Gut Reactions Cafe: How to beat any type of Player

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Gut Reaction, Oct 12, 2007.

  1. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Hi everyone,

    I thought I would start this thread about what strategy to use against any type of player. Both in singles and in doubles. So please post your questions and I will tell you how to beat your opponents.

    As my first installment I will deal with the dreaded Pusher as that seems to be the most frustrating style of play:

    First here is video of the pusher so that we all understand the type of player we are talking about:

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


    - Get to the net!!!!

    -when Volleying use angles and touch rather than smash big bam boom put aways. The pUsher will merely run these down and push them back until you make a mistake or lobbing them back!

    -Pushers can't volley. so bring the pusher to the net anyway you can. Hit a dropper. But be careful because they may try to drop back so run in. Don't worry about them hitting it hard....because they can't and if they try to they will hit it out. If they get to the drop and push it back and retreat to the baseline then you will have already been anticipating that! Again run to the net. Now you are where you want to be. But remember to use touch and angles rather than a hard hit volley.

    -The temptation to hit a winner is huge. Follow this rule. Do not try for a winner until you have hit at least 4 balls over the net. this will curb your temptation to hit a winner/ unforced error.

    -Try not to hit for the corner as they love to run those down. Do the opposite of what they like. Hit right in the middle of the court. As brad Gilbert says "Don't let a runner run".

    -These players are always running for the open court....so hit behind them!!! Do the opposite
     
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  2. Mountain Ghost

    Mountain Ghost Semi-Pro

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    Advice Needed (?)

    My question is:

    How do you beat a player who is better than you and who reads the same threads you do about how to beat players who are better than you?

    MG
     
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  3. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    LOL.....You can always hire a hit man to break his legs?;)

    Seriously though....what does "better" mean? Its tactics.

    For example if you are facing a "better" player than you who happens to be a serve and volleyer and you are baseliner then the "better" player has no chance .

    You are employing strategies against a serve and volleyer. Those rules wont apply against a baseliner such as yourself.
     
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  4. Sonic Srve

    Sonic Srve Banned

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    The video was hilarious. I also thought your points were really helpful. So how do you beat a guy who can do just about anything?
     
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  5. smoothtennis

    smoothtennis Hall of Fame

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    The guy in the video hit a great deep angled approach shot, came in, and proceeded to hit three paceless volleys that hit in the service box. That just 'aint gonna do it. He didn't do his job.

    You beat that guy like he was doing, but you have to have the mid-court and net game executed properly.
     
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  6. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    I am sure most of the Pros have the same question: How to beat Roger Federer.

    I am afraid that only Nadal on clay has the answer to that question...which is to play lefty and hit high topspin backhands until Fed makes an unforced error.

    But for mere mortals you are refering to an all courter. heres the answer:



    Tactics:


    - Put him under pressure.attack this opponent at every opportunity.

    Do not hot the same ball over and over again. Don't let him get into a rhythm. Change the spin and pace of theball. Change your style of play until you discover their weakness.

    Try and make sure that you use your own strenghts against this player. if you are a serve and volleyer then get to the net asap. If you like topspin forehands then run around your back hand.

    These players have good net skills so keep the ball deep.

    Even though this player seems to have no weakness' he does! Nadal found out that feds weakness is high backhands. So watch them and find out where they are weak.
     
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  7. Kevo

    Kevo Hall of Fame

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    Umm, which one was the pusher? ;-)
     
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  8. cliff

    cliff Rookie

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    There are some good articles in the www.procomparetennis.net article section that discuss the ways to beat various styles. Dave Sammel and Dr Ray Brown provide some great advice that is well worth looking at.

    Check out the site it is free plus it has loads of free video clips and photo sequences as well.
     
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  9. WBF

    WBF Hall of Fame

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    I do not agree with the op.

    1.) All pushers are different. Some will be good at volleys, others will not.

    2.) If you have poor volleys, getting to the net is a terrible idea.

    3.) If you don't have the capability, don't go for winners. I think there are plenty of people out there who can hit winners left and right even against the scrappiest players. Playing the pushers own game seems like poor advice.

    4.) I wouldn't hit down the middle every time, mix things up, but don't just let them run everything down, throw in some behind shots, throw in changeups, both in terms of depth, spin, and so forth (moving people forward and backward has proven effective against nearly all of my opponents).
     
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  10. Sonic Srve

    Sonic Srve Banned

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    1. actually thats wrong. If someone can volley well then they are not a pusher by definiton. Pusher can only "push" the ball back in play. If they are good volleyer then they are no longer pusher.

