How to play like a pusher?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by zaph, Jan 4, 2014.

  1. zaph

    zaph Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Serious question, I have tired it, on the ground it works and never been able to pull it off. Just play moonballs, slices, and weak serves, waiting for the error. When I have tired this, I get pulled all over the court, until my opponent hits the ball passed me.

    Yet a pusher can play the same guy and somehow draw the error. What is the secret to how they do this? After all, understanding how they manage it would also make beating them easier.

    Plus I think pushers are underrated. Most players who complain about them couldn't winning pushing themselves, and if pushing is so easier, why don't the people loosing to pushers do it themselves?
     
    #1
  2. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Move better and develop more stamina.
     
    #2
  3. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 22, 2007
    Messages:
    5,894
    A lot of people don't have the mentality or desire to push. Many people would rather lose than push, especially if they play tennis for fun.
     
    #3
  4. zaph

    zaph Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Stamina has never been a problem, I can run all day. I tend to get to balls too early, so need better footwork.

    The problem I had with the style is I got constantly out-manoeuvred, pulled in closer to the net, and had the ball fired passed me.

    Yet the same player, playing a true pusher was never able to get into a position to hit that winning ball. Somehow the junk the pusher was feeding them kept them off balance, and made hitting the powershot hard.
     
    #4
  5. fighting123

    fighting123 Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 2, 2012
    Messages:
    282
    Play with more feels than power.
     
    #5
  6. zaph

    zaph Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    So the key is placing the ball to keep the other guy running?
     
    #6
  7. JohnMartin

    JohnMartin Banned

    Joined:
    Dec 13, 2013
    Messages:
    149
    don't do it.... even if you win you are missing out.

    see my other thread about compression.

    you will never experience 'tennis orgasm' if you push.
     
    #7
  8. zaph

    zaph Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    A complete player should be able to play every style, including defence. A really good player can switch seemlessly from one style to the other.
     
    #8
  9. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    What kind of ball is your pusher friend hitting? Slices, junk, heavy topspin? In order to succeed with his style, you should probably try to hit with the same type of spin and placement if that is your intention.
     
    #9
  10. zaph

    zaph Rookie

    Joined:
    Sep 29, 2013
    Messages:
    202
    Well I don't want to play like that, I can hit a forehand with decent pace, and it also has a lot of topspin, so it is quite safe.

    It is more I am interested in how they do it. It looks easy, but when I have tired it, it has only ever worked against really poor players.

    Yet the good pushers at the club can make it work against much better players. The best ones use alot of slice, they draw people forward into midcourt, where it is very difficult to hit a clean winner off a low bouncing, slow ball.

    My slice is improving, off both wings, I can even hit the odd drop shot, but I haven't that level of control.
     
    #10
  11. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,363
    #11
  12. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

    Joined:
    Feb 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,441
    the ball has to be either very deep or low.

    a high (above net cord) and short ball will get crushed so you either have to hit it deep and high and short and low (below opponents knee height)
     
    #12
  13. Topspin Shot

    Topspin Shot Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2009
    Messages:
    5,147
    1. Don't miss.
    2. Run everything down, and be willing to stay out there all day.
    3. Figure out what shots your opponent dislikes (eg low slices, topspin loops, backhands, etc) and give him those.
    4. Make sure you can hit approaches, volleys, overheads, lobs, and passing shots if need be.
    5. Don't miss.
     
    Last edited: Jan 4, 2014
    #13
  14. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Messages:
    8,977
    Good list.

    Also, the attitude that you will stay out there all day long and are happy to hit shot after shot after shot and smile while you're doing it.

    The last time I hit with a pusher, I just basically hit the ball back similarly to how he hit shots and ran everything down and hit back high topspin shots. I had to do some running because he hit corner to corner but I didn't have any problems doing that. I'm also quite comfortable with returning high balls to my backhand all day long.
     
    #14
  15. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2010
    Messages:
    4,877
    Location:
    Austin, TX
    Stay on the baseline as much as possible.
    Every ball hit with medium-slow pace, very high net clearance, and very safe.
    Run east-to-west and back again constantly.
    Wait for the unforced error.
    Never miss.
     
    #15
  16. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,363
    the problem is people who are not pushers will not be successful in doing this. The OP tried and it didn't work out well for him.
     
    #16
  17. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Sep 11, 2008
    Messages:
    3,173
    On top of the moonball technique you probably also need the mentality of "never winning a point", but just send the ball back deep. Some beginner pushers don't even have good directional control. They never think about the corners/lines. They just play one ball lands in the deuce court, and one lands in the ad court. If you try to make your opponent runs too much or hit a ball that is out of reach for him, you are not playing like a pusher.

