought to be minimized since a team can't use their best offense or defense if they're stuck in that alignment. It more or less reduces a doubles team to a pair of singles players on the same side of the net. If a smart team gets one of their opponents stuck in the backcourt, they can often hit away from trouble at the net as they gain better positioning and eventually hit into open court or blow the ball down through the feet of the opponent that's alone at the net. A doubles team usually functions better when both players are together, either up at net or at the baseline.

papa
12-14-2009, 09:35 AM
I call it the "dreaded" one-up, one-back formation because it has some inherent weaknesses, but it certainly happens to everyone. I even saw a whole lot of it in the doub's matches that I watched in my last trip to the US Open, especially when the young sluggers would try to blow ground strokes through their opposition.

It certainly ought to be minimized since a team can't use their best offense or defense if they're stuck in that alignment. It more or less reduces a doubles team to a pair of singles players on the same side of the net. If a smart team gets one of their opponents stuck in the backcourt, they can often hit away from trouble at the net as they gain better positioning and eventually hit into open court or blow the ball down through the feet of the opponent that's alone at the net. A doubles team usually functions better when both players are together, either up at net or at the baseline.

Well, ok, I see/know your point and I'm not going to understate/take issue with your arguments because they are valid. However, the way high level kids/young adults play the game, "they" would/might argue the point, saying they can cover the court better one-up, one-back - although you and I might not agree here, I think it true, BUT..................

For whatever reason(s), the one-up, one-back formation is being played quite a bit and probably only suits players that have good ground strokes and that are very fast. If the two-up formation worked "better" for these players, one would expect to see it universally used. That's the only point I'm making.

Now, having said that, I do know of doubles teams who play a modified one-up, one-back especially on their service games. If a server is comfortable with his rally strokes by keeping the ball deep with respectable pace/spin, they might play a couple of ground strokes before coming in especially if the opposition doesn't take the net right away. I see players trying to come in too quickly at times and having to field many difficult balls at their feet.

Also, the lob is a powerful weapon in the doubles game and used frequently by better players. So, the idea of just immediately taking control of the point by charging the net is wishful thinking at best. Also the notion that your going to end the point just because you get an overhead is nonsense also - good players get a good percentage of overheads back in doubles and the tide can quickly change.

Bungalo Bill
12-14-2009, 09:36 AM
If a player have both depth and angle control, he is off my definition of a pusher.

Then the definition of pusher needs to be better defined. What is a pusher? Is it how he swings at the ball, or what the ball does?

A person who pushes the ball does so with his swing. The ball direction, angle, or effect is another story. Good pushers can use your power against you.

If pushers just block back their shot, depth of their shot will be very much related to the pace of their opponent's shot.

Ahhh, no. What is the definition of a pusher once again. A pusher can put enough pace with a little "stab" at the ball as well. If you are playing with better players a pusher can very much use the pace given against their opponent. Why wouldn't they be able too? We aren't talking about skunk or duck balls.


Also, taking control of the net will not be a good strategy in single if a pusher can hit angle and depth at will. Again, the problem is the definition of pusher, which is different from player to player.

No it is not. The definition is often per.vrted to mean anyone. the definition of a pusher is in the way they swing and not so much the effect of what the ball does.

Is Andy Murray a pusher? Some think so. To me, it takes a numbskull to think he is a pusher. He is anything but a pusher. He has full strokes and hits the ball with depth and pace. He does play defense which does NOT make him automatically a pusher.

I have been around the courts way to long to debate this. The bottom-line is pushing the ball in the right sense can be useful in doubles. I don't lie and I have witnessed it many times.

Cindysphinx
12-14-2009, 11:50 AM
^BB,

Say you had a pair of pushers and a pair of players at the same NTRP level who were not pushers. Imagine that everything else in their games was the same (positioning, serve, mental, etc.).

Would you expect the non-pushers or the pushers to win?

Bungalo Bill
12-14-2009, 01:44 PM
^BB,

Say you had a pair of pushers and a pair of players at the same NTRP level who were not pushers. Imagine that everything else in their games was the same (positioning, serve, mental, etc.).

Would you expect the non-pushers or the pushers to win?

