I give up. Can't play pushers.

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by luishcorreia, Apr 27, 2013.

  1. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    That's right. I know the problem it's mine. I'm not even one of the people that think pushers aren't real tennis players.

    But I give up. I can't play against them. Don't want to. Don't know how to.

    Today I had the most incredible match against a pusher I've played numerous times. I dictate the points. I am aggressive. I go for my shots. I open dome angles. I draw him in to the net. He's always defending and putting moon balls with no pace.

    In today's match I was always at deuce, 30-40 or 40-30... But somehow... With all of this.. He won 6-0, 6-2. God...

    This was on clay. The one time I played him on hard court I won 61, 60.

    It's not the case that he's a better player. I have more strokes, fitness and power than him. The only thing he's stronger is the mental game. Never.. Not once.. I've seen this guy loose its cool or even say anything on court.

    I think my game just doesn't fit. Is it just poor tactics?

    Another thing: I can stay with him in most points and make him go for his shots a bit more... But it's soooo boring... It's all in slow motion. His shots just sit there.. In mid air.

    It's just boring to play that way.

    I give up
     
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  2. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Polish your net game and finish points up there.
     
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  3. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    That, or at least camp up there to make the pusher MAKE the shots. You can draw some errors if you make them go for winners.

    They're never fun to play against, but pushers reveal the flaws in one's game.

    My thoughts on playing pushers: if I let the ball bounces on my end, especially if it's deep, the advantage more or less goes to the pusher.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
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  4. North

    North Professional

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    This is the best succinct "Manual on How to Play Pushers"!
     
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  5. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    This is what I've found works quite well against pushers. Often times people say to develop angles. I disagree. A good retriever will scramble to that ball and hit it defensively every time leaving you with no advantage. Power also doesn't work, and usually works against you. Either your shot comes back hotter than you wanted it to, or you make an error going for something huge. What has always worked for me is depth. Put the ball deep and heavy. You're not going to force them into an error, but you will force them out of their comfort zone by having your incoming ball affect what they normally do. The opposite also holds true. Pushers are almost always TERRIBLE at the net. So, even when I'm hitting with friends, I practice hitting short balls. Whether they continue to the net or not isn't relevant. If they're stuck mid court, you've got more to work with. If they're stuck at the net, even a modest passing shot should do the trick. In short: do what mikeler said, and also be able to hit deep enough to change their preferred timing.
     
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  6. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I've read about taking the ball in the air. But this guy has shots that land on the baseline. With some spin. How can I get the ball in a drive volley and make it 80% of the time? It's just bad percentages.

    I am thinking that at the rec level, pushers will always have the advantage.
     
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  7. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    In fact when opening up angles I would get back an even higher ball. He puts iti up there to get back to its place....
     
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  8. mightyrick

    mightyrick Hall of Fame

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    Pushers can be beaten in a few ways. But the reason why they give people trouble is because they force players to perform shots that they aren't used to.

    You can't baseline with a pusher. Pushers love to run east/west (left/right).

    If you want to beat a pusher, you must make them them run north/south. That means bringing them to the net. So you have to be able to hit a shot which will do that. Either an okay dropshot or a shallow angle shot. You have to have one of these shots to beat a good pusher.

    When the pusher is at net, you either pass them or lob them. If you pass them, great, the point is yours. If you lob them, they'll run back and put up a lob. Again, hit a short shot... and bring them to the net again. Keep repeating this.

    Be patient and you will beat them. But you have to have patience.
     
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  9. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Apparently you can play quite effectively against pushers, depending on the surface. So, no reason to throw in the towel. Just play him on hard court. Problem solved. :)
     
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  10. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I can understand, a guy in his fifties, with some lingering aches and pains, starting to push the ball. But in club tournaments, more and more o see young guys, in their twenties or thirties, pushing the ball.

    Come one.... Will ya? Hit the damn ball....
     
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  11. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    I practice three times a week, but, have you ever seen a tennis pro do drills that address how to play a pusher? How can you practice that?
     
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  12. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I want to piggyback off of what you were saying, add to it if I may:

    1) Angles - OP, you should know that often times, in order to create the initial angle, you may end up with a horrible court position or you're essentially off of the court.