    Usually it is hard for guys to do. We like to pull the trigger.
     
    #17
  18. Engelworks

    Engelworks Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2013
    Messages:
    275
    Pushing in my opinion is more about percentage than pace. Successful pushers will just hit shots they know they can make every time. At lower levels, they are associated with moonballs and crappy slices because they can practically always get them in. Rather than go for a kill shot that will go in 80% of the time, they will just chop it back and not take any risk. Pushers exist at higher levels too, but they can hit with more pace and closer to the lines and still get it in every time.

    My point is to not think of pushing as a certain set of shots you need to acquire. Just go out and play with the mindset that you will only hit shots you are absolutely certain will go in.
     
    #18
  19. Nostradamus

    Nostradamus G.O.A.T.

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2011
    Messages:
    13,266
    Location:
    In the future
    Key is to take those floating high balls out of the air and rip it. either swing volley or just plain punch volley will do.

    I was playing a Pusher today and he was a expert of all pushers... GOAT of all pushers if you will. my Swing volley was off today. I should have practiced it more during last practice or drill session.
    but you know very few drill that are run by the pros practice that shot.
     
    #19
  20. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,645
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    As a semi-reformed pusher I would agree with that analogy. Much more fun blasting the ball.

    An empty satisfaction after playing and winning, calling you back for something better, is what happens to a pure pusher.
     
    #20
  21. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 18, 2004
    Messages:
    7,189
    Remember to hit in a way that gives yourself time to recover to a good position.
     
    #21
  22. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,645
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    You need a good lob to be a pusher... and I should know. When I'm on I can consistently put it within 6 inches to a foot of the baseline. Tough to beat if opponent doesn't have a good overhead. Plus, if you don't have good wheels, quickness and speed... You can't push.
     
    #22
  23. srimes

    srimes New User

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2013
    Messages:
    81
    Pushing is about aggressive defense. Aggressive tennis used defense to get out of trouble and transition to offense. Pushing uses defensive shots for the sole purpose of preventing the opponent from executing good offense. This is kept up until the opponent tries too hard to transition to offense and makes an error.

    The other issue with pushers is they tend to be a one trick pony. Many lower-level players can't do much with a high, deep ball. This often will "push" the guy deep behind the baseline. The pusher latches on to this and rides it for all it's worth.

    Having good defense is a good skill. Preventing your opponent from taking the offensive shots he likes to hit is smart tennis. Combine that with opportune offense and you have a solid game.

    The great sin of a pusher is never transitioning to offense.

    In short, to be a pusher:
    1) find a shot (or few shots) that keeps your opponent on defense, that you can hit consistently with low effort.
    2) keep hitting that shot(s) until your opponent overreaches and makes an unforced error.
     
    #23
  24. r2473

    r2473 Legend

    Joined:
    Aug 14, 2006
    Messages:
    7,126
    I'd just call all those shots out. Then whacha gonna do mr. fancy pants pusher?
     
    #24
  25. Maximagq

    Maximagq Banned

    Joined:
    Sep 17, 2013
    Messages:
    6,554
    Hook back then call a line judge.
     
    #25
  26. Mr.Lob

    Mr.Lob Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 12, 2013
    Messages:
    2,645
    Location:
    Parts Unknown
    I said I was a semi-reformed pusher! What is ya, illiterate? :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
    #26
  27. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,328
    You need to develop a good bh slice. You should be able to vary spin, direction.
    Pushers hate playing these.

    I killed one today by slicing him to death.
     
    #27
  28. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Ukraine
    True, it's a mental thing. You can't outpush a player in his sleepy comfort zone.
     
    #28
  29. Pascal Maria

    Pascal Maria Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2014
    Messages:
    61
    Location:
    wherever ATP needs me
    serve and volley
     
    #29
  30. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Right, vs lobs and moonballs :confused:

    If you can not overpower a pusher, you can not win. Unless you are a pusher too and then it's an endurance race
     
    Last edited: Jan 5, 2014
    #30
  31. OTMPut

    OTMPut Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    2,328
    S&V is not a bad strategy against pushers.
    It is not easy to lob accurately all the time, under pressure.
     
    #31
  32. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Yes, but it's not difficult to moonball all the time either.
    The only way to deal with a good pusher is to overpower him, at the net or from the baseline. There is no "clever strategy" against clever and fit pusher, brute force approach is required to win.
    Junkballer is another story though :)
     
    #32
  33. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Back to original topic: how to play like a pusher?