Only you would think of a scenario like this. If I say yes to the pushers, then all the pusher haters will chime in. If I say no, then all the pusher lovers will chime in. Awww, what the heck, I love a good fight anyway.

It depends on the pushers. I would definetly give the edge to the non-pushers.

So here it is, when I am talking about "some" pushers being able to handle their own, I am referring to a pusher that primarily pushes his ground strokes, rushes to net, may push the 1st volley but uses their opponents power and guards the net like a backboard. He doesn't have beautiful volleys, but if he can move his feet and push it back, push it back, and push it back, he can be trouble for a certain level of players.

But I would expect the team with the full strokes to win, although consistency can be an issue.

user92626
12-14-2009, 03:15 PM
BB and Cindy,

I would think it's rather simple. The answer depends on NTRP level. At 3.5 or lower, it seems pushing is the way to go, because isn't it that 3.5 can't hit full stroked groundies with control or in a meaningful way? Otherwise they'd be 4.0, right? So, in a way, pushing is the best rendering of the 3.5 technique.

Cindysphinx
12-14-2009, 03:16 PM
Only you would think of a scenario like this. If I say yes to the pushers, then all the pusher haters will chime in. If I say no, then all the pusher lovers will chime in. Awww, what the heck, I love a good fight anyway.

Ah, I love a man who recognizes when he is being trapped. :)

Good answer, though. I can say with absolute certainty from personal experience that the pusher beats the non-pusher at 2.5 and 3.0 ladies. It takes a long time to learn not to push and to be able to do it consistently enough to beat a pusher . . .

LeeD
12-14-2009, 04:10 PM
My take, from far out rightfield...
Pusher and regular teams playing each other....
More often than not, pushers will play their game.
More often, regular players will play 1/3 great, 1/3 average, 1/3 badly, so overall, pusher team can play at a sustained higher level for their ablility, meaning they should win more often...
BUT....
Pushers will mostly stay at their level. Regular hitters can get better, then beat those pushers! :shock::shock:
So the answer, as usual, is DEPENDS!!!

naylor
12-14-2009, 05:39 PM
From what Ive seen at the 4.0-4.5 level pushers do not fair well in doubles. my friend is a pusher and we both mostly play doubles, when he gets on the run in doubles he always just slices it back like he would in singles and it makes for easy put away volleys for the net player. When I play against him I consistently poach his returns of serve cause I know he'll just block the serve back, setting me up to put it away. It works very well. I think this should be the general strategy employed in doubles against pushers, be aggressive and take it to the pusher.
Kinda frustrating playing doubles with him for this reason at times...

I partnered someone just like your friend in a match last weekend. I play S&V doubles and can return + rally topspin off both wings, about 4.5 level. My partner is 3.5, and everything off both wings is slice, which turns into a lob as soon as he's put under pressure. And his idea of playing at the net is to stand on the singles sideline when I serve and then dash across to "surprise" the opponents with an intercept - of the 40% he managed to intercept, more than half he mishit and lost the point, the other 60% he went part of the way but then stopped and left for me without even a casual "sorry, yours!".

Our opposition was similar 4.5 + 3.5, the 4.5 with not a great backhand, the 3.5 with no backhand, but both had decent serves and topspin forehands and ran around to play them most of the time (the 3.5 was playing the ad court, and was receiving standing in the tramlines).

We lost badly, 0 and 4. We lost the toss and I decided I'd serve last, to see the size of "hole" we needed to get ourselves out of... a big one! I held twice, we broke twice. Basically, when I was serving I was playing S&V singles while also covering for my partner's Russian roulette missed-intercept game. On all other games we played 1 up 1 back, so our opponents found it very easy to target my partner, inject a bit of pace on their shots to him and then move up to the net to pick off his chopped floater with a volley or a smash. It was so frustrating I didn't even bother playing 2 back - it wouldn't have worked because my partner could not counterattack from the baseline and would only push, and the opponents were at the net and waiting - I preferred the match to play out quicker. Different partner next time!

GuyClinch
12-14-2009, 07:22 PM
I would think it's rather simple. The answer depends on NTRP level. At 3.5 or lower, it seems pushing is the way to go, because isn't it that 3.5 can't hit full stroked groundies with control or in a meaningful way? Otherwise they'd be 4.0, right? So, in a way, pushing is the best rendering of the 3.5 technique.

