Am I a pusher?

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by drupha, Dec 19, 2009.

  1. drupha

    drupha New User

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    So I'm new to the boards, and I'm reading all of these diatribes about pushers, and I've come to realize that I may be one according to the boards.

    I'd always considered pushers to be the guys who hit every shot with no pace, but got back nearly everything.

    I like to think of myself as a guy who can hit a number of shots. I can easily hold a sustained topspin baseline rally, but more often than not, I'll mix in slice from both directions (forehand slice I feel is tragically underused) because at the 3.5 skill level, a lot of people still can't effectively handle it, and some drops.

    I usually start each match trying a couple of each shot, to see how they hit from backhand to forehand, how they handle slice, and what their mobility is like.

    From there, if there's a weak point to the person's game, I simply attack that. There's matches where I'll hit 60% slice, not because I can't hit topspin, but because they can't understand the ball spin trajectory. Other times, if I feel someone's inconsistent, I'll, yes, push, because I know that as long as I keep the ball in play on my side, the other guy will kill himself with shots. Other times I'll bang from the baseline like everyone else.

    So at the end of the day, I think that a lot of the members on the board don't effectively differentiate between players with strategy, or players who push. It sounds like there's a lot of guys who have long, flowing swings like Nadal, but unlike Nadal, can't adapt their games to what the opponent is playing. Kind of like a, "Oh, I lost, but that's because he wasn't spending the matching bashing lines from the baseline, so he's a pusher."

    Adapt and react friends. Tennis is about winning (and a few token other things), with no points going to grace or style.
     
  2. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    The word 'pusher' is definitely thrown around too much. Its hard to say who really is a pusher without having a good feel for the origin of the word. Some say that touring pros are pushers, and others say that pushers top out at 3.5-4.0.

    I always think of a pusher as the most primitive form of a defensive player. Basically a pusher is a player who on a per-stroke basis, is very undeveloped, yet has the simple game strategy of keeping the ball in play to allow their opponents to beat themselves.

    Usually this means hitting with a more blocking stroke instead of using full follow-through, because its simply easier to develop good shot tolerance when you are hitting rudimentary strokes that don't rely too much on good timing. The downside to this is that they never learn to hit shots that are effective at higher levels, which is why they top out at low levels, since higher level players are just as consistent as them, plus have weapons.
     
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2009
  3. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    I agree with you 85%, but I'd like to hold out on behalf of grace and style. Hitting a tennis ball just the way you wanted to, seeing the nice ballistics of a good stroke clearing the net and landing where you want it to in the court--these kind of things can be their own reward. It sounds to me like you play a good all-court game, but I lean toward looking for satisfaction in how I'm hitting the ball, not just doing whatever it takes to get a win.
     
  4. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Yeah, I really don't understand why people are so quick to label someone a pusher either. The fact that someone plays solely defense does not make them a pusher.

    I can take my strokes as they are and play offense or play defense. If you see me hitting a complete stroke but never going for a winner, that means I am playing defense. It doesn't mean I am a pusher.

    If OP can sustain baseline topspin rallies and mix in slice and drop shots, that's not pushing, IMHO.

    Cindy -- whose definition of "pusher" is someone who would go to pieces if two opponents were at net
     
  5. tennis005

    tennis005 Professional

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    I don't think your a pusher. Pushers don't put anything on their shots, they just get it back in and wait for you to mess up.
     
  6. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    even if you are a pusher, that is not so bad. the word pusher brings fear to the minds of many tennis players :)
     
  7. drupha

    drupha New User

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    I absolutely agree. I think one of the best feelings in tennis is blasting one right down the line when the net guy's cheating middle.
     
  8. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

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    You don't sound like a "pusher" to me. I think a pusher has two characteristics (and maybe ONLY these two).

    - Plays a very defensive game. Get's the ball back at all costs, but only in a defensive manner. Does not try to "win" a point, only tries not to lose the point.

    - The term "pusher", I think, comes from a description of their shots. They just "push" the ball back over the net without ever going for a full stroke on the ball. If you're hitting topspin and slice and using strategy to determine when to do what, I don't think that's called "pushing".

    Just playing consistently and not making too many UE's doesn't automatically make you a pusher.
     
  9. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    That would be my definition of a pusher also. A pusher has no weapons other than the ability to keep the ball in play.

    Someone who has weapons but chooses to focus on being consistent as a strategy in a match is not a pusher.
     