    2. According to Brad Gilbert from winning Ugly you are incorrect. Even if you are not a good volleyer getting to the net is very important. Since a Pusher has only 2 choices in that instance:

    1) pass you
    2) lob you

    If they try and pass you they will fail because that forces them to swing hard. if they swing hard they are no longer pushing and will make an unforced error as they simply cannot hit the ball hard.

    The lob...this is a dnagerous one. You must be selective when to come into the net. but in either case you have stopped him from pushing and he is forced to play a different strategy.

    3. You misread . He never said that you should go for winners. However there are many people who have the urge to go for winners. Therefore in order to curtail that urge the OP suggested that you should hit the ball at least four times before going for a winner. But that does not mean you have to go for a winner at all....its actually a way to stop you. I thought that was awesome advice.

    4. Middle is the way to go. these guys love to run for balls in the corners. they can run all day and hitting in the corners is hard and can easily turn into an unforced error. In fact if you hit it in the middle whats a pusher going to do with that??? he has no angels at all. he simmply is forced to push it back right at you.
     
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  11. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I have played people who are good volleyers and good doubles players in general, but from the baseline all they do is push the ball or lob it. I would consider them pushers, especially when playing singles that is 90% of their strategy.

    I strongly disagree that someone with poor volley skills can beat a pusher by playing the net. Back when I had weaker volleys, I tried this strategy and got destroyed, because most of my volleys were ineffective and I made tons of errors.

    I will agree that playing the net is the best way to defeat a pusher, but it can't be done until you develop a solid net game. So until then, people will keep getting demolished by pushers.
     
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  12. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    I would first like to commend you on your great insight and astute questions. Really great points.

    However the question that was posed to me was for singles play. Doubles is an entire different ballgame. If you want answers on how to beat a team that pushes or a team that has one pusher and one agressive baseliner...or any other combination...just let me know.

    Another great point and a very logical one. May I suggest you read brad Gilberts winning ugly. In his book he says that in order to beat a pusher you must come to the net or make them come to the net.

    Even if you have weak volleys the strategy is to get a pusher to swing hard. Since they do not have strokes by swinging hard they will make unforced errors.

    Staying back , according to Gilbert is certain death. Because then you are playing right into the pushers hand. he has been using the pushing strategy loneg than you and he will simply "Out-push" you.

    You therefore should get to the net to stop him from merely pushing. make him take a high rish shot by trying to pass you. pushers only push....they cannot hit bullet passing shots and if they try it will be an error.

    Think about it...the harder you swing the higher the risk that you wil;l make an error. A pusher almost never makes an error because he merely pushes back. Thats a very low risk shot. But by going to the net he must either try and pass you with a hard swing or try and lob.

    The key is to WATCH FOR THE LOB!!! Don't close in to much. Don't worry about him passing you because he can't and if he trys it will be an error.

    Also another key at the net is dont try and put balls away as the pusher will run them down. Rather use touch and angles.

    Good point again. But the key is forcing the pusher into unforced errors. Whether you can volley or not is of no consequence because just your prescence at the net will trick the pusher into making an unforced error. However you should practice smashing lobs.....you will really need that!!!! But just by knowing that a lob is coming and not even worrying about a pass will prepare you. So get ready for the lob forget the passing shots,.

    One thing is for sure...you are not going to beat a pusher at the baseline. You will not beat him at his own game. he will "out push" you because he has been doing it a lot longer.

    Good luck and have fun!:p
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
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  13. Attila the tennis Bum

    Attila the tennis Bum Banned

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    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
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  14. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Good point!!! But you are not looking at the situation with a trained eye.

    Although our player seemed to do everything right....did he really??

    No he did not. he made one crucial mistake. He did not look for the lob.

    Watch the video carefully.... On the fifth ball the pusher hits a lob to the players backhand. The player was not looking for the lob. he just kept closing in!! He should have stopped and stood still and waited for the lob. At that point he should have let it drop and hit a dinker or if he would have anticipated and watched for the lob he would have had time to run around it and hit a forehand .

    Instead he hit this lob very poorly and then to make matter worse he closed in even more to the net when he should habe stayed where he was and wait for the next "push".

    Watch the video again and you will see excatly what I am talking about. Look for the fifth ball in the rally. That sets up the whole path to destruction.
     
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  15. Attila the tennis Bum

    Attila the tennis Bum Banned

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    Wow. I see exactly what you are talking about! That was great! Thanks!
     