Psshaw. 3.5s can hit topspin. People just badly overrate themselves. But 3.5 is your standard club level player. Its not pretty..but a simple topspin ground stroke sure..

I'd say many (but not all) 3.5s lack a serve with some spin or kick on it.. Even that's not absolute.

Strokes have nothing to do with the rankings. If you could hit all those shots but couldn't move to get to the ball you couldn't beat a young agile 3.5 pusher.

Pete

naylor
12-14-2009, 09:09 PM
... I'd say many (but not all) 3.5s lack a serve with some spin or kick on it...

For me, the key is that at that level they lack a consistent serve which includes both decent placement and a little bit of action - and, because it's consistent and with those attributes, their second service is no pushover. In doubles, if you can serve down the middle consistently, you set your partner up the net for an easy volley or, at least, you take one-third of the court out of play for the opposition (from the middle of the service box where your partner stands, to the trams on his side) so the court that you have to cover between the two of you for the third shot in the rally when your opponents are returning service shrinks significantly. And it doesn't matter that from the ad side you're serving to a forehand strength - shinking their target for a return makes much more of a difference.

On the other hand, when your partner's first serve usually goes to the receiver's forehand wheelhouse, then even if it has some pace it often works against the serving team - if I'm at the net, I have to protect myself and my trams from direct attack, so I can do little to cover the rest of the court to help my serving partner. And if his second serve is the same but without pace, just to get it in, then the returner can freeze me out of the point (at the net) and at the same time put my partner (at the back) under immediate pressure with a half-decent return, which locks us into a 1 up 1 back play mode.

The moral of the story is, if you want to improve your effectiveness as a doubles player quickly, work on your service - and you don't need a hitting partner to do that!!!

GuyClinch
12-14-2009, 10:39 PM
Yeah i do think serves hold alot of people back from hitting the 4.0 level. The big problem is this - practicing "good" serves can lead to double faults and alot of them.

Most people where I live don't have access to a court to just hit serves on. So when they do get a chance to serve its to an opponent and they don't want to risk shanking serves. And when you first start you can absolutely shank kick serves and even slice serves.

What I did is pratice my serves before lessons I'd show up a half hour early and just practice serves. This helped my serve alot. Also I am really tall.

OTOH my groundstrokes still are pretty mediocre at times. They are what's holding me back now - that and the simple fact I don't play enough. I have a buddy that I want to play in a league with though. And I am trying to get him to learn slice and kick serves. I sent him to a pro but he still doesn't really get it. He should have a huge serve as he played HS varsity baseball.. ..but its tough. He doesn't want to lose to me even in practice matches so he is resistant..

Pete

naylor
12-15-2009, 02:35 AM
Yeah i do think serves hold alot of people back from hitting the 4.0 level... OTOH my groundstrokes still are pretty mediocre at times. They are what's holding me back now - that and the simple fact I don't play enough...

I think playing doubles can be a great help in developing a good serve. The theory is in doubles you should serve at less than full power, and instead go for better placement - basically, very good second serves. Essentially, your first serve is a very aggressive second serve, and your second serve is a normal second serve. And the more you work on your serving, and the higher percentage of first serves you get in, the more you can actually risk cranking up your second serve when you miss your first one. All it takes is a basket full of balls, some target cones in the corners and up the sides of the service box (to get you to consciously aim for more angled sliders or kickers), and several rounds of baskets - and you can play condition games during the practice, such that if you miss one service then you must make the next one (the second serve) but you must also play it where you'd normally place your second serve.

The one area doubles is not too good for is in developing consistent groundstrokes - you very seldom get into long crosscourt exchanges, since the whole idea is to come in on a shorter ball, or for the players at the net to poach on anything that strays close to them. If anything, I've found that doubles encourages positive returns of serve - in singles you can push a return to get into the rally and then carry on, but in doubles such a return will most likely lose you the point or at least set your side on the defensive straight away. To practice these, I set the ball machine to fire reasonably fast balls diagonally across, landing about half way between service line and baseline, and stand in my normal receiving position one or two feet behing the baseline, so I have to hit them on the rise. Then I place target cones in the two corners of the singles court on the other side of the net, no more than 4 feet inside the court - when I go cross-court, I aim to play well wide of the opponent at the net (avoiding a poach) and also deep back to the server to pressure him into staying back after his serve; and when I go down the line, I aim to force the opponent at the net into a defensive volley, and also to dissuade him from attempting many intercepts. As well as developing positive returning for doubles, the more balls I regularly place in the target zones the more consistency I develop for my rally and attacking balls for singles.