    2) Short balls - Pushers don't make shots, period. You can give them short ball and reel them into no-man's land. And I agree, most pushers have no net game. However, that's not to say ALL pushers have no net game, and if you give anyone enough short balls, you'll still get killed regardless who it is. Use it every once in a while just to throw the pusher off.
     
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  13. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Very nicely put, that is what I was intending. Use variety instead of outright power. Deep, short, rush the net, S&V, etc. If you don't give them that comfortable ball to work with, then you force them to come up with something. Pushers by definition do not come up with anything good on their own. :)
     
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  14. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    What if a pusher is pretty solid at the net and can chase down short ball...and attack you. Now what?
     
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  15. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    I welcome you to show me this player. This defies the definition of a pusher if they have a strong net game AND attack shots consistently. That is the ultimate in offensive ability, whereas the pusher is the ultimate in defensive ability.
     
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  16. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Probably the best pusher out there right now is Marin Cilic. If you don't fall asleep watching this man, then you were asleep before the match came on. Look how tentatively he plays EVERY ball. Then look how absolutely nervous he looks when he does get drawn to the net. This is at the professional level even. http://youtu.be/fZg4WnYCd9I?t=56s
     
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  17. WildVolley

    WildVolley Legend

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    Actually, tennis pros do a lot of pusher drills. Almost all the Spanish hand-fed drills are applicable to a pusher, as they have you move your feet and generate your own pace again and again.

    Also, most serious tennis players with coaches will spend time doing put-away drills which are also applicable to pushers.
     
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  18. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Somewhere, Gilles Simon just woke up to a bed of cold sweat going: "Oh hell naw!"
     
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  19. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    Would you consider Santoro a pusher?
     
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  20. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Stop it, he's a magician, everyone knows that.
     
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  21. 86golf

    86golf Semi-Pro

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    Friend of mine played a pusher the other day and I filmed some of it. It's a bad camera angle, but you'll get the picture. It's in the first part of this video.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W4O4XN4VzPs&sns=em

    Bottom line, you beat these guys just like you beat everyone else....pin them in the corners. If you hit balls down the middle, you'll have a long day against anyone.
     
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  22. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    This guy i played really is not good at net. When i give him a short ball bellow the net he almost always nets it or hits it long. But you cant win matches just by drawing him in to the net. You need to mix it up. But... On average he is just more consistent.. makes fewer errors, wins more points, thus, wins more matches. Hes better. Thats the reality
     
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  23. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Also, noticed the common theme here:

    Pusher
    - Not very athletic
    - No weapon
    - **** bricks at the net
    - Can't put anything away

    Non-pusher
    - Has weapons
    - Camped at the net whenever possible
    - Put away anything short, or hit an approach shot out of it
     
    #23
  24. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    So far I'm doing well against them by making them move to the deep corners, then putting the ball away once they are out of position. I do need to work on not allowing them to reset the point with a high looper though. I've been going in with the attitude of working on my shot tolerance-- that's working quite well for me. Keeps me from getting bored.
     
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  25. HRB

    HRB Hall of Fame

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    Ahh..the Pusher...they annoy the he## outta me as well. Here is what I do when I know I'm facing a pusher.

    Knowing they won't physically tax me I make sure to go out and rip the ball for a good hour with a buddy that has some great pace...get all my aggression out...then we enjoy a few light brews and I hit the court totally relaxed and drive the pusher crazy with aces, drops, lobs, pace, short, long, etc.

    Same thing I have to do for doubles to make it interesting!

    Yes...I do need drugs to have a good time...WITH PUSHERS!!! LOL.
     
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  26. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Not even close. He's a junkballer like Michael Chang.
     
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  27. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    The only problem I have with pushers is that I tend to fall asleep when playing them, playing their games, to be woke up by a ball going in a corner. Bringing them at net works greatly though, but they love to run so they WILL be at net. Then a lob or a passing shot to end the point/get a putaway to deal with. They can't hurt you, their strategy is to make you pissed off or fall asleep, and then the match is over. They are not technically a threat, but tactically they are better. Pushers love to run, if the ball is short they WILL be there, if the ball is far they WILL be there too. You have to stay tuned and do the right thing one you brought them up a net.