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  16. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Which one was the pusher? The guy on the court closest to the camera or the guy further away? If you are calling the guy on the close court a pusher, I don't know if I really agree. He controlled most of the point and the guy on the far side tried to be aggressive beyond his capabilites (at the time), he blew it on the volleys, the older "pusher" worked the young guy and counterpunched for a cross court passing shot winner. Yeah his strokes were not pretty and he had a backspin serve, but he played within his abilities on that point and won.
    I would be glad to play that old guy because he would help make my game better.
    Here are my strategies:
    Instead of the "dreaded pusher", make it the "welcomed pusher", work him and don't let him work you, play the game to have one more stroke or ball that's in than your opponent.
    "Don't think your better": Some people lose because they tell themselves that they are "so much" better than the "pusher" and they feel "above" playing him/her. Then when they make some UE's and the "pusher" that is "below" them gets some "lucky" shots and gets a winner or forces the person to make more UE's, that person tends to fall apart mentally and then loses the match.
    Personally, I think I am better than everybody until they beat me, but I don't think that I am "above" them. Once I changed my attitude about that, my success changed for the better as well.
    "Don't think so much!": If you have so many different strategies in your head, it clutters your mind (at least my pea brain), thus taking you out of the task at hand.......hitting the ball correctly with good placement, pace, and spin. Slow your mind down (not too slow) and concentrate on making good contact with the ball and the shots/winners will follow naturally. Don't force your winners, let them flow, let the "pusher" get frustrated and impatient and make the UE's. ;)
    "Stay Loose Mentally & Physically": Don't be floppy and lazy, but just be loose and have confidence in your training and reflexes. If you make a UE or guess and make a mistake, laugh it off but make a mental note. Just react, let your strategy develop naturally, and carry it out.
    "Consider Every Match a Learning Experience": The title speaks for itself. Experiment a little bit, learn by trial and error. Let your mindset go into learning mode.
    "Drop the EGO and the desire to win, win, win, win": Most people, if not everybody wants to win their match, or win at what they do. That's not a bad thing. It's only bad when you put a neurotic pressure on yourself to "WIN!" so you can stroke your "EGO", then that starts to break you down mentally when you don't get your way. It's good to have a healthy ego, but many times it's detrimental to have an ego of either extreme.

    There are many people I am sure, that thrive on the exact opposite of what I just posted. People have different personality types. When I play tennis and part of the time in "normal walk around life" I am more of a type A personality, depending on the situation. So the above strategies help me slow my mind down and concentrate better, thus perform better. I hope this helps.
     
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  17. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Yes the guy closer to the camera.

    But who controls the point has nothing to do with what a pusher is. People tens to use the term "pusher" as derogatory or as to someone who cannot play.

    Nothing can be further from the truth! Its a legitimate strategy especially on red clay as was the case in the video.

    Rather a pusher is someone who "Pushes" the ball back into play over and over again. It was the lob in the point that won the point. After that lob the volleyer was completely out of position. He did not play beyong his cpapbalities bit rather was not prepared for the lob.

    When playing the net against a pusher you must anticipate a lob or you are dead.


    I agree with all of the above. However those are more mental strategies rather than physical tactical ones.

    I think together we would make a great team!! Very insightful indeed! Thanks.
     
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  18. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't know what kind of pushers you play, but I have yet to see any pusher that will crumble at the sight of a poor volleyer coming up to net. The pushers I've played, while not having the precision to paint the lines, can direct their shots at least enough to make volleying difficult if you're not strong at net. Obviously it didn't work for me, and I own Brad Gilbert's book. I accepted that I just didn't have the skills to beat certain pushers and have since worked hard at improving all aspects of my game. I'm getting better and really there is no magical formula for beating a pusher, you have to have the skills and play the right strategy. You have the right strategy, but its foolish to assume its guaranteed to work regardless of whether you can execute.
     
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  19. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Attila is correct. And calling that high BH a "lob" is a stretch, IMO.

    1 - 22 seconds of video is insufficient to claim that guy is a true "pusher". He may just not be all that good. It's just not fair to classify him by watching a single short point.

    2 - As Attila pointed out, your "pusher" did indeed hit a passing shot. (Pushers don't do that very often.) That guy may not qualify....

    3 - Using Gilbert as an "authority" is troubling. He has both called himself a pusher ... and argued he is not one. One TT-er claims Gilbert has called Murray a pusher. (Murray isn't by any means a pusher.) But that was before he worked for the Brits and coached Murray.

    _________________

    I will say your tactical advice for playing pushers is pretty sound. Good job and well-presented.