GuyClinch
12-15-2009, 03:13 AM
The one area doubles is not too good for is in developing consistent groundstrokes - you very seldom get into long crosscourt exchanges, since the whole idea is to come in on a shorter ball, or for the players at the net to poach on anything that strays close to them. If anything, I've found that doubles encourages positive returns of serve - in singles you can push a return to get into the rally and then carry on, but in doubles such a return will most likely lose you the point or at least set your side on the defensive straight away.

I totally agree. You need a very good solid return else the net man will start poaching everything. Without enough pace even a wide ball will be slow enough for the guy to poach it. I don't really have these "smacked" groundies you need (at least not on a consistent basis) so occasionally I run into a net guy that can cause me trouble.

This is why I feel that pushing sucks so much more in doubles then singles. Of course I am not talking about pushers like Murray. <g> That's some pretty specific advice in your above post BTW. Are you teaching pro or just a serious doubles enthusiast. I so wish I had a ball machine and time for cones and stuff. I only get that kind of treatment if I pay for expensive lessons..

Pete

Ripper014
12-15-2009, 03:31 AM
^BB,

Say you had a pair of pushers and a pair of players at the same NTRP level who were not pushers. Imagine that everything else in their games was the same (positioning, serve, mental, etc.).

Would you expect the non-pushers or the pushers to win?


Depends on the NTRP level... pushers are competitive right up to about 4.0... on a day in day out basis... I would say that the pushers are more consistant and would probably win more often than not.

Bungalo Bill
12-15-2009, 07:29 AM
BB and Cindy,

I would think it's rather simple. The answer depends on NTRP level. At 3.5 or lower, it seems pushing is the way to go, because isn't it that 3.5 can't hit full stroked groundies with control or in a meaningful way? Otherwise they'd be 4.0, right? So, in a way, pushing is the best rendering of the 3.5 technique.

I really dont go by a rating to determine what pushers can do. We had a guy that was extremely athletic but had terrible technique. He played 4.0 level doubles.

He could move like a gazelle and had excellent anticipation and ball reading skills. His intuition on where to be on the court after he hit his shot was amazingly developed. Literally, he was in the right place at the right time almost all the time.

He served pretty well, nothing blazing, but he had excellent placement and disguise of his serve.

On groundstrokes, he pushed the ball and could use your pace to hit a decent ball. Again, nothing blazing or fancy but for doubles, he could handle the soft ball exchanges real well and use your pace on the faster paced balls all from his "bunt" like pushing stroke. He never took a full swing and because he had excellent anticipation skills, he could get to a place before you had a chance to cover and "bunt" the ball there giving you a difficult shot in return.

Rarely, did he pop up the ball and most balls were low, at your feet, or away from you.

If you weren't on that day, he could eat you alive with hsi dinking and bunting and get you off balance quickly. Not only that, if he was on, the frustration level of the opponents rose quickly and he would just have his way.

And you guys need to remember, doubles is about court positioning more than anything. The definition of a pusher has more to do with the way he hits the ball vs. what the ball does. Pushers can eat up a 4.0 player easily and it does not automatically make them the type of players that hit duck balls.

If you are thinking that, then that definition fits more with a Dinker than a Pusher.

mucat
12-15-2009, 07:29 AM
From what Ive seen at the 4.0-4.5 level pushers do not fair well in doubles. my friend is a pusher and we both mostly play doubles, when he gets on the run in doubles he always just slices it back like he would in singles and it makes for easy put away volleys for the net player. When I play against him I consistently poach his returns of serve cause I know he'll just block the serve back, setting me up to put it away. It works very well. I think this should be the general strategy employed in doubles against pushers, be aggressive and take it to the pusher.

Kinda frustrating playing doubles with him for this reason at times, but he is starting to learn he must adjust his style for doubles and force himself to be more aggressive. When he is more aggressive he plays better doubles.

