Another played a pusher last night topic...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by frenzy, Apr 23, 2013.

  1. frenzy

    frenzy New User

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    Hi all,

    Yesterday I played a great match against a pusher, but one of the best I have ever played against. I lost the match with 6-3, 6-3, but I did not have the feeling playing bad. This guy was very consistent and a former atlete (used to run 100m in 10.5s :shock:), so about everything I have tried during the match turned out not to be working that good. A list of things that I did in my plan:
    • Play consistently deep => long rallies of +20 balls, but in the end I lost. He moved perfectly fast from left to right and forth and back.
    • Played with higher pace => he was returning my balls back to neutral so I had to start over and I made more errors.
    • Mixed up with more slices and dropshots => dropshots seem to work a bit, he handled the slices well.
    • Attack his backhand => extremely consistent backhand, no way to go there
    • Moved to the net => got lobbed a few times, but also got opportunities to score but I failed the last point. Only could make 1/15 net points. Some improvement to make here.
    • Tried to hit angles, but he managed to handle those pretty well as he was very fast. He made a couple errors how ever. Since I had to play close to the lines, I made as many errors as well.

    Many things I have tried, but not very successfull. However, if I had scored the points at the net, it would be a different match. I missed agression and placement at the net, maybe I needed to try some drive volleys. Don't know. I would like to play again with him, so I can learn to deal with it :).

    Do you have other ideas to play against a superman like this?
     
    #1
  2. Tonyr1967

    Tonyr1967 Rookie

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    Trial and error against a 'wall'. Find out what works.

    Some ideas:

    Could try varying the length of shot, some short some long - you may find he struggles against a short ball.

    Maybe shot height - hit some loopy moonballs, then some low slices.

    Even if someone can deal with each shot individually - short/long, low/high, topspin/slice when you mix them you may find a weakness.

    Attacking the net is a great strategy but if he is lobbing well you need to make sure your approach shots are sound.

    There are 100's of threads on this subject - worth searching and reading. You only need to find 1 or 2 nuggets.
     
    #2
  3. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Net play is how you beat a pusher. So you need to improve that area of your game.
     
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  4. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    seems like you had two successful strategies, but didn't really execute the 2nd one well:
    - Get into a rally to keep him behind the baseline, drop shot him mid-rally and then come to the net for an easy volley if he gets to it.
    - Serve & Volley, or come to the net after good approach shots. Looks like you need to be prepared to hit two volleys instead of trying to go for a single volley winner and making errors.

    Did you get many mid-court sitters, or short balls? If so, you have to punish these consistently. You can practice this on your own with drop feeds. This will force him to go for more risky shots (more errors) or will give you a lot of easy points.

    You have a great attitude about playing these guys. It really can improve your tennis. Good luck!
     
    #4
  5. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Why is he a pusher?
     
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  6. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    if(Points won < 2*Winners){ player=pusher; }

    In other words he didn't miss enough going for broke for frenzy's liking.

    It might be true in this case to be honest though, I've noticed that most people who move to tennis from certain other sports will tend to use their conditioning to outlast those who only play Tennis.

    A few of the members at my University club have come from other sports cannot not hit a winner to save their life, but can beat most of their opponents at their level by pushing the ball deep to the centre of the court where the opponent cannot attack it consistently and then they wear their opponent down Physically and Mentally.
     
    #6
  7. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    you answered your own question. 14 missed volleys = 3.5 games.
     
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  8. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Because frenzy lost to him.
     
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  9. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    It is all about drop shots and volleys. Some of the best pushers in the world are well trained 12 year old girls. These girls are fit and can moonball all day long. They consistently beat the girls who hit hard 6-0, 6-0.

    But there is one girl in the section, only 10 years old, who destroys them. She was trained from age 5 to volley like a demon, hour after hour vs a ball machine volleying. She can swing volley, net volley, take balls out of the air. She also was trained to have a great drop shot.

    I watched the best pusher I have ever seen destroy a hard hitting girl in one match. The next match she played the 10 year old and got crushed. The 10 year old executed 2 patterns over and over....deep to the corners a few times, followed by a nice drop shot. Or deep to the corners a few times, followed by an attack, swinging volley, followed by a volley at the T.

    She was the best pusher slayer I have ever seen.
     