    My advice for playing Pushers and Soft-ballers (They are different players.) is pretty much the same for each. Here's the link to my post in the Pusher Sticky. (You will note several similarities to your own suggestions.) Also, see the Playing Styles Sticky. It helps to know what style your opponent is employing ... so you can "switch" into the proper counter-measures.

    - KK
     
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  20. Attila the tennis Bum

    Attila the tennis Bum Banned

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    Actually I now agree with gut.

    He was right on. The pusher did not hit a passing shot. Rather the volleyer was out of position because he did not expect the lob or semi lob or whatever.

    The volleyer was way to close to the net. So the pusher teallybdisnt hit a hard shot it just seemed that way because the volleyer was way too close and out of position. Which was all set up by a poorly handeled lob.

    As far as Gilbert is concerned....I think he knows more about tennis than anyone here and I hold him in high regard. If he is a pusher himself as you contend then I would say he really has more knowledge on the topic than anyone else.
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
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  21. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Hiya Kaptain,

    Thanks for your comments. By the way your post had some very good points.

    You are entitled to disagree with Brad Gilbert. However, he is not the only one to hold these views:

    Jorge Capestany - USPTA Master Professional



    THE RUNNER - PUSHER

    The Runner - Pusher has great speed and endurance. They usually do not have a lot of firepower and beat most of their opponents by hustling down shots and making them miss. This player also relies on us to hurt ourselves and quite often lures us into overplaying shots because we are frustrated at our inability to put them away. They are generally very fit and are accustomed to playing long matches.

    Six tactics to try:

    1) Work the point. Do not try for a winner until you have made at least 4 shots over the net.

    2) Look for opportunities to get to the net and finish the point. This will keep you from getting drawn into a marathon match.

    3) Try to hit behind this player more than usual. These players often commit early to the open court and can be wrong-footed more than other players.

    4) Use drop shots and short balls to bring them in. These players do not like to play at the net. If they retreat when they get pulled in, then consider using a drop shot and following it to the net so you can catch them as they retreat towards the baseline.

    5) Hit to the middle of the court so you do not let them use their speed to their advantage. This will also reduce the angles coming back against you.

    6) Use more angles and touch on your volleys as they are very good at running down shots that are deep into the corners and then lobbing them back.


    Three Things to always avoid:

    1) Don’t get lured into trying to hit winners. This is a common mistake against these players because we get impatient. It’s what they are banking on us to do.

    2) Don’t get discouraged if they run down what would normally be a winner. I’ve seen a lot of players throw up their hands in disgust and say, “I just can’t put this guy away”.

    3) Don’t rush to finish the point by trying shots that you have not mastered. No matter how bad you may want to finish the point, make sure you are making sound decisions about what to implement.
     
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  22. chuckmckool

    chuckmckool New User

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    How do you beat a player who hardly ever gets a hit in, but when they do, it completeley owns. When you hit a soft shot to them, they hit it as hard as possible. When you hit hard they usually get it out 1 half of the time. But you never have a chance to hit it hard, because of there aggresive style.
     
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  23. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Huh?


    1 - I read his book, too. It's mostly a "Brad promotes Brad" book ... with some good tips in it. (I did like his "Who's doing what to whom?" tip.)

    2 - "I" didn't contend he's a pusher. (Did you read my post?) He said he was ... and he claimed he wasn't a pusher. Gilbert "sits the fence" on his own playing style....

    (I would say he was a Pusher / Junk baller / Counter puncher.)


    My point was Gilbert disagrees with Gilbert!!!


    As for the rest of your last post, I cannot tell if you are arguing or agreeing with me. It looks like you think I disagree wtih your tactical advice. (I don't.)

    I only disagree that your cited clip shows a definitive pusher.

    - KK
     
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  24. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    hey kaptain,

    You are certainly entitled to your opinion. I was just pointing out that both Brad Gilbert and Jorge Capestany hold the same opinions as I do.

    Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick, Andy Murray, and tatiana Golovin all thought that brad is a pretty good coach. So He does have some credibility .

    Everyone is entitled to their opinions. There is no one right answer here and thats whats so great about strategy and tactics.

    I respect that you you do not hold a high regard for brad Gilbert. I hope that you can respect that I on the other hand do respect him.

    Have fun!!!:)
     
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
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  25. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Thats easy....don't hit it hard.

    Big Bill Tilden one of the greatest to ever play this game said that 65% of all points are won due to unforced errors!!!!


    So let him go for the winners. he will miss at least 65% of the time!

    This type of player is inconsisetent. Turn into a "pusher" get everything back. If he is truly is that inconsistent its only a matter of time before he makes unforced erorrs.