  10. sphinx780

    sphinx780 Professional

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    I'd say your more of a defensively minded player...the other posters seem to be spot on with my thoughts on the definition of a pusher.

    A pusher can do only that, push. Sounds like you have the ability to adapt your game plan according to what strokes are working better for you on a given day and make adjustments according to your opponents abilities...two qualities that lift your game above being defined solely a pusher.
     
  11. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    there's an old man that i sometimes play with. i think he is a pusher because his strategy is to hit moonballs (20 - 25 feet high) and wait for the opponent to make the errors.
     
  12. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

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    Others said this roughly, but I wanted to make it explicit. If your shots have the pace and trajectory of normal hitting, then the counterpuncher style isn't necessarily pushing.

    For example, if your slice shots have a fair amount of loft, very slow pace, then yes you're pushing. If you hit a lot of forehand slice from the baseline, then you're very likely a pusher.

    Pushers can be somewhat offensive and still be pushing. I see this with the dropshot/lob/dropshot/lob routine to force an overhead error, or a retrieval shot error from a good lob.
     
  13. Dreamcastin

    Dreamcastin Rookie

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    by your definition right there almost every male on pro tour is a pusher. hitting a dropshot then hiting a nice topspin lob to win the point is the exact opposite of being a pusher, thats attacking the point. Pusher is like others stated, hitting with the most power you can without having to worry about missing and not playing angles.
     
  14. matchmaker

    matchmaker Hall of Fame

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    According to your description, yes, you are a pusher.

    You don't try to make the game, but just hope your opponent will break down or self-implode.

    You hit lots of slices, even FH slices, which is also a typical feature for pushers.

    One's strategy is one's own choice. If you like to play tennis that way, what can I say? Probably at a somewhat higher level you will be blown off the court and then wonder why you have never learnt to be a little more agressive.
     
  15. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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  16. 35ft6

    35ft6 Legend

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    Pusher is somebody who beats you with consistency. I've noticed the term only comes up when somebody has lost to a player they think they're better than. You would think "better" is predicated on who won, but not really the case at TW boards.

    Yo, OP, what you're doing is smart. But don't practice the way you play matches or you'll have a hard time really improving. Or at least play practice matches where you work on specific things and not just try to win. At the higher levels, unless you're Fabrice Santoro, slicing off boths sides simply is NOT going to work, so it's probably something you don't want to grow attached to.
     
  17. JoelDali

    JoelDali G.O.A.T.

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  18. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I think a pusher's game is strictly one dimensional. Someone who is occasionally defensive isn't a pusher. Especially if they play defensively but are always looking for an opening for a winner. A true pusher hits every shot with no pace.
     
  19. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    All you care about is winning. You will do anything to win, "slice and dice".
    For those reasons yes, you are a PUSHER.

    There are two types to pushers:
    -wants to win at all costs, forcing opponent to miss by pushing.
    -beginner who hasn't developed their strokes yet.
     
  20. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Huh? If anyone cares about anything in tennis besides winning, that would be the odd thing.

    What do you mean by "forcing opponent to miss by pushing"? If you are forcing someone to miss, that would be a power baseliner, not a pusher.
     
  21. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    If you asked Roger Federer what was more important, winning or
    playing your best?
    I think he would choose "playing your best".
    I think most professionals would find it odd that winning would be the most important thing. They are always trying to improve their game.
     
  22. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Sorry, but that is just too funny!

    They are called "professionals" because playing tennis is what they do for a living. They put food on the table by (a) winning prize money, and (b) getting endorsements. In a tournament, every match they win advances them to the next round which means more prizemoney. And every match they win improves their ranking which in turn leads to more endorsement opportunities.

    Part of what makes the pros so good is that they find ways to win even when they are not playing their very best.
     
  23. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    How do you think Blake became a top 10 player? Their focus is to improve, with improvement comes wins.
     
  24. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

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    Agreed. Dumb statement by papa.

    OP is called a smart player... sizing up his opponents and adjusting his game accordingly.

    Definitely NOT a pusher.
     
  25. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    Um, I think Blake became a top 10 player by winning... then he stopped winning, and so is no longer top 10.

    Of course the pros look to improve - that's why they train, practice, and so on. But in tournament matches, they are trying to win each match however they can. You are sadly mistaken if you think otherwise.
     
  26. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    Where do you think pros practice new or revamped stokes? During tournament play. They can practice, drill and train all they want, but until they try it during a match play, they will never know if they made the improvement.

    I guess you must be a fan of Brad Gilbert...
     