    #9
  10. nyc

    nyc Hall of Fame

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    Good question.

    From the description sounds more like a counter puncher, not a pusher.
     
    #10
  11. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    tomato, potato... neither are meat.
     
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  12. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    good counterpuncher is like tofu. soft and firm at the same time.
     
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  13. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    We have a winner here!

    For the first time in TW history, pusher has been mathematically defined.

    Does it apply to the pros?

    I might take this to a broader audience in the Pro Player section, but will give you due credit of course. Such advances come once in a lifetime.
     
    #13
  14. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Excellent post. If you see that your ground stroke is pretty good, start moving to get ready for the inevitable defensive lob and take it out of the air either as a swinging volley or regular volley.
     
    #14
  15. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    The OP didn't say what NTRP level. I'm guessing it was 3.5 or 4.0. The pusher's dominate at 3.5 and to a great extent even 4.0. I just have general advice that I'm certain you've heard, either force the pusher out of his comfort zone, occasional S/V, chip and charge, attack short balls, body serves), do that well enough and you'll play at the next level and advance. The other option is to stay at 3.5 and learn to be a pusher, yourself.
     
    #15
  16. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    It was a text book example of how to beat them. In our section there are some very large 12 year olds who dominate the 12s. They feed the smaller girls moon ball after moon ball....20-30, whatever it takes until they miss or tire out.

    Then this foreign girl showed up at age 9 last year and started beating all the big girls. I saw a video of her and she was tiny. We were surprised that this little thing could beat the big pushers every tournament.

    I finally got to see her train and it was drop shots and volleys of all types. From all parts of the court. Nice disguise on her drop shot too. Hour after hour of practicing them.

    We can not all train that long of course....but it is a proven recipe for beating the consistent balls with little pace.
     
    #16
  17. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I have limited experience, but have heard from others that Net Play is indeed the key to at least making it easier.

    There was a very simple 3 shot combo that someone suggested a while back that I thought made a lot of sense. Let's assume their backhand is their weaker side. You set it up by hitting wide to their forehand, if the ball is coming back weak, you are attacking to end the point. You then hit wide to their backhand and approach the net aggressively. The chances of a pusher now hitting a passing shot in this scenario are tiny, as are the chances of them hitting a good lob, as they should be having to move way out wide again to their weaker side. The most likely shot you will get back is weak return down the middle, at a very manageable height (or an error). You just need to go for it.
     
    #17
  18. frenzy

    frenzy New User

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    Thanks to all of you for the feedback. Regarding the NTRP level, I think it matches 3.0-3.5 (we have the European system here). For further improvement from my side, I'll be practising in the next few weeks volley and half volley, especially on low pace balls. I need to be able to put more aggression into it. Dropshot needs more practice as well, but more in a strategic way (like the 10yo girl that was mentioned in one of the posts).

    And of course play him again :), learn from it and apply the things I have put into practice to see if it goes better.
     
    #18
  19. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Try the deep high bouncer to the Bh side pushing them back and wide, then follow
    with a short angle slice to the Fh side. It combines back, angles, high bounce,
    low bounce, side to side and up and back.... all in 2 simple shots.

    Not beating a pusher just shows a lack of execution on short ball attacks.
    Pushers always give up these attackable short balls, so if you can execute,
    you will win pretty easy.
    If they are not giving up attackable shorter balls, they are not truly a pusher.
     
    #19
  20. frenzy

    frenzy New User

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    Hi 5263,

    That's a good tip as well, thx. I have had those shorter balls although I needed to be patient (that's why I got to the net so often), but could not "finish" them either by winner or by approach shot followed by volley... The approach shot usually resulted in a lob or a mid high low pace topspin ball to which I could not reply to properly. Then my volley was a bit too cautious.

    BTW: Do you have good exercises / references to practice these short attackable balls?
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
    #20
  21. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    yes, lots of ways to work on attacking these balls, but first you need to figure
    out what you can do and what you want/need to be able to do.
    Also learn what you cannot do!

    For example, most players need to focus primarily on attackable balls near the
    center T. The key here is you can run to your stronger attack weapon (Fh?),
    and attack to either side...which forces the pusher to have to worry about
    both sides of the court. Also from there, you can go to any weakness you
    picked up on.