    Don't feel the need to hit it hard at all. Don't feel macho. There are a lot of ways to win a match. Even if this guy hits a winner once in a while don't let that get you down. And if you can get one of his winners back just once then the chances of him hitting a winner again is very small.
     
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  26. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    :: sigh :: I don't contradict this. I just don't think he's "authoritative" as a commentator on the game. (Just listen to his predicitons during tourneys. He's more wrong than anyone I've ever heard.)

    Brad can't decide if he was a pusher ... or a counter puncher ... or..... If a guy can't decide what kind of game he played himself, how are we to consider him authoritative about other players' games?

    When he's a TV commentator ... he just talks to hear himself talk, if you ask me. But I agree he is a good coach.

    "As a coach."

    Anybody who even briefly makes the Top Ten is deserving of my regard. I have regard for Brad the Player ... and Brad the Coach. That's it.

    [This is a bit frustrating for me. I think I've been pretty clear, but you keep ascribing "blanket statements" to me where you infer that I have condemned anything Gilbert says or does....]

    - KK
     
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  27. Attila the tennis Bum

    Attila the tennis Bum Banned

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    great! I am glad you guys agree on almost everythin

    Now can we move on?
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
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  28. Serve and Volley

    Serve and Volley Banned

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    So I played this guy with an atomic forehand. I tried to hit to his backhand but he would just run around it and hit this winner monster forehand....what do I do?
     
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  29. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    In other words how do you defeat Jim Courier. He practically invented this style. he had a monster forehand. Watch how he runs around his backhand:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zv8skV38LDw

    THE HUGE FOREHAND
    This player has a huge forehand that his game is built around. The good news is that if you can neutralize this weapon, you can usually find a way to win the match. Advanced tactics are needed as playing wide balls to his forehand side will open up his weaker backhand. These players are common in today’s “modern” tennis.

    Seven tactics to try:
    1) Slice low to the corners and keep the ball out of his strike zone. Most Huge Forehanders love the ball waist high.
    2) Open up his weaker backhand by hitting the ball wide to his forehand.
    3) Keep the ball to the far corner when giving him backhands, these players make a living out of hitting winners from the middle or slightly backhand side of the court. They move very well towards their backhand side because they are always running around their backhands.
    4) Mix up the pace of your shots. The worst thing to do is supply this player with a steady stream of similarly paced balls. They can groove too easily.
    5) Serve and volley more often. This will minimize their time to run around their backhand.
    6) Play drop shots to their backhand side. Having to run up and over will make it difficult for them to hit a forehand and the lowness of the ball will force them to play a more conservative shot.
    7) Loop groundstrokes to their backhand side and “sneak” in behind them. If they choose to run around their backhand, you will have a wide open court in which to volley.

    Three things to always avoid:
    1) Don’t get discouraged if they hit a lot of winners, that comes with the territory and they will also hit a lot of errors.
    2) Don’t get lured into a forehand slugfest. Even if you think you are hitting great forehands, they will hit more of them in the long run. Remember, this is their favorite plan.
    3) Don’t underestimate how frustrated you can make them by getting a lot of their “winners” back
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2007
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  30. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    In the comments on playing a pusher this point was touched on, but I don't believe emphasized enough:
    You must have a solid overhead!
    If your overhead punishes them for hitting lobs, you take their weapon away from them. Their instinct when you come to the net is to lob and they will lob you all day long unless you make them pay for it. To beat a pusher, work on your overhead and then work on it more.
     
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  31. Messarger

    Messarger Hall of Fame

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    What if they lob to the baseline? You cant overhead as the ball is too high up in the air.
     
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  32. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Great question. Which also brings me to my next point. Most players do not neatly fit into one category. Someone may be a pusher and have a hybrid with another category. Most pushers are also VERY good lobbers.
    So against a Pusher you need to be careful of WHEN and HOW to approach the net.


    1) approach with more SLICE shots!!! Its very difficult to to lob a slice.

    2) Use a drop shot and follow it to the net. They will be caught trying to retreat to the baseline where they love to be. This also gets them off of the baseline where they can hit their favorite shots.

    3)Be prepared to hit a lot of overheads and do not “close” too aggressively. Repeat DO NOT CLOSE TOO AGGRESIVELY. WATCH FOR THE LOB. Do not worry about the passing shot. When volley stand farther back. closer to the T. Stand further back sort of like the net player on the receiving end of a doubles team. Be prepared for the lob. Don't even think about the passing shot. If you are standing far back enough if they try and pass you it will be a pretty slow pathetic shot.

    4. SLICE the returns of serve. Pushers/lobbers hate slices. They cant do anything with them. Running them down is not the problem...rather they need to execute topspin to get the ball over the net effectively and they just don't have that shot.