    You've got to have certain mindset:

    play with the ball rather than against opponent
    connect with the ball, enjoy the contact for a bit longer
    absorb pace, absorb opponent's energy
    stay calm, no reason to rush things
    stay relaxed, you don't have to force things
    stay soft on your feet, soft with the ball
    take your time. wait.
    opponent is irrelevant, victory is about higher percentage, no drama
    retreive, persevere, let opponent fail and crumble
    no shame in losing to a greater player
     
    #33
  34. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

    Joined:
    May 5, 2004
    Messages:
    166
    Played many a pusher, and this is probably what your not doing that seems mystical to you. The main target area they have is the very center of the T. If they aim there they can never lose a match!(its very far in any direction that they will even get CLOSE to a line from there!!)

    I have seen topspin pushers, low backspin pushers.. but, the one thing they all do, is hit this middle T area. Why?.. well, first, they have cut like 8 to 10 feet from you. So, those powerful baseline to baseline groundstrokes you have been working so hard on with your hitting partner, now U simply can't hit them because of the lack of physical distance from the T to the baseline. The better pushers hit low, slow, backspin JUNK to that spot, so now U have to hit up to them, or, if u try to blast to a corner, if not used to playing pushers and adjusting, your ball, will go a foot out, and a foot to the right(because with no weight to the ball, your follow through tends to do this).

    They are a maddening lot, and enjoy taking a previously thought "superior player" right down to this ugly, looking nothing like pro tennis, match. That is how they win. They take a tough guy with tons of skill and talent, and soon enough, he is blocking and bunting his stroke just hoping to keep the ball in and hoping this madness is OVER while Fbombing like a madman!(and looking like a LESS SKILLED PUSHER HIMSELF, which is also humiliating!) haha (Ive been there myself, many a times, so i talk from EXPERIENCE!)

    I will finish with, I would rather play pro tennis, if I could. Why?.. Not many pushers there, everybody goes for the same type of aggressive play, and so you can see consistently the same type of ball, on most of the days(until, say, Rafa, who wins because its tough to prepare for that much more topspin than a regular shot, and so most pros shots are just off enough to go out)

    Wait, one more, now everyone will tell me I have to develop an awesome approach shot and volley/overhead to beat them.. developed that, got it. I just wanted to clarify as I have analyzed these fools(who aren't that foolish, as they don't have to be as athletic or strong to pull off this "loophole" in an otherwise fantastically FUN game to play!)

    So, yeah, next time try this simple, painful strategy they all employ and you too will be an annoying little guy I would rather beat up than ruin the game of tennis by having to play! Good for you! haha
     
    #34
  35. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2006
    Messages:
    1,997
    Location:
    Long Island, NY
    This and patience are the keys.
     
    #35
  36. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Mar 2, 2012
    Messages:
    3,038
    people fail at pushing because they don't realize that it's not simply about getting the ball back. It's also about placement. Pushers try to get the ball as deep as possible, in other words, they "push" their opponent as far back as possible, until he or she is so far behind the baseline that she either cannot hit the ball 50 or 60 feet required to get back over the net, or she hits the ball so short that the pusher can just hit an overhead smash or volley for the winner.

    If you want to succeed as a pusher, you have to consistently get the ball back to the baseline every time. That takes skill.

    Try this: next time you're drilling, have someone feed balls to you. Hit moonballs every time and try to get within 2 feet of the opposite baseline. Pretty tough IMO.

    I think pushing is harder than "normal" ball bashing tennis. takes more skill to paint the baseline than it does to simply smack the cover off the ball.
     
    #36
  37. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    May 17, 2011
    Messages:
    1,693
    Even though we are less than 1-week into the new year, I think this may hold up as worst / most disturbing post of 2014.
     
    #37
  38. nootles

    nootles New User

    Joined:
    Oct 30, 2013
    Messages:
    45
    I think being a pusher is all about making your opponent beat you. A pusher makes sure that if he was to lose, he would be beaten by someone with more skill. Whenever you hit a shot, try choosing one that is high percentage and also one that your opponent wouldn't want to hit. Try to make sure that for every point you lose, you lost it because your opponent had to do something to earn it. Against most players, the most effective way to achieve this is by hitting deep moonballs and nasty slices.

    I think pushers get a lot of hate because they don't play the "right" way. In a competition, you should do whatever it takes, within legal means of course, to win. When a player loses to a pusher, they don't feel beaten by the opponent, so they attribute the loss to all the "wrong" things the pusher did during the match. It's quiet unsportsmanlike, to be honest.
     