This is what I imagine would happen. Just blocking back the shots will give your opponent big juicy gifts and the pusher's net partner might become target practice.

Bungalo Bill
12-15-2009, 07:44 AM
Ah, I love a man who recognizes when he is being trapped. :)

Good answer, though. I can say with absolute certainty from personal experience that the pusher beats the non-pusher at 2.5 and 3.0 ladies. It takes a long time to learn not to push and to be able to do it consistently enough to beat a pusher . . .

;) Yup. You know those pusher people. They have a different mentality and approach to tennis. They do not really care about ratings, getting better, or are trying to hit the ball correctly so much. They are more interested in using their racquet and what you give them against you.

They are more about attacking your movement, patience, ball control, etc...then anything else. They are usually pretty good in antcipating where you will hit the ball next (which is why this can make them a good doubles player). This can be very frustrating to those that are trying to mature their game and skills because the pusher doesn't care about those things.

papa
12-15-2009, 09:09 AM
But 3.5 is your standard club level player.
Pete

3.5 is what your standard club player "thinks" they are. Most think they are better than what they "really" are. Kinda falls in line with the "older you get the better you were".

Not trying to be harsh here but I've seen a lot of clubs and the "average player" is certainly not a 3.5 IMO.

GuyClinch
12-15-2009, 09:17 AM
Good answer, though. I can say with absolute certainty from personal experience that the pusher beats the non-pusher at 2.5 and 3.0 ladies. It takes a long time to learn not to push and to be able to do it consistently enough to beat a pusher . .

Truth is - and I say this about the consistency freaks - dinking is more consistent then "real strokes" for quite a while. Its hard to learn to use topspin to keep balls in that have pace. Whereas its easy for most people to succesfully dink the ball in.

So if you want to advance you have to suck it up hit legit shots and accept that your going to miss for a while. Plenty of those 3.0 and 2.5 women never even attempt this and that's why the get stuck.

I don't play in a league but I do play with a group of 12 different people that rotate in the winter. We had a woman who played this "dinking" style and it drove my buddy to quit. its easy to see because her drives are flat. They tend to spin VERY slowly slightly BACKWARDS!

I think one critical male advantage is the fact that we are more resistant to peer pressure in competitive situations. I have no problem hitting a big serve in a tight spot or going for a powerful forehand. Women feel the team pressure more and suck their game down to "win."

This is why young guys have the best advantage. They are fearless and have no issues shanking ten balls in a row. But once they get that power harnessed with topspin - watch out.

Pete

GuyClinch
12-15-2009, 09:23 AM
Not trying to be harsh here but I've seen a lot of clubs and the "average player" is certainly not a 3.5 IMO.

Eh. I wouldn't go THAT far. You have to remember a club is going to have young juniors that play in it that have serious ambitions (5.0+) teaching pros and ex college and HS varsity guys. So these 4.0's and better lift the average up some.

But I do agree - 3.5 isn't as bad as is made out to be on this board. I don't want to hear about how awful 3.5 is from people who haven't played in a 3.5 league..

It might LOOK awful the same way a rec basketball looks awful compared to an NBA guy but so what.. I think commentators are on target then they call a 3.5 a "club level" player. Its pretty close to average. That does mean though said player will beat at least half the players in the club.

Pete

naylor
12-15-2009, 10:06 AM
... Are you teaching pro or just a serious doubles enthusiast...

I was going to lie and say I was a closet MTM teacher but I thought better of it - I'm staying right out of those discussions... 8) 8) 8)

No, I'm just a club player who took up tennis again 5 years ago after a 25-year break when my son started playing. He's quite good - top junior squads, etc. and getting a lot of coaching - so I decided to learn to play the modern game (topspin off both wings) rather than pick up where I left 25 years ago (slice and flat). At 50+, I've got back to playing good doubles - I was a good S&V player in the old days, anyway, so that helped - but the legs are just not there to play top singles anymore.

Still, it's difficult to find "oldies" that want to practice to improve their games - most just want to hit 4 balls and get on with a set - hence the ball machine tricks.