    Conclusion:

    Slices, Drop shots, Prepare and anticiapte of lobs by not closing in too much on the volley
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
    #32
  33. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Excellent response, Gut Reaction. IMO, the Slice has been the most neglected weapon in tennis ... for about the last 15 years or so. It's almost a "lost art."

    Slicing has been the primary way I (at 51) have been able to "keep up" with the big hitting HS and College kids on our ladder. It takes them out of their comfort zone. (I'm not a junk baller; I use slices about 20% of the time and these kids are not accustomed to it.)

    P.S. Don't emulate Roddick's slice. Learn how to hit driving slices, defensive slices and side slices. (At the moment I cannot think of a current player who uses the Slice as a weapon. Help me out, fellow TT-ers.)

    - KK
     
    #33
  34. ananda

    ananda Professional

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    i have been meaning to ask this question--its based on my old table tennis experience.
    In TT when you topspin the ball, the opponent has to compensate by hitting lower than normal, else the ball goes out.
    Similarly, when you backspin the ball, he has to hit higher than normal so as to clear the net.
    Does this principle hold true in tennis, too ?
     
    #34
  35. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

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    How I play a pusher

    When I play pushers (I'm a 4.0/4.5 all court player) The main things I focus on are variety and getting to the net.

    My volleys are pretty effective so if I'm serving well enough I have no prob S&Ving alot.

    If I'm in a baseline rally I'll play wardlaw directionals (a little tighter than usual). But, I still go for my shots. I'll hit just as hard as I always do, and If I get a short ball, I'll take advantage of it IMMEADIATLY.

    Against a pusher you CANNOT be afraid of making errors! When the opportunity presents itself, I play the ball the same way I would against anyone else.

    as far as variety goes, MIX IT UP! I'll hit a lot of off off-pace and loopy balls. This forces the pusher to create his own pace which is something this kind of player does not like to do.

    Also, coming in behind slices works. by chiping and charging down the line, I'm forcing the pusher to hit the ball up, giving me a shot I'll make 99/100times. If he some how hits an amazing passing shot or a lob while I'm at the net, then he deserves the point. I don't care; I know he can't do it over and over again, and if he can, then he's obviously a better player than I am.

    As far as drop shots go, If you have a good drop shot, I'd use it. I can drop a volley, or hit a short ball when my opponent is 5ft or so behind the baseline, but I'm not confident in hitting a straight drop from the baseline. I'll only go for against poor volleyers if I'm up a break or two.

    I'll throw in ALOT of kick serves and slice serves, which pull him off the court and give him little pace to work with. This usually gives me a short ball or an easy ball to put in the open court. even if he does get that, I'll get another easy ball to put away and the point will be over.

    when I get overheads, I always fence the ball. Some pros say hit it deep in the court. I find that that's not a shot I'm always confident in. I'll hit the ball around the service line so it bounces up over the fence or hits the back of the bubble or whatever. I know I can hit over heads back longer than he can return them. The way I see it, everytime I hit an overhead, my chances of winning the point go up by at least 10% (that's just a random number, but you get the idea)

    And again, If he some how hits an amazing passing shot or a lob, I don't care; I doubt he can't do it again and again.

    I guess what I'm saying is that when playing a pusher, your mindset is the most important thing. The pusher WANTS you to be afraid of missing. He WANTS you to go for shots you can't make. you just have to play your game and take advantage of your strengths. Once again, make him pass you a million times. if he can hit that good of shot, he deserves the point. Playing a pusher shouldn't be any harder than playing anyone else, and if you think about it that way you'll have no problem.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
    #35
  36. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    I disagree. If you are a pusher worth your salt, you can Lob from a slice shot as well and it isnt technically any more difficult. One could argue that some slice bite so well and keep so low, but same thing happens with normal shots as well. Lobs dont have to astoundingly accurate. anywhere in the intended ball park would provide a decent result.

    I "was" a pusher and i dont hate slices and i have played pushers and they didnt find slices to be difficult. The only thing that used to give me fits was my opponent hitting winners on my pushes. Yes. Drop shots are a problem because most people (not just pushers) aren't good at running north-south as much as east-west. Overheads are good counter measure provided one doesnt try to overcook them.

    The definition of Pusher seems to be debatable and subject to opinion. But i am yet to see a pusher who doesnt have any weapons. majority of them had an occasional shot or two.
     
    #36
  37. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    You make some really good points. However there are some nuances here.