    I love to play dropshots when they give a short ball. You just have to put the following shot away if they're on it. They also allow me to work on stuff I usually dislike. Then, my main plan this year was to get a serve (I was king at doing DFs, off frame hits, stuff not even going in the court's direction), so I don't have to engage the rally either and get some space for me on return games. Playing as hard as possible often has the reverse of what is wanted: they still block it back, which de facto resets the point. Then on clay it would be easier to wrong foot them, playing in their back, since the traction on dirt is much less efficient and you can't do quick U-Turns on it.

    I wouldn't call Simon a pusher. He can serve at 210 kph, but he hasn't the power to sustain that kind of playing for hours on the court. He grinds you and uses your power against you. He doesn't even try to hit harder than you, you're off generating the power by yourself. And Santoro was the Magician. Period. Nobody handled the ball like him. Some would crush it, he caressed it, handled it gently. Nothing like a pusher blocking it the other way.
     
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  28. pvaudio

    pvaudio Legend

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    Tactically they are not better. Ultra percentage is not a tactic because there will ALWAYS be someone better. To be the best, you need to be able to have offense as well. That's why people tell kids not to worry about moonballers because at some point, they'll be able to tee off on their shots and blow them off the court.
     
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  29. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    Well some of those pushers work some technique, and they become counter-punchers or junkballers, which are more tricky to handle. So yeah, at higher level you don't see pushers, but sometimes it isn't always because they're stuck at lower level (even if it's often what happens to the eyes of the players), but also because they don't play the same anymore too.
     
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  30. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    I don't think you're allowed to post in this thread if you think Gilles Simon isn't a pusher. :)

    Also, you basically described his pushing tactics but are reluctant to call him a pusher.
     
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  31. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    You guys can't hit to corners to win. You can't out-hit them in the middle. You can't rush the net to finish them. And as someone says, pushers aren't very athletic.

    What kind of player are you? LOL.
     
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  32. pingu

    pingu Semi-Pro

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    OP: I understand your feeling as it's never a fun thing to play against a pusher. However, once we step on the court, we expect anything that the opponent throwing at us. I agree with one poster's suggestion above, make them run north/south and lob them eventually will tire them down. Don't just feed them the ball as these guys would love to stand at baseline and return your shots. Get them out of their comfort zone and you will win.
     
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  33. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    A pusher is someone who pushes the ball back. Hence the name. A pusher can't hut anyone, not even using their opponent's strength and pace. Simon is on the next level, he's a counter puncher. He can and he will use your pace against you. So no, I won't call him a pusher.
     
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  34. Say Chi Sin Lo

    Say Chi Sin Lo Legend

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    Exactly, you can't let a pusher think they can dictate plays by just floating stuff back and forth.

    The game is to make the other player as uncomfortable as possible. There's nothing dirty about pushing, it's annoying, but equally effective at making an opponent uncomfortable.

    Pushers don't like to run north and south, especially live at the net and MAKE shots. So, take them out of their comfort zone, and don't let them dictate plays by floating stuff back and forth.
     
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  35. jakeytennis

    jakeytennis Rookie

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    he's a better player than you. you cant judge him just physically. mentally, he has you beat. thats where you have to improve
     
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  36. Thepowerofchoice

    Thepowerofchoice Semi-Pro

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    This is true for me. I started out as a pusher and now I am a junkballer. :)
     
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  37. martini1

    martini1 Hall of Fame

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    Even low level moonballers can graduate to tops spin lobbers. If you can't pressure them enough, ts lobs are very hard to deal with once it started. Don't discriminate pushers, some might just level up and kill those net rushers or baseline blasters!
     
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  38. BMC9670

    BMC9670 Hall of Fame

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    These "pusher" threads are hilarious... I mean c'mon, enough with the cliches "I'm a better player but I can't beat him". Sorry, if you can't beat someone, they are a better player. Period.

    And calling top 20 pros pushers, hilarious! It never ceases to amaze me how little respect the avid tennis fan has for top pro players.
     
