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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    I have some net game. It's just nomy strongest weapon. Not my A plan.

    But you are right. But until someone develops his net game (or any other) they should play within their current game
     
  2. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

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    I agree. The advice of sticking with your game vs a pusher makes no sense to me. At every level a player should develop at least a functional swinging volley from the T, a half decent drop shot, and a functional game around the net.

    Any player talented enough to consistently "hit the corners" is certainly talented enough to develop a decent game inside the T in a relatively short time. Its not like pushers are hitting screaming passing shots, even a marginal net game is going to work.
     
  3. sureshs

    sureshs Bionic Poster

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    Then how come the "pusher" is winning?

    Coming to the net should not be to mask the inability to play from the baseline.

    If the baseline shots are good, you will automatically come to the net to finish them off. If they are not, coming to the net is risky.
     
  4. yemenmocha

    yemenmocha Professional

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    I think there's an often overlooked distinction with this notion of a "net game".

    There's the net game as in a strong volleyer who can play a lot of good S&V singles, S&V doubles, etc. Very, very good volleys that are possibly among the best strokes in this person's game.

    Few people have that sort of "net game" today compared to decades past.

    Today's "net game" by younger folks is really just volleying to the extent that it is necessary to close out a point from an awesome groundstroke or approach. It usually involves just one put away volley, and is not at all part of a S&V gameplan. It's also much easier to learn.

    The latter is necessary to beat the pusher, in my opinion.
     
  5. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    The pusher wins because they dont try and hit corners from the baseline. they just get the ball back and thats it. Their margin of error is lower. When the other player is not attacking, they are able to ride out this technique for wins off UE's and frustration.

    The OP just said he doesn't come to net because he does not feel comfortable.

    No one automatically comes to net. It is learned with practice and coaching. 2 things I think you need to invest in from your posts recently.
     
  6. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    I just lost to a 4.5/5.0 pusher LOL. I must have had 25 winners on ground strokes alone as I put ez shots away, but failed to capitalize on a key break and lost 7-6, 7-6. Fml.....
     
  7. mr_fro2000

    mr_fro2000 Rookie

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    completely agree with this statement.

    you said he is not comfortable at the net. bring him to the net EVERY SINGLE POINT (at least at first).

    you said you hit aggressive shots. proceed to drill the ball DIRECTLY at him. extra points if you hit his body full on. Don't go for passing shots, lobs etc. play the percentages and make him earn it at the net (his weakness).

    make him afraid to come to net.

    at some point, the tables will turn and you will be exposing HIS weakness.

    I pretty much do this against every pusher and it almost always works. Trust me, it is sooooooooo satisfying to see the pusher protest and call you out for trying to hit them.
     
  8. Oluap

    Oluap New User

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    Hi Luis

    I played the same player in a ladder match and lost 6-2 6-3. I played aggressively and had a few chances in the second set to take the lead at 3-3 but after several advantages his consistency paid off.

    He made a lot of progresses this last two years and is an extremely difficult player to play with but his game has a few flaws:

    He has a slow second serve and we can put a lot of pressure with an aggressive return of serve.

    He has some difficulties dealing low slices especially on his forehand side.

    Although is very fast east/west he struggles when he has to rush to the net.

    He also has some difficulties with an heavy ball.

    He struggles at the net.
     
  9. Rob31

    Rob31 Guest

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  10. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    If the average player who has trouble with pushers hits groundies from the baseline hard enough to seriously have a chance of hitting the body of a nonelderly player, that shot has at least a five times chance of hitting the back fence on the fly as winning the point.
     
  11. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    My favorite topic...

    ...best way to beat a pusher? Don't let him/her push. And you do that thusly:

    - First, lots of useful discussion above, groundstrokes, volleys, and so forth. The two strokes nobody really talked about are the serve and the return, which are the two most important shots in the game, in that order.

    You don't have to hit aces, but you do have to hit a forcing serve to take control of the point from the outset. Example: serve heavy to the body in the deuce court, look for the weak return, hit an inside out forehand, wade into the net to put away the wounded duck.

    Example two: wide kick serve in the ad court, cheat in from the baseline, look for a floating return, heavy cross-court topspin forehand, follow it in for the coupe de grace.

    - Same thing is true for the return. If your philosophy is "I have to get every return back, I have to play it safe", you're gonna lose, or at least never break serve, or at least run yourself to death trying to outrun a marathon runner. You don't have to hammer the return on every point, but if you get a helium ball second serve at 15-30, hit it so you make the guy move 3 steps and come into the net.

    So both of those strokes, serve and return, are ways you can take control of the point from the outset and shape the point, fairly quickly, into a winner for you or an error for him. And yep, you're gonna make some errors...so what? As long as you win the last point, it doesn't matter. Rafter once played a long match where he S&Ved on first and second serves. He won one more point at the net than he lost at the net...but he won the match...
     
  12. Tennis_tennis

    Tennis_tennis Rookie

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    dealing a pusher

    It's always better to construct the point with pusher. There is no point in hurrying for the winner/ shot since they will some how find a way to hit the ball back in. Make the pusher run to left to right and right to left, drag him to net and pass him...I started playing tennis in starting of 2009 and i guess i play near to 4.5 level right now. IN the beginning i always used to loose with a pusher.. it took 6 games for me to beat him back once.. but after that i never lost to him.i concentrated in constructing the points with him, never gift him points...
     
  13. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    I've been playing up more lately and having a harder time against the more consistent players. My old approach of get them running, come to the net and volley and winner isn't working against the 5.0-open level guys who just lob me back all day. Not sure how to beat someone at this level who gets everything back from the baseline, keeps it deep, and is a real threat if I give them anything soft or close to the net. Frustrating.....I guess I need to step up my serve big time to try and win by holding serve and hoping for a break.
     
