conterpunchers versus pushers

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by adista4, Dec 16, 2009.

  1. adista4

    adista4 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    489
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    who should win?
     
    #1
  2. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,976
    good question. i would pack breakfast, lunch ,and dinner if i went to watch that match!!!
     
    #2
  3. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,806
    The counterpuncher will win - since he posesses the offensive game to take advantage of mistakes. And if the pusher is a dinker - they make a ton of mistakes even though the ball stays in the court.

    Most people that complain about "pushers" don't have the offensive game to punish them for the inevitable short ball they produce. While a high level player like a Murray could potentially just hit tough defensive shot after tough defensive shot.. A regular pusher doesn't have the strokes to turn every single shot into a deep topspin rally ball..

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YxD3xyfuEQ

    As you can see in the only video of a pusher on the net - the opponent that gets beat by him doesn't do enough with those balls. I am not knocking the guy because honestly most rec players couldn't do much better (likely me included) but that's the issue.

    Pete
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
    #3
  4. Bud

    Bud Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Jul 23, 2007
    Messages:
    31,167
    Location:
    San Diego, CA
    That's a great video, BTW.

    I don't know if I'd classify the guy in the forecourt as a pusher, however. When he sees an opening to go on offense... he takes it and finishes the point. He also hit 3 really nice passing shots that were spot on, during that rally (none of which were lobs).

    I do agree however that the other guy had multiple opportunities to finish that point and was unable to.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
    #4
  5. adista4

    adista4 Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    489
    Location:
    Timisoara, Romania
    yea, but isn't a counterpuncher outside his comfort zone playing against a pusher?
     
    #5
  6. DavaiMarat

    DavaiMarat Professional

    Joined:
    May 16, 2006
    Messages:
    1,181
    I think a counter puncher, as the name implies, takes someone else's pace and uses it against them. Chang was a prime example of one. Because of his speed he was able to track down a lot of hard hit balls and redirect the pace against his opponents. Remember the harder you hit a ball, the sooner it will come back if retrieved.
     
    #6
  7. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,976
    my impression is the counterpuncher can hit with pace and be alittle agressive whereas the pusher floats balls deep or dinks
     
    #7
  8. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,976
    the counterpuncher would push the pusher around enough to win. imho
     
    #8
  9. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    No. A counterpuncher is what pushers turn into when they add passing shots and touch shots to their repertoire, ie they are an advanced pusher. They will win every time.
     
    #9
  10. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Lleyton Hewitt is a "counterpuncher" and by no means a pusher. CPs rely on consistency and placement (vs. aggression) to win them matches. But they can certainly "do something" with a short / attackable ball.

    Pushers have limited technique and thus can't hit with pace / spin / directional control / depth. However, they often overcome this disadvantage w/superior strategy. They shrink the court + aim for big targets (crosscourt, well inside the lines) and eliminate the net and hitting wide as a source of errors.

    As a result, a pusher's opponent has three primary ways to win a point -- 1) hope the pusher hits long, 2) hit a winner, 3) hit a forcing shot that results in an error. #2 and #3 are tough for sub-4.0 players, which is why pushers win so many matches at that level.
     
    #10
  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Depends on who is the better tennis player during that match.
    Say 4.5 pusher vs 4.5 counterpuncher. You'll agree there are both in 4.5, right?
    So who wins? You know, that's why they PLAY the game and not theorize all day from home.
    Sometimes, a suck team like the 49'ers can actually dominate a former SuperBowl team like the Cardinals.
     
    #11
  12. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Per my definition you don't see 4.5 pushers -- you can't get to that point w/unsound mechanics + an inability to hit the ball w/pace, spin, placement, and depth consistently.

    Simply put, you cannot play at a high level by pushing.

    49ers might not be a great team by professional standards but they are still professionals. The fundamentals of sound football are there. They block properly. They tackle properly. Their scheme is sound. It's not like they went out there on Monday night and played sandlot football and somehow came away with the win. The doubled Larry Fitzgerald and, more generally, dropped most guys into coverage and Kurt Warner made poor decisions with the football. So the week Mike Singletary and his defensive staff spent "theorizing" ways to beat the Cards payed off on the field.
     
    #12
  13. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    OK, I"m a niners fan since 1957.
    3.5 counter puncher vs 3.5 pusher .... who wins? Still, gotta play the match, and all the strategy and braintrust ideas can't insure the outcome. Just having more weapons doesn't mean guananteed success. And possibly, having LESS weapons might make you better at what you do !! :shock::shock:
    More weapons, more options, can your brain handle it?
    Less weapons, less options, but is it enough to handle your opponent?
    Gotta play the game, which is why they do!
     