    Not All Slices are created equal

    There are basically three types of slices:

    1- the attacking drive slice. which is a very low hard fast shot that you use to approach on.

    2- The defensive slice when you are on the run

    3- The junk slice which can be used on droppers or to change pace.


    Lets talk first about the attacking drive slice used for approach shots.

    I think we can all agree that the slice is the lowest bouncing ball of any stroke. The attacking slice is fast and bites low. Is it possible to lob that shot??? Yes of course it is...but its not easy. The ball is coming very fast and skids especially on hard court. To lob that shot one cannot merely angle the racquet face up otherwise it will be an easy put away. Rather you must use heavy topspin which a pusher does not have.

    There is really not much one can do against the hard driving slice without heavy topspin. The best defense against the hard driving slice is to hit a bullet topspin shot. But to lob an attacking slice in a corner on the run is very difficult. It cannot be merely "Pushed" back or "Pushed" high for a lob.

    A topspin shot will not work against a pusher as the ball is waist high and a pusher can merely angle the racquet face up and get the ball back with a very high trajectory.

    If you look at this video...count till the fifth ball in the rally. You will see that the volleyer hit all topspin shots and approached on a topspin. This allowed the pusher to push back the topspin by merely angling his racquet up. This was where he actually won the point because the volleyer was then out of position for everything else. he approached way too close and was out of position. He did everything wrong. had the volleyer used slice and then approach the pusher would not have had a waist high ball to merely angle the racquet face up and "push" back for a medium lob. In fact every single shot the volleyer hit ws topspin and thats why he lost. Check it out:

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

    the defensive slice on the run

    This not an issue here. You will never need this shot against a pusher as you will be rarely on the run.

    The junk slice for droppers and change of pace.

    The dropping slice is a great approach shot. The pusher has only two alternatives when faced with this shot:

    a) hit a drop back or
    b) Get to the drop and run back to the baseline.

    If he hits a drop back this will not work as I have already advised to approach the net after this shot.

    Retreating to the baseline will not work either as you have already approached the net and are anticipating his lob. He has no other shot. Remember to NOT approach to close!!!!. This is crucial against all pushers. Expect the lob...wait for it...you know its coming.

    The offpace slice is used in rallies. You cannot stay back with a pusher and rally because you will lose. Changing the pace of the ball will give him a hard time to merely push back. With a junk ball the pusher actually has to hit a stroke and cannot merely "Push" back. By forcing the ousher to increase his head speed and actually hit a stroke you have thereby forced him to hit the one shot he has been avoiding. You have stopped him from "pushing". He must not swing harder which will either result in an unforced error or a weak groundstroke because pushers don't have groundstrokes...that whay they are called "pushers". The startegy is to stop the "pusher" from "pushing"
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
    #37
  38. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    All great points but i think we are stretching the point. I am not sure why you would think one cant lob against hard slice. There are variety of lobs and i know some pushers who specialize in them.

    I also disagree that Topspin will only be waist high. Thats too much generalization.

    If your point were to state that change of pace is a good strategy against pushers. i totally agree. That is a generally a good strategy against any opponent.

    Pushers , according to definiton of this forum doesnt have ground strokes. I am yet to see one pusher that doesnt have any ground stroke whatsoever.
    The more "general" pusher we see are the players who push in betwen points and occassionally hit a decent ground stroke.
     
    #38
  39. tbini87

    tbini87 Hall of Fame

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    depends on how high and deep it is. if it is too high, you can let it bounce (up over your head) and hit a shot that is pretty much like a serve. but eventually they will mishit a lob leaving it just short and low enough to put away. the point is to finish those ones, and not give them any chance to return it.
     
    #39
  40. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    thanks!!!

    I also agree that its neglected.

    Its no accident that Sampras and Federer were number ones for so long. In an age of one dimensional baseline bashing it is only sampras & federer who have mastered both the topspin AND the slice. They have a "full game".

    Feds slice is just scary. I saw the blake vs fed match last year at yge open.... Omg!!! Fed just took the pace off the ball and it seemed to just stop.

    As far as using it as weapon mcenroe criticized fed for not slicing more against nadal. Topspin had no affect against nadal.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
    #40
  41. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Yes not ALL topspin is waste high...but all topspin bounces upward, while slices stay low. Logically a bill is that stays low is harder to hit up for a lob because you have a longer distance to go. With topspin however the ball is already traveling upward. All one has ti do to retrn a topspin is touch the ball and have the racquet face up. But against slice you must "Pick the ball up" so to speak. It is virtually impossible to merely push it.