  14. skiracer55

    skiracer55 Hall of Fame

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    Look at my post #111...

    ...it's not just your serve, it's your serve and your return. And you don't necessarily have to find ways to add 10 mph to your serve, think variety, and use your serve like a can opener, a la McEnroe...
     
  15. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Always tough to get points, games, sets, or matches when you move up a level. That level has just one more shot that works all the time against you, enough to make the differerence.
    Some players, it can be the low racket skimming lobs. Another player can have an unreturnable first serve. A third player might have the best net game you've ever seen, while another might run like a deer and never miss.
    Water WILL find it's own level.
     
  16. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    I don't think this water has found its level yet. I stopped playing completely for 8 years and now I'm like 6 months back into it. Still only 26 years old.....plenty of room to grow considering the amount of time I spent in juniors. Taking lessons again to make sure I'm progressing steadily. Goal is opens in 2-3 years.
     
  17. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Open shouldn't be too hard to achieve, if you're not injury prone, and can hit some winning shots at 4.0 right now. Better to hit winning shots in 4.5, but then you'd BE an Open player...:):)
    And even without ONE big shot, you can just enter Open division and lose in the 2nd round.
    Get your fitness up, cover your weaker shots by moving over to hit your stronger shots, and play as many better players as you possibly can, to experience the range of shots and strategy.
     
  18. spinorama

    spinorama Rookie

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    Well technically this is at least 4.5 right now for me. The league play/ tournament play at 4.0 has been too easy (lots of bagels).....and the losses i speak of are coming to solid players who I'm playing outside of Usta sanctioned events. They are easily 4.5-5.5 (i looked up their old records in mens 5.0. It's all relative though, and I get that....doesn't matter how good you get, you will always find people to beat you.

    I've had a few friends go on to get ATP points, and growing up with them and playing with them they were always better than me....but even they won't break the top 100 or be able to make enough off of it live on as a permanent career.
     
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Heck, most NCTA winning singles players never make the top 200 in ATP.
    Lefty from UCLA is an example.
    I know a number 2 for CalPoly, who got to the quarters in the NCTA tourney, who plays with us old farts, and he's 28 years old, 6'5" and 220 lbs., can still hit all the 5.5 level shots, but he likes basketball.
     
  20. KenC

    KenC Professional

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    Strategy is the key for 5.0 and above tennis. Learn how to construct points that favor your strengths against an opponent's weaknesses before he does the same to you.
     
  21. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Hang in there brother. I had the same problem.

    I was responsible for this post.

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=453976

    Yes, they are quite sick people. Their goal is to make the game as boring as possible because they want you feeling like "this game is a waste of time, get me out of here"

    The only effective way i went about it, was using another racquet specifically against them. A moonballer and a short/low pusher (or both) mainly has one weapon. Dying balls. Its no point trying to hit top spin groundies against them, The more they sink like a stone. The harder it is to hit through. And the more you're opponent will hope for your errors.

    Put away your good hybrid or poly set up racquet. Forget about your abilities. And get something forgiving and comfy for the long haul. Something with a bit more power so you can have a slower swing. If you're fitter and faster. You're gonna win because they'll start to hate their own games and take risks. Chances are you're much fitter and faster. I've never met pusher that I couldn't outrun.

    You need the wins to move up. So swallow your proud power pride (like what i had to do) and use your "B" game.

    Beat them at their own game. Use a racquet with just some comfy springy synthgut and just hit back junk like them and move them around. Chop it down low if you have to. Make them bend over as much as possible. You want them hating you, and you want them to try everything they can to stop you. Then mix it up with some moonballs. They'll start moving in for an easy passing. Be sure to serve short and low. Always short and low You want them hitting up and bending so you can slam one down. Then follow up with short and low groundies. Just plod along between points. Or you can try to serve as soon as they're ready to upset their rhythm and wear them out faster. Almost give the body language like you're humoring them and that you're that much better than them. Be cheerful about it :)

    There may be even times when you can easily end the point, sometimes it might help if you dont and make them sprint that extra 10-15 yards. Do that if you're in good position and in the lead.

    Why? Because despair will set in. They'll try to hit with more pace and up the level of play to end points quickly (which you're already better at). You can always just switch to your normal racquet afterwards if you feel the need. But if it slips away. Go back to the mockery style.

    Next time you play them, I guarantee that they'll try to belt the ball past you and you'll probably destroy them with your normal "A" game.

    Now that I've moved up the 2 grades that I wanted to, I don't have to resort to that as much these days (the pushers aren't there). But If need be, I will.


    Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: May 2, 2013
  22. gmatheis

    gmatheis Hall of Fame

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    Work on your own consistency. rally for 20 shots before going for any type of winner.... then increase it to 25 then 30. Still hit good groundstrokes and even move the ball around the court but start getting comfortable in long rallies so when match time comes around you have the confidence to keep a rally going rather than getting impatient and trying to end it too soon.
     
  23. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Or start hitting your shots to all the different corner's of the opponent's court.
     
  24. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

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    Lost 4-6 4-6 to the same pusher. Coming to net worked. More aces and just blasting the ball worked. I got up 3-1 both sets by convincing him to play my game, and that's when he really buckled down and started pushing like I've never seen before at this level. Moonball/moonball/dropshot/moonball to infinity. 6 backhand cross court slices in a row. Once again, he put the match in my court and I choked it away by overhitting. Just crazy