    #13
  14. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    If they played 10 matches, each would win 5. Or at least that's what you would assume if they were equally skilled (and all other things were equal -- mental game, fitness, etc.). But that's besides my point, which is that you can't advance much past 4.0 pushing.
     
    #14
  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    My definition of pushing doesn't agree with yours. I say there are 7.0 pushers. I've certainly seen enough in 5.5 to know it's possible.
    Remember, what's important here is the PERCEPTION of pusher to an EQUALLY skilled or ranked player. Many top pros would say Chang was a pusher, Solomon,Dibbs, Barsasetchi, Ferrer, or anyone who chooses to make you run as opposed to END THE POINT.
    YOU say 4.0 is the highest a pusher can be. That's because YOU are only 4.0 or 4.5.
     
    #15
  16. mucat

    mucat Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 9, 2004
    Messages:
    2,072
    Location:
    king size donut bed
    Conterpuncher will win most of the time. I play a conterpuncher style and the type that gives me most trouble are powerhitters who can overwhelm my defense. As long as I can hit the ball back, conterpunching, I have a chance to win the point. However, if someone overpower me on that day and he/she could finish me off, I am done.
     
    #16
  17. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    IMO, Chang was a counterpuncher. So is Ferrer. Their technique was/is flawless. A pusher's technique isn't -- that's one of the reasons so many players get frustrated when they lose -- "my strokes look so much better than his!"

    The video linked in above is a pretty good example of what I'm talking about. That guy doesn't have sound technique, but he does a nice job of keeping the ball in play.
     
    #17
  18. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    You say what detemines a pusher from a counterpuncher is technique.
    I say the determining factor is mental attitude.
    Since most top pros would agree at least BradGilbert was a pusher, and he even agrees, maybe the definition is more in the mind of the player, rather than his strokes.
    Brad could hit winners just like any other 7.0 pro, but he chooses to push you around the court, giving you no pace to hit, mixing his spins and placements, and really retrieving, getting, and fetching to drive you nuts, not to beat you.
     
    #18
  19. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Word up. Agree to disagree.
     
    #19
  20. jpr

    jpr New User

    Joined:
    Apr 11, 2009
    Messages:
    85
    to Will Hamilton

    i agree with your definitions thus far (BTW i'm a FYB fan)

    how would you classify Andy Murray? Is he simply a better counter-puncher than Hewitt, or Chang for that matter?

    where's the line between counter-puncher and Federer, who can beat you counterpunching or aggressing?
     
    #20
  21. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    The pusher would lose to the counter-puncher every time at the same level of play. They play the same game except the counter-puncher will seize any weak potential opportunity to win a point. This difference in tactics would be enough to tip the scale to the counter-punchers favour. If the pusher never provided a weak opportunity then this would just be a battle of pushers...



    None of these players or any pro are pushers... when given an opportunity they will go on offense and put the ball away. Give them a ball short midcourt and they will endeavour to end the point.
     
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2009
    #21
  22. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    Hey jpr -- thanks!

    I would classify Murray as an all-court player who too often resorts to counterpunching. The guy has a big game -- he can hit big / forcing shots -- but a lot of the time he's content to just work the ball around the court. That's fine if he's better than someone but he can get into trouble against a quality, aggressive opponent. He should take the initiative more than he currently does.

    Federer isn't a counterpuncher. He's an aggressive, aggressive player. He goes for it on his first serve. He dictates play with his forehand. It's just that his game is so varied / dynamic that it's sometimes hard to put a finger on his style of play -- it's not as obvious as someone like Sampras.

    For example, Fed can certainly counterpunch -- and play defense -- when necessary. But while he's doing this he's constantly looking to go on offense.

    Going back to Murray, his game is much bigger than Chang's or Hewitt's. Neither of those latter guys can hit as big as Murray.

    Here's a great quote from Fed on his rivalry w/Murray, which pretty much sums up my view on why counterpunching alone isn't enough if Murray wants to win a few majors --

    "When we both play well it’s a close match, but I always feel it’s the attacker who holds the key to success, so it’s up to me whether I win or lose, not up to him. That’s why I don’t mind the match-up, to be honest."
     
    #22
  23. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2008
    Messages:
    3,976
    since im an all courter willing to counterpunch but waiting to attack i like feds comments
     
    #23
  24. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    I agree with Will here..can't be a pusher over 4.0, because it goes against the very definition of what a pusher is supposed to be. It's been gone over a million times before, but a pusher is someone who hits the ball with no pace to the middle-deep and waits for someone else to make a mistake. A guy blocking a hard shot back down the line with inches to spare for a winner against someone charging the net ..consistently ...is not a pusher in my book. A guy who slices every ball short and then passes the guy coming to the net with a flat medium paced shot..not a pusher to me, although all the guys at my club call him that. He has a legitimate offensive strategy.