  27. coloskier

    coloskier Legend

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    Definition of a "pusher": Any player who wins more points by waiting for his opponents errors than by his own winners or forced errors.
     
  28. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    If you play singles, then everyone under 4.5 should be a pusher at some point during a match or against certain opponents. If your opponent can't hit more than 3-4 balls then there is no reason for you to press the issue and increase your chances for errors. I've seen defensive players win mucho matches at 4.0 level.
    In doubles, I just don't think there is a viable strategy for pushing.

    Hey, if Andy Murray and Monfils are pushers, then I can only hope to be a pusher.

    Maybe the term should be changed to "blocker" (good defensive term). This is what I consider a true "pusher". Just blocks the ball back, but uses their athletic ability to retrieve. I haven't seen too many slow and overweight pushers.
     
  29. onehandbh

    onehandbh Hall of Fame

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    Totally. Karl Malone was like "I'm soooo satisfied that I never
    won a championship b/c I kept improving and playing my
    best. Who cares about championships. We don't care. Me and
    my boy Short shorts Stockton all we ever cared about was
    playing our best. Nobody cares about the championships."
     
  30. tennis005

    tennis005 Professional

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    I agree, pushers have figured out how to beat opponents better then them through patience and consistency. You gotta give them credit, their game plan is genius.
     
  31. big bang

    big bang Hall of Fame

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    like said by others, theres a big difference between being a pusher and being a defensive baseliner or counterpuncher.
    I play claycourts only except in the winter season where I have to practice indoor.
    I have a true claycourt game with long swings generating extreme spin on both wings. I win by forcing errors from my opponent with pressure shots and doesnt hit a lot of winners. I play very strategic, mixing my heavy spin-shots up with slices and dropshots and when the opening is there I hit the winner. pretty much the same thing you see from Nadal and other claycourt specialists.
    thats just the right tactics on clay and NOT pushing, but you must be fit to play like this:)
     
  32. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    If your post is not a sarcastic joke, then you are very unfamiliar with the mindset of ultracompetitive personalities, like Roger's.
     
  33. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    now i am not sure if federer cried (at trophy presentation of the 2009 AO) because he lost the match or because he felt he didn't play his best or both :)
     
  34. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Good one!!
     
  35. DrpShot!

    DrpShot! Semi-Pro

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    If you're playing someone who can beat you simply by keeping the ball in play, they think you suck.
     
  36. OroDeSantoro

    OroDeSantoro Rookie

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    It sounds like you completely missed the point of what he tried to say...
     
  37. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Push On!

    Being consistent doesn't make you a pusher. The best coaches teach players that consistency is most important, followed by technique/shot selection, followed by power. To me a pusher is someone with a completely one-dimensional game, usually someone who clings to the baseline like grim death, hitting softballs back over and over again and never going for a winner. Sometimes this type of player will beat me, as I like to use variety and strategy, and am trying to develop an all-court game. Doesn't bother me, because when I can successfully hit ALL the shots in my repertoire, I won't be playing these guys anymore.

    I say, don't criticize another person's game, even if they play an annoying style like this. It's good practice to learn how to play all types of players, even those with zero imagination.
     
  38. insiderman

    insiderman Rookie

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    I'd be more interested in asking myself; "Am I a winner!?" The score tells a lot more, then the way of getting there~
     
  39. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    Like Pete Sampras?
     
  40. papatenis

    papatenis Semi-Pro

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    He cries after important matches because he has to keep his emotions in check for the entire match.
     
  41. pow

    pow Hall of Fame

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    People often mislabel others pushers when they actually mean to say that they lost to players who are more consistent than themselves.
     
  42. Sakkijarvi

    Sakkijarvi Semi-Pro

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    Pushers are people that never hit winners. Easy to ID.
     
  43. jc4.0

    jc4.0 Professional

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    Exactly! If you hit good shots, keeping the ball inside the lines, you're a consistent player. If you hit consistent moonballs, never going for a winner, then you are a pusher.
     
  44. OrangePower

    OrangePower Hall of Fame

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    According to many posters on this board:

    * If you've ever won a match where the other guy had better looking strokes than you, even though he couldn't get a single shot in, you're a pusher.

    * If you've ever won a match where the other guy ran out of gas before you, you're a pusher.

    * If you've ever won a match where the other guy thought he was better than you, you're a pusher.

    Of course, if you've ever won a match where the other guy didn't think he was better than you, you're a sandbagger.

    :):):)
     

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