    Secondly watch the video of the Pusher I cited earlier. he did not have ground strokes. Those were not passing shots.....anyone can get passed when standing that close to the net. The ball seemd to go by him fast becayse if where he was standing but in actuality the old man did not hit it very hard at all. Heres the video again....I don't see any real ground strokes at all. Rather he is pushing back topspin.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YxD3xyfuEQ
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
    #41
  42. rosenstar

    rosenstar Professional

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    Fed does. Henman did.
     
    #42
  43. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    Roddick thinks he does.;)
     
    #43
  44. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    [Answering "Who currently uses slice as a weapon?"]

    Oh yeah. That guy....! (I keep forgetting about him.)


    "Hope springs eternal"

    - KK
     
    #44
  45. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    I agree 100%! When used properly, slices work well in the pros and amateurs.
    My backhand slice is one of my best weapons. I also use "side spin slice" as a weapon as well. I am a lefty , so when I play a righty , I'll use the side spin to;
    a: Jam the rightie's forehand/leftie's backhand when I hit a hard angular slice and he has to run to it. (duece court)
    b: Use it to get away from the rightie's backhand as an approach shot on the ad court side.
    As KK stated these are "driving slices" not "junk balls". I'll use a forehand slice and side spin if someone tries to moonball me and again it's a driving type of slice that penetrates the court but stays low and skids. This is also a nice approach shot or a set up for an approach shot/winner. I even think flat hitting is under rated and another "lost art". Top spin is great, but people need to diversify their strokes more. It seems and has been my experience, that more of your modern players, albiet at a certain level, have a problem lifting up the low balls with out either hitting it into the net or httingit to the fence.
     
    #45
  46. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Yes, it's all about spins. This video here Table Tennis Video , really explains the theories behind spin and has helped my tennis game considerably. I think you can preview the video and/or sign up for a free trial and watch the whole video. There are also excellent tennis videos on that site as well.
     
    #46
  47. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Great points, right on the money.
     
    #47
  48. Tennis_Monk

    Tennis_Monk Hall of Fame

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    I am not sure what to say other than saying that Generalization isnt a good thing in some cases. If anything i (as an ex-pusher) find that Lobbing a Hard hit topspin much tougher than Hard hit slice.

    We all know pushers can get upto 4.0. A 4.0 pusher knows how to "Push" against Slice and Topspin at that levels.

    I will make it really simple. Pushers beat others because they are more 'consistent' than opponent. In order to beat a pusher, the opponent needs to be more "consistent" with their strokes.
     
    #48
  49. Gut Reaction

    Gut Reaction Banned

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    I respect what you say and it seems quite logical.....but I must respectfully disagree.

    In Brad Gilberts winning Ugly he proposes the exact opposite to what you are saying.

    You cannot beat a pusher by being more consistent, That is exactly what they are trying to get you to do.

    According to Gilbert if you try that you are trying to beat the pusher at his own game....and you cannot. The pusher has been doing it a lot longer than you and is way more patient. If you stand toe to toe with a pusher from the baseline it will not only be a long frustrating day but you will also lose. he knows how to push better than you do.

    Topspin logically is easier to lob as well. I think that everyone agrees that when topspin bounces its is bouncing up high while a driving line drive attacking slice stays low.

    Since topspin alreay is traveling upward all one need to do is "touch" or "push" the ball with the racquet facing upward and the ball will land safely over the net.

    On the other hand a hard low slice is traveling low and stays even lower. The ball must be picked up to make it over the net. You cannot merely "touch" it or "push" it back otherwise it will just go into the net. The slice pust be literally spun upward to counter the slice downward. In order to do that you cannot push it....it literally must be lifted over the net as opposed to the topspin which can simply be touched.

    Think about it this way.....ever return a kick serve? This is nothing more than topspin. All one need to do is touch it and the ball goes flying. Its just Phsyics:

    a ball already traveling upward is easier to hit upward but a ball traveling upward must be lifted.
     
    Last edited: Oct 14, 2007
    #49
  50. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    I agree that slice is an important weapon, but the slice being inherently more difficult to lob is overdone (maybe a bit, but a good lobber can hit either). The more important thing (that the slice often accomplishes) is to get the pusher out of his comfort zone. If you are hitting the ball to him waist high, he is comfortable with that shot. One thing my father emphasized to his high school teams was the "plop shot." It is a short, semi-drop shot, on a short angle. It gets the pusher out of his comfort zone, forcing him to run forward and sideways. You are not necessarily going for a winner like on a true drop shot, but getting the opponent in an uncomfortable position while you get in a good position. A low hard deep slice or a sidespin approach shot can also accomplish this.
     
    #50

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