    The guy in the video..I don't know, I don't think his opponent is over a 4.0 judging from his footwork and missed opportunities and lack of anticipation and preparation...his opponent looks like me on the court. Put a legitimate 4.5 against the guy in the video and that point is over 2 shots earlier.
     
    #24
  25. Kunohara

    Kunohara Professional

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2009
    Messages:
    941
    Location:
    Montreal, Qc

    The guy missed 3 relatively easy volleys. Thats a no-no.
     
    #25
  26. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    I was going to say the same thing... if he had made one good volley the point would have ended differently.
     
    #26
  27. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,541
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    Well here it is folks, right in front of us.

    LeeD (pusher) vs. WillHamilton (counter puncher)

    LeeD played the pusher response over and over (lame argument), but WillH while pushing a little at first to probe then attacked the argument stronger once he saw the opening and in the end hit the winner!

    Counter puncher wins again!
     
    #27
  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Maybe, but LeeD is not dumb enough to go counter to what HaroldSolomon and BradGilbert actually SAID during their careers.
    LeeD could care less about 4.0 perceptions in tennis, because they can only comment based on their ablilities.
    Guys like the two examples above played tennis at 2.0 levels up to 7.0, and are much more qualified to make judgements on what is pusher and what is not pusher.
    And LeeD certainly spent enough time talking to Dibbs and Solomon, Dibley and Stockton, to know THEY talk about opposition in terms of PUSHER vs hitters or inbetweens....
     
    #28
  29. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    Since most people on this forum are recreational or aspiring players..and you probably are too at this point, what a pro views as a "pusher" has little or nothing to do with what a pusher is to 99% of the rest of the tennis playing community. A pro might say that Brad Gilbert's forehand "sucked" or that Elena Demntiava's serve was "weak", but that's only relative to other pros. If you want to talk about how a pro uses the term "pusher", than fine. It's irrelevant to 90% of the conversations that go on here, ie when some high school kid comes on and says " I lost to some PUSHER in my match today", they aren't talking about guys with 100+MPH serves and expert strokes that just don't happen to be as good as Jim Couriers. sheesh, LeeDan needs to get over himself already.
     
    #29
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Yeah, like I said, a 4.0 player can only express what his 4.0 experience tells him for his information.
    Not everyone is 4.0.
     
    #30
  31. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    I don't agree with this logic. That would mean that an Olympic figure skating judge wouldn't be qualified to judge the competition. Simply because you can't do something -- like some crazy figuring skating jump -- doesn't mean you can't accurately / intelligently assess the quality of a performance or, in our case, what is necessary to play tennis at a high level.
     
    #31
  32. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863

    Maybe they used the word "pusher" because they lack the correct terminology to effectively explain their game. Sometimes people use the closest thing they can to explain something even though it is not fully representative of what it is.
     
    #32
  33. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,541
    Location:
    Fort Worth, TX
    LeeD - I have to hand it to you, you really hit a damn strong forehand on that post! I may put you in the counter puncher category!
     
    #33
  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Thank you, but it's prolly my volleys.
    Olympic figure skating judges are EXPERTS at the sport, and have watched it with full interest for over 20 years, or at least over 5.
    Typical 4.0 has been playing for 5 short years, and only in his little pond.
    Big difference between skill judgements of an Olympic judge vs a decent recreational player.
     
    #34
  35. Ripper014

    Ripper014 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 2, 2009
    Messages:
    1,863
    Bad analogy... any time there is judgement involved it is questionable... make it black and white... did the puck cross the goal line. I know someone that judges Olympic Gymnastics and I think she is full of crap, how do you judge artistic merit it is in the eye of the beholder.
     
    #35
  36. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    This is obviously a completely semantical argument going on here. I guess one could describe Brad Gilbert as a "pusher" relative to some of his competition, but that comparison is completely irrelevant to the discussion of 2 club players, where a pusher is a guy with a 4 inch take back using a Gamma Big Bubba, which is AGAIN, where the vast majority of the people on this website are coming from..except for the legendary name dropping LeeD. Calling Brad Gilbert a "pusher" is ridiculous, stupid and silly in the context of this argument. The Gamma Big Bubba guy has nothing in common with Brad Gilbert.
     
    #36
  37. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    So BradGilbert is stupid, ridiculous, and silly....
    HE said he was a pusher, as did Dibbs and Solomon.
     
    #37
  38. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2004
    Messages:
    4,806
    Honestly do we have to let Lee derail EVERY SINGLE THREAD with the world pusher in it into this semantic argument?