Bungalo Bill
12-15-2009, 10:08 AM
I was going to lie and say I was a closet MTM teacher but I thought better of it - I'm staying right out of those discussions... 8) 8)

Hahaha, that would have meant WAR! :twisted::evil:

Tennisman912
12-15-2009, 10:58 AM
GuyCinch,

You hit the nail on the head a couple of posts ago. Dinking is more consistent in the short run. Once people start seeing success with this style, they throw technique to the wind and don’t have the mental fortitude to try to change into fully developed strokes and that is unfortunate but a very common tale. If they play in the same groups consistently (and many do), they are used to being the top of the heap and have little incentive to change unless they play with a wider variety of players and realize they’re current skills won’t work if they want to move up. So many aren’t exposed to more developed players and start thinking they are doing things right. By the time they decide they are on the wrong track (if they ever do) they have perfected their style and don’t want to sacrifice winning to improve their technique and future development. Thus they decide it isn’t worth it and stay there forever. The truth is people are too resistant to change so most of our conversation is moot. Those that push will always push and may wonder why they don’t improve their level while peers do. But even that is rare. Why? Because as evidenced on the courts ever day, people don’t know what they don’t know and usually don’t even consider others may have a different philosophy for lack of a better word.

That is unfortunate but shouldn’t be surprising from a human nature standpoint. To most people, results now or in the next few months (especially when just learning) are more important to most than learning proper technique which can take longer in the short run, but will pay dividends eventually. Sure they may see better players playing but they don’t draw the parallel about what they do differently than the better players. And in the rare instance when they do, they wouldn’t have enough body awareness to even really comprehend the differences. Again, it comes back to you don’t know what you don’t know.

Good tennis

TM

Wegner
12-16-2009, 01:56 AM
BB, I like how you addressed the issue, to clarify it. Otherwise someone looking at Federer's short cross court slice backhand, where he draws players to the net at will and umcomfortably, could call Roger a "pusher".

papa
12-16-2009, 03:03 AM
Eh. I wouldn't go THAT far. You have to remember a club is going to have young juniors that play in it that have serious ambitions (5.0+) teaching pros and ex college and HS varsity guys. So these 4.0's and better lift the average up some.

But I do agree - 3.5 isn't as bad as is made out to be on this board. I don't want to hear about how awful 3.5 is from people who haven't played in a 3.5 league..

It might LOOK awful the same way a rec basketball looks awful compared to an NBA guy but so what.. I think commentators are on target then they call a 3.5 a "club level" player. Its pretty close to average. That does mean though said player will beat at least half the players in the club.

Pete

Pete,

Think he said "average" club player was a 3.5. No age was discussed.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 08:30 AM
Naylor...
The reason us old farts hit 4 balls and start the set is because our "working life span" in tennis is about 5 minutes. 5 minutes after we're warmed up, we start to lose physical abilities.
So if we hit 4 balls for warmup, we're smart enough to play some conservative points during the beginning of the match to WARM UP, then get better and better for 3 minutes, then play our best for 5 minutes, and the doubles match is still going on for another 5 minutes! :shock::shock:

raiden031
12-16-2009, 08:54 AM
3.5 is what your standard club player "thinks" they are. Most think they are better than what they "really" are. Kinda falls in line with the "older you get the better you were".

Not trying to be harsh here but I've seen a lot of clubs and the "average player" is certainly not a 3.5 IMO.

I'd say from my observations, average club player is probably ranges between 3.0 and 3.5. Alot of these players are out there 3-5 times a week.

Average park/public court player is probably 2.5, many of which just randomly show up every couple of weeks.

This is not factoring in the 10% or so of highly skilled players you seen on occasion.

Ripper014
12-16-2009, 09:28 AM
I'd say from my observations, average club player is probably ranges between 3.0 and 3.5. Alot of these players are out there 3-5 times a week.

Average park/public court player is probably 2.5, many of which just randomly show up every couple of weeks.

This is not factoring in the 10% or so of highly skilled players you seen on occasion.


My observations are that the average club player is about 3.0 where the average park/public court player is a little higher if you factor out the random player. There are a lot of regular park players that play near everyday and play well, they either do not want the expense of a club or the politics.

Where things are different is at the high end where park players cannot get the consistant high calibur of play required or the instruction to make the jump to a more elite game.

In my experience most tournaments are won by park/public court players up to a 4.5 level before it becomes dominated by players belonging to clubs.