    #38
  39. Migelowsky

    Migelowsky Rookie

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    You know, I don't enjoy playing these type of player, but the truth is that he was better than you.
    Your better strokes , fitness and power are not enough for mental game, and he also must be consistent and fit if he´s running and returning you fast strokes.
    Don´t give up, you´ll learn from this players and it will be reflected when you play other non pushers.
     
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  40. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    You are a loser if you can't beat a pusher!
     
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  41. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    On the courts; hard & clay ...
    A. Yes, he is a better player. He beat you.
    B. Learn some patterns of play* that set up winner opportunities for you.
    C. Practice crushing sitters on your own and/or with a partner. People still need finishing skills, even on clay. Use angles and spin rather than outright pace, although pace is still important.

    It hurts to lose to these folks, but the work you put in to finding a way to beat them basically gives you an opportunity to make a big jump in your game.


    * e.g. hit deep cross court ground strokes + drop shot down the line and come in + volley into open court... OR...
    hit deep cross court ground strokes until you get a mid-court sitter and crush it down the line, or crush it cross court when he starts anticipating the down the line, etc...
     
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  42. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

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    After reading way too many of these also, I realize why guys suck. They just practice "nice". They hit the ball waist level to each other, only hit easy baseline shots, barely move each other, and, everybody is happy(and, think they got ANYTHING out of their "hitting session")..

    I have started to hit and practice playing out points like I was playing a match in hitting sessions. Let me tell you, I have lost nearly ALL of my "hitting partners" because of it. But, I am a FARR better player! I will take a mid court ball, approach with nasty spin to the backhand, split step properly to the T, and put away my volley with power. Man do I seem like a d*** when I do this to these poor guys. haha However, when I do not, and "play(practice) nice" all my timing is off when I need these plays, and I am no better than the rest of these "nice guy hitters".

    So, bottom line. You play a match. You have practiced NEXT TO NOTHING... a)approach shot= U have none. b)power volley= nada c)aggressive angles= nope d)heavy deep topspin= probably not d)split step at T=non existant e)footwork for tough "pusher" overhead.. no, u just over closed the net! f)groundstokes?= sure.. waist high, easy to get back groundstrokes.. both you and your partner have those! Good for you!! haha Suckers.
     
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  43. travlerajm

    travlerajm Hall of Fame

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    It might be a good idea to let your hitting partner know when you're planning to play out the point.
     
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  44. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

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    Today's pusher:

    6'2" guy that hits with no pace. No topspin to speak of. 100% slice backhand. Can direct the ball pretty well, but just uses all my pace. Good court instincts and anticipation. Plays pretty well at the net. Chips back every single serve return. Didn't hit a single double fault. Didn't hit a single ace.

    I was trying everything. Huuuuge topspin balls in the extreme corners were winners if I had him running, but that would have been true against any player. If I hit him a short, low mid-court ball he would just chip into my backhand, then rush the net. I wasn't passing well and he was very successful up there. I guess I should have lobbed him more, but my backhand topspin lob isn't amazing. When I was at the net, he would lob me 100% of the time.

    The craziest part was his serve return. All that other stuff, I think I could have still gotten the job done. But I think I only had maybe 3 free points off my serve. As in, the guy only failed to return 3 of my serves into the court. That is super unusual. I hit a good kick serve, deep with decent pace with good direction. He was tall with a wide wingspan and able to just dink them back over. Body serves, same deal - dink them back over. It was infuriating. It got in my head, and the double faults began. It just spiraled from there.

    I lost 5-7 2-6. Total collapse in the second set. I broke him 4 times in the match, still lost because I couldn't hold serve. I think I lost 3 service games where I was up 40-15. He just got in my head and dismantled me.

    I play him again on Friday. I have no idea what to do differently. My teammate overheard him say "that was the most consistent match I have ever played." I can't hope that he'll play worse. I need to figure this out. I'm not in good enough shape to grind him out, TBH. I almost feel like I need to play bigger - more pace on the serve, go for more aces, up the pace on my groundies. But I have been ratcheting all of this back for the last year to gain more consistency. It's definitely "live by the sword, die by the sword" when I play that way - someone is getting swept off the court pretty fast (him if I'm on, me if I'm off).