    Most sensible rational people agree with Will definition - as I do of course. Why? Because under LeeD definition there is NO DIFFERENCE between a pusher and counterpuncher. In fact since every tennis player (even Federer) plays ALOT of defense tennis then every player is a PUSHER.

    Yes. Brad Gilbert should be tarred and feather for stealing the word designed for people with half strokes who block and dink the ball back and applying it to pros with full strokes who absolutely PUNISH the ball.

    If you give Murray a crap ball he absolutely pounds the F-in life out of it. These guys have NOTHING in common with the pushers we rec players are talking about. Please..just stop letting him do this...

    Now back to the OP yes counterpunchers beat pushers because using normal intelligent definitions of these words counter punchers can do everything pushers can - and alot that they cannot.

    Pete
     
    #38
  39. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY

    Relative to other pros, yes. Put him on the court with anyone referred to in any number of threads here that frustrate the aforementioned thread starter, and he wins with bagels and dozens of winners and doesn't have to push one shot. Therefore, your reference to Gilbert as a pusher has no relevance to most of the topics. Brad Gilberts strokes, serves and volleys are superior to 95% of the members of this board.

    If it makes you feel better, if Brad Gilbert said he's a pusher, he is. I'm pretty sure if you got on the court with him in all of your brilliance, you would be hard pressed to call him a pusher in that context. It's a question of relevance, and it's pretty much tired at this point.
     
    #39
  40. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Well, sorry I fell into it, but I won't again. You're 100% correct in this post.
     
    #40
  41. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    It's good to know the whole world revolves around the 4.0 players.
     
    #41
  42. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    Why don't you go talk about the elites with the friends you keep name dropping instead of wasting your time with all of the losers here?
     
    #42
  43. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,960
    Goddamnit LeeD we've already flippin' discussed this!

    "PUSHER" IS NOT A RELATIVE TERM! IT'S DEFINITIVE! THERE IS NOTHING RELATIVE ABOUT IT!

    Top pros won't say Chang was a pusher because he's a counterpuncher! Do you just naturally hate people who are more consistent than you and just call them pushers?!

    Say it with me now, "'Pusher' is NOT a relative term. It CANNOT be used to compare two players simply because one hits harder." Say it ten times to yourself, and repeat it ten times every morning when you wake up until you f*cking get it!
     
    #43
  44. xFullCourtTenniSx

    xFullCourtTenniSx Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 28, 2009
    Messages:
    1,960
    Newsflash, THE TENNIS POPULATION IS HEAVILY DOMINATED BY 3.0-4.0 PLAYERS! So technically, the tennis world DOES revolve around them.
     
    #44
  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Don't forget, I AM THE ONE who said he's a pusher at times ( ME ME ME), and Federer, and Nadal, and DJ, and Murray.
    AT TIMES is not the same as all the time. Talking against equal competition, of course.
    We all push occasionally to stay in the point. PUSH yes. Even players as skilled as I ( :confused::confused: just kidding, I'm not skilled).
    But what defines a pusher is his CHOICE of chosing pushing over hitting. And that goes all the way from 2.0 thru 7.0.
    You might not believe Gilbert, Solomon, and Dibbs, but you have to acredit them some based on their level of play.
     
    #45
  46. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Sunny Va Beach
    I'd say Murray is primarily a counter puncher though he also adds some more aggressive aspects to his game as well. I admire Murray's style. There's a few videos on youtube of Murray practicing, the one I am referring to was in an indoor court, he can knock the heck out of the ball.
     
    #46
  47. wihamilton

    wihamilton Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2007
    Messages:
    1,535
    Location:
    Washington, DC
    IMO, Murray needs to do so more often. He lets other guys take the initiative too frequently. His losses in majors this year were all to big hitters -- Verdasco, Gonzo, Roddick, and Cilic.
     
    #47
  48. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Problem with big hitting is you always take the chance of hitting out, long, into the net, wide, or right into the opponent's strikezone.
    Advantage of pushing is you get the ball back, and if that's your only game, you're GOOD at it.
    If you've been taught to play defensive tennis for the last 10 years, that's your safety. Taking chances is only for the bold of heart who don't care if they lose badly every so often.
    Hence, few Safins in the world of top pro tennis.
     
    #48
  49. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2006
    Messages:
    610
    Location:
    Sunny Va Beach
    Good point.
     
    #49
  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2008
    Messages:
    36,321
    Location:
    East side of San Francisco Bay
    Maybe hard for skinny little Murray to outhit the strong guys who are bigger with excellent technique.
    If you don't think you can outhit them, you have to play your alternative cards like sharp angles, softer changing spins and placements, more consistency, all of which makes you SEEM more like a pusher.
    Fed being an exception, he's barely taller and a very few pounds heavier.
     
    #50

Share This Page