But there are exceptions... Vitas Gerulaitis I believe was a public park player but even he probably ended up playing in clubs... but then his father was a tennis instructor. It is near impossible to acheive excellence without proper training and competition.

naylor
12-16-2009, 11:04 AM
Naylor...
The reason us old farts hit 4 balls and start the set is because our "working life span" in tennis is about 5 minutes. 5 minutes after we're warmed up, we start to lose physical abilities.
So if we hit 4 balls for warmup, we're smart enough to play some conservative points during the beginning of the match to WARM UP, then get better and better for 3 minutes, then play our best for 5 minutes, and the doubles match is still going on for another 5 minutes! :shock::shock:

LeeD - you're telling me, I'm an old fart too!

The point I was trying to make is, when I play "old fart" tennis a set lasts 20 minutes (if lucky), out of which 14 are spent fetching balls, changing sides, etc. and I've hit the princely number of 50 shots - tops - of which 10-12 will be serves (don't miss many first ones, don't lose many service games) and the rest will be an assortment of forehands, backhands, volleys, etc. mostly, eminently forgettable. But I'll still end up knackered, because of all the movement from offensive to defensive volleying positions, sideways and back together with my partner - even if I will not hit the ball, I don't stand in the middle of the service box like a wallflower and watch my partner play the point.

On the other hand, when I use my ball machine for the same period of time, in the same 20 minutes I will hit 150-200 crosscourt forehands (or backhands), run a lot less (split-step, adjustment steps, unit turn, swing, recovery, again), end just as knackered but will have improved a particular shot a lot more. And my waistline will be much improved from it as well, because it will also cut out the "4 sets" of beers - my tennis buddies were brought up when men were men and a tennis match was 5 sets, now after the opening set on the court we play the rest of the match in the bar...

GuyClinch
12-16-2009, 11:05 AM
My observations are that the average club player is about 3.0 where the average park/public court player is a little higher if you factor out the random player. There are a lot of regular park players that play near everyday and play well, they either do not want the expense of a club or the politics.

That low eh? I tell ya honestly if you go to CP in NYC and look on the board they have for player meet ups - the vast majority of players self rate as 3.5 or 4.0. On craig list there doesn't seem to be a person below 3.5 ever...

Ripper014
12-16-2009, 11:34 AM
That low eh? I tell ya honestly if you go to CP in NYC and look on the board they have for player meet ups - the vast majority of players self rate as 3.5 or 4.0. On craig list there doesn't seem to be a person below 3.5 ever...

Didn't I say that "park/public court player is a little higher", I am good with 3.5 or 4.0 but it is like golf no one wants to say they golf in the 100's but the majority do. No one in tennis wants to admit they play below 3.5 or the magic 4.0 number. The truth is probably they are closer to a 3.0 or 3.5 level.

But then that is just my experience... it might differ in other areas of the country.

LeeD
12-16-2009, 11:52 AM
Tough one to quantify....
Mostly at my courts, guys hit with g/f's, and level is 2.5 at best.
Sometimes, all 3 courts have good doubles going, one with 3.5, one with 4.5, and one with a mix of 4.5 thru 5.5's.
What day are we talking about?

papa
12-17-2009, 06:45 AM
I'd say from my observations, average club player is probably ranges between 3.0 and 3.5. Alot of these players are out there 3-5 times a week.

Average park/public court player is probably 2.5, many of which just randomly show up every couple of weeks.

This is not factoring in the 10% or so of highly skilled players you seen on occasion.

I'd go along with this.

papa
12-17-2009, 06:55 AM
That low eh? I tell ya honestly if you go to CP in NYC and look on the board they have for player meet ups - the vast majority of players self rate as 3.5 or 4.0. On craig list there doesn't seem to be a person below 3.5 ever...

Bid difference between this self-rated stuff and what one can actually play at. Funny thing how all the better players try to "play down" in tournaments while all the others want to "play-up" in any type of discussion.

I also think one's assessment of their abilities is inversely proportional to the distance to any court. I found a similar oddly with golf many years ago - I used to ask myself why was it that all the good golfers never played the sport because most of the ones I ran across were "having a bad day", etc. So, I came to the conclusion that the best golfers weren't anywhere near a golf course.