    This is my first singles loss in like 2 months, it's really bothering me.
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2013
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  45. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

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    travlerajm: Yes, i probably should. Most just tell me to hit it right to them, or in a limited area. Then I just get reps, and hardly develop anything. (I think U are the guy who talked about depolarized, polarized frames? If U are, thanks, helped immensely when i polarized my racket!)

    Leroy... Sounds like you are playing PAT RAFTER! haha Though seriously, a lot of no.1 4.0 players play that same type of game, and some at even the 4.5 level, so, that guy is good. But, during the warmup, and while playing, try different heights and spins of the ball to sides, try to find a weakness. See if he has speed and/or is cheating to get to crosscourt balls. If he is, hit behind him to get him off balance. Most guys on the planet struggle to hit a high backhand. And attack to his weakness, and see how well he can handle being attacked. If you think more about weaknesses and attacking you won't worry as much about his pushing and consistency. Good luck.
     
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  46. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

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    No doubt, the guy played good. I honestly think he was in top form (I mean, not a single double fault???). I don't begrudge him that. And to his credit, he didn't really let me play my game (extract short balls/errors with my serve, big forehand). But the way he did it just irks me. No pace, no freakin' backhand to speak of. Just dink it back. I think I am going to hit behind him more, come to the net more. Make him put something up.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
    #46
  47. Lukhas

    Lukhas Legend

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    If he's tall, why not slices instead of topspin?
     
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  48. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    then the OP has a problem because most decent club players are pushers :)
     
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  49. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    If you get beat by a pusher and complain about it then you are obviously not as good as you think you are.

    My advice is to learn how to hit harder more consistently and learn how to take command of points. Learn how to view the court like a chessboard and set it up to have a commanding presence. Learn how to analyze your opponent to identify weaknesses and then construct shot sequences that force them into their weaknesses. Learn how to maneuver your opponent through shot sequences that get him to hit to your strengths while you hit to his weakness. But whatever you do, don't play right into his game strategy which is exactly why people lose to pushers in the first place!
     
    #49
  50. TimothyO

    TimothyO Hall of Fame

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    This is excellent advice ^^^

    we low to mid level rec players lose to pushers because we lack weapons to hurt them without hurting ourselves and don't think when we play. Like the pusher too often we're just getting the ball over the net "wherever" and hoping that hitting the amazing "hard topspin shot" will magically win the match.

    1. There's nothing magic about hitting "hard topspin" without thinking first. Too often low/mid level rec players think mere topspin with pace is enough. It's not. It needs to be hit as a part of a pattern of play.

    2. Even the best pusher can't teleport around the court. You need to deliberately practice patterns of play designed to build points resulting in opportunity balls that can be put away.

    3. If you can't beat a pusher who lacks weapons that hurt you then be honest with yourself: he's a pusher and you're a mindless ball basher generating unforced errors who gives away points with thoughtless, weaponless play.

    Two great books on this topic: Think to Win and Pressure Tennis. Both cover patterns of play that reduce your own errors and help you build points towards that opportunity ball you can put away.

    Remember: just because you can midlessly bash the ball harder with pretty strokes than a pusher doesn't make you the better player. The pusher is better because he's thinking and has a strategy: let the mindless barbarian beat himself. There is no such thing as a "pusher"...the so-called pusher is a disciplined, consistent, weaponless players smart enough to play within himself while the opponent self-destructs.

    To beat a "pusher" become a better one or start thinking and learn how to use patterns of play to exploit whatever weapon you might have. To beat a pusher, or any other player, tennis starts with steady nerves to maintain calm, the brain using deliberate strategy to drive tactical shot selection and court positioning, anticipation skills and footwork to smoothly move to a stable hitting position, the eyes to focus on the ball, and LEAST import the stroke to hit the ball. Given two players of even barey equal ball striking skill the match will be determined by nerves, intelligence, and footwork. Pushers win because they're calm, they think, they move, and they know the limits of their strokes and play within them.
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2013
    #50

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