    To work on the important, top spin rip, get someone to toss mini lobs and easy balls
    to your center T and come up from right near the BL and and drive
    these to both sides. The swing needs to be very modern, pulling across strongly (& up some),
    to avoid punching them long. Working across the contact allows you to better
    modulate the "thru the ball", the spin and the most important, net crossing height!
    You may even hit across and Down some if it is short and high enough! Too much forward
    mo or "thru the ball" to the target will often punch it long or drive it into net
    looking to avoid hitting long. Also depth is not important on a strong attack, but it
    is all about pace and line of shot. The bounce point means nothing when you power
    thru the court, so no need to flirt with the lines!

    To work on attacking lower attackable short balls, have them toss to the same
    area, but with a more skidding, lower bounce; so you can run up and slice
    either solid and deeper OR, my fav, the dying, low skidding short angle. These work
    better with the Bh slice if you are a good slicer, since the Bh
    slice is normally more nasty!

    Remember, these attackable balls put you in Transition. You must transition
    on to net OR back to BL coverage. No standing in NM'sL being lazy.
    Also realize shorter balls to one side or the other represent some extra challenge.
    Not only do they bring you into transition, but also pull your coverage
    to one side....so what you do with these is important to augment your coverage
    for the next shot if you can't execute the finish or hurt them with it.
    For example, a short wide ball to your Bh may require a
    mini crosscourt lob just to get you back to the BL in coverage to wait for a
    better chance to attack.
     
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2013
    #21
  22. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    Nice post, you described exactly what we worked on with our hard hitting kids last night to deal with the pushers. We set a ball machine to shoot 4 balls to simulate the pusher. Ending with exactly the finishing shots you describe.
     
    #22
  23. UCSF2012

    UCSF2012 Hall of Fame

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    I wouldn't be surprised if his opponent's thinking, "wow, I couldn't believe Frenzy was a total pusher. I kept trying to move him around with my massive topspin forehand, and he just kept getting the ball back....we'd have these 20+ shot rallies....!!!! Total pusher!!!"
     
    #23
  24. GoudX

    GoudX Professional

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    It's amazing what science can do!

    Feel free to spread the word, properly academically referenced of course.
     
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  25. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    Thanks,
    yes, I really love to play pushers, since they really give you a chance to work
    thru your full pattern to build a point and then execute the closing sequences.
    Sounds like you guys are doing some good stuff with those kids.
    Keep up the good work!
     
    #25
  26. Slitch

    Slitch Rookie

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    I'm having about the same problems with my hitting partner who is a awful pusher. Few things you need to do:
    First: Volleys are essential to beating them, get better at net.
    Second, look for playing strategies that work. For example my opponent almost always crosses his backhand. I play to his backhand and know where the ball is going to, thus giving me more prep time. Learn is strategy, pushers are smart players.
    Third, annoy the sh*t out of em. Pusher are players who like to be in control. I know it's not a respectful way to play, but if you want to win go all out. When you're serving take your time. When he's about to serve pick up a ball in the court and apologise. If he failed his first serve scrape your foot over the baseline (when on clay) like you're stepping in and then move back a few steps. Celebrate your shots and comment when you see he's having a bad time. Pushers tend to wear you down.
     
    #26
  27. Avles

    Avles Hall of Fame

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    Seriously? To me that crosses the line into cheating.
     
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  28. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

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    Hi Frenzy,

    Here's is the number 1 tip.

    Don't think of him as a pusher. That automatically sets you up for failure. When you set up your opponwnr as a pushers it's almost like you're calling him a cheater and coward. Automatically we disrespect them, a recipe for disaster.

    Number 2

    Even pushers have a weakness. You have to observant in the warm up. Even speed can he a weakness. Start hitting behind him....or drilling it down the middle if he's anticipating well. If he's reluctant to go for it then hit and move in on everything. A favorite of mine is to lob high to the backhand and move in to the service line. Good things happen if he can't drill it from there.


    Number 3

    Pushers aren't usually good net players. A short slice can do wonders. If he can approach and close the net well...then he's probably not the pusher you think he is. If he's like most pushers he'll hit it back to the middle and retreat to the baseline. Lob it the backhand side or drill it to a corner. Or....if you want to shake him up....hit it right at him.