    #38
  39. cork_screw

    cork_screw Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Jul 2, 2008
    Messages:
    2,568
    Yup. In tennis, there's a little ego and a little pride.

    Tennis is a challenging sport and it takes years and years to play and develop. So the time it took you to get to a certain level, breaking video and reworking your technique and strokes; most people do feel a little robbed when you see some guy who looks fresh off the couch beating you with unconventional strokes. For a lot, it's insulting that this person is achieving the result you're after who never developed the strokes or the discipline to develop proper technique or an aggressive game to play like a "conventional" tennis player.

    One guy at my tennis club took down a ton of good players. He was half pusher, but he also moved you around with his slice and he pulled you off the court with his unconventional loopy style. I played doubles with someone recently and I thought he was really good. I was shocked to hear that he lost to him some years ago.

    These players shouldn't be underestimated. They are good. And you can take a lot from how they play people.
     
    #39
  40. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Ukraine
    And when they are really good (usually around 45) they do it with a fatherly smile :)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    #40
  41. movdqa

    movdqa Legend

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2006
    Messages:
    8,977
    An exercise for pushing: try driving under the speed limit for a few weeks.
     
    #41
  42. Cobra Tennis

    Cobra Tennis Professional

    Joined:
    Mar 8, 2004
    Messages:
    881
    I like to push all the time just for the workout. For fun I will serve and volley and bash, but when the heat of battle starts, I'll push.

    Quick thoughts:
    1. the only way you beat me is to overpower me and blow me off the court.
    2. I enjoy eating up your weaker side (usually your bh) by hitting high top spin balls or short slices.
    3. move you off the baseline. I love hitting short slices around the T area and making you "hit up" and out of rythym.
    4. I don't miss that often.
    5. I will get just about every ball I can back, so you gotta hit winners
    6. I love to see you get mad and frustrated
     
    #42
  43. Nellie

    Nellie Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2004
    Messages:
    3,773
    I don't think doing it right. The idea of "pushing" isn't to hit junk and hope not to miss. Play your regular strokes, but take 80% effort swings that are aimed well over the net and inside the court. Cut down your errors, and see what happens in your matches. Once you are comfortable with this type of neutralizing stroke and rarely miss, then can hit out (i.e., try to crush) short, high balls by the opponent.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    #43
  44. maxpotapov

    maxpotapov Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2009
    Messages:
    2,523
    Location:
    Ukraine
    Perfect recipe, just perfect!
    Players who can not push like that are simply not skilled enough and try to compensate with extra aggression/frustration
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    #44
  45. nytennis-74

    nytennis-74 Rookie

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2013
    Messages:
    327
    I like the speed limit training. If I may add, I would say to
    a) grow a gut and wear a tight shirt to emphasize said gut
    b) develop an awkward looking stroke
    The combination of the two will really anger your opponent and increase the probability that he will miss when he tries to go for a winner.
     
    #45
  46. user92626

    user92626 Legend

    Joined:
    Jan 27, 2008
    Messages:
    6,290

    Is it really necessary to overpower you or have to hit winners?

    your shots sound nice and easy, perfect recipe for stringing you from side to side, making you run ragged. No?
     
    #46
  47. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,363
    usually when a very good/excellent player plays a not so good player, the very good/excellent player would push. I never saw Federer/Nadal/Djokovic played their normal games when they played against non-pros. They would all push and their opponents would all fail.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QmzqPx1rHq0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zUnSoCpbjr0
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8MGyzCgl4Qk
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    #47
  48. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    1,078
    Umm, not sure if serious.

    They are playing some kids and Ben Stiller!!!!
     
    #48
  49. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,363
    sure, but if you are a 4.5 and you are playing a 3.5, would you use your 4.5 game? It's overkill imo because the 3.5 can't hurt a 4.5
    You are the cat and the other guy is a mouse.
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2014
    #49
  50. HughJars

    HughJars Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2013
    Messages:
    1,078
    You are kidding right?

    If it was in the context of competitive play any normal person would play their own game regardless of who they are playing - that being the type of game that compliments their strengths. Why would you want to change things around playing a style of game unnatural to you, and risk them gaining confidence winning some points/games and prolonging the game any longer than is required, when you can play a quick match, hit the showers and rest up???

    The examples you showed were fun little hit arounds with kids!!!!!!!!!

    You dont see the Djoker hanging around playing 5 setters in the first rounds at majors just cos he likes to play 'cat and mouse'
     
    #50

Share This Page