    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2013
    #28
  29. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    Agreed. This place kills me. The guy was athletic, kept the ball deep, had a solid backhand and no problem handling slices or angles.....and he is a "pusher".

    It seems that anyone that can keep the ball in play for more than 5 shots is a pusher to half of the people here.
     
    #29
  30. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    The problem I see in my league when I see my teammates play a pusher is their approach shot. Mid level rec players (4.0-4.5) "pushers" will still be able to pass someone at net if a bad approach shot is made.

    The normally the rally has no pace and there is no pressure of your opponent hitting a winner. You're rally speed tends to drop to compared to your normal pace.

    You have to make sure your approach shot is a good one. If i'm just moon balling with the pusher waiting for that short ball to come in, my approach shot better not be moon ball. I'm not saying hit winners but often I see moon ball approach shots which yields negative results. The point of an approach shot is to set up the put away volley, so if your "pusher" gets there in time you are going to have a tough time putting away that volley or even setting him up for a passing shot.

    You said you missed a lot of volleys, were they because they were forced errors or were they your own fault? Were your approach shots aggressive enough where the pressure was placed on your opponent?
     
    #30
  31. StringingIrvine

    StringingIrvine Semi-Pro

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    I agree. At the rec levels I feel like a lot of people get hurt when they lose to a better player. This might sound harsh but, its possible that this person is just an all around better player and no matter what you do, you will lose.
     
    #31
  32. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

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    For me, when I am playing someone who is mostly defensive, I try not to change my game/strategy too much (for example, by trying to hit harder or aiming for more winners) because I find that I will easily beat myself through unforced errors.

    Instead, I try to use better court positioning by setting up close to or even inside the baseline for my groundstrokes. When you hit your groundstrokes from a closer position (versus the opponent), you put pressure on the the opponent because your shots are coming back super quick. This positioning also allows you to hit far better angles while still maintaining a high percentage. Also, it is easier for you to transition to the net or toward a short ball for a winner if you start near the baseline.
     
    #32
  33. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    So you don't use that stuff against other types of opponents? It's not effective against other types?

    I dont' know guys. Sometimes one guy's game looks difficult to another guy or versa. It probably comes down to whether you could adapt and change when you need to.
     
    #33
  34. chrisberchris

    chrisberchris Rookie

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    Great approach shots and coming to the net more has helped me a lot in playing pushers. There are a lot of them in the 3.5 to low 4.0 league I play in and they have helped me improve my net game a lot.
     
    #34
  35. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    I believe there should be something like this:

    if(Points won > 2*Winners){ player=pusher; }

    Also I’m not sure about coefficient 2, but idea is brilliant. :):shock:
     
    #35
  36. frenzy

    frenzy New User

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    The net points I lost were like 70% my fault, the rest were good lobs from my opponent. This night I'll be training on the net play and also on the approach shots. Hopes it works out well :).

    PS: Some people have responded to naming my opponent a "pusher", but please know that I do not mean it in a negative way. It's a type of playing like any other and if it is effective, why not. But it is a difficult type of playing to beat, because it requires consistency, placement, aggression and excellent footwork. Yes I lost the match, but I had a great time on court.
     
    #36
  37. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Pushers love lobbing, so work on those overheads.
     
    #37
  38. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    I suggest this formula:

    if (Points won = Opponent's unforced errors) {player = pusher}

    Not much new here! :)
     
    #38
  39. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    If he really is a pusher than like the others have said. You lost the game because you got poor net game.

    I know. It's easy to say. But you gotta rush him at the net and ready to back up to smash those lobs. If everything is just perfect from his side may be he is just a higher level player than u. I guess.

    If he really hit everything back to the middle wouldn't that be a great thing for you?
     
    #39
  40. toly

    toly Hall of Fame

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    This is true for ideal/100% pusher. :)
     
    #40
  41. Readers

    Readers Semi-Pro

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    We need a little tolerance so I suggest

    if (Points won < Opponent's unforced errors*1.1) {player = pusher}
     
    #41
  42. frenzy

    frenzy New User

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    Just a quick follow up: the opponent I played won the tournament with a 6/2 6/2 victory. I feel a bit better now, nevertheless there is work left on the court and I am working on it. I need to beat this guy when I play him again :).
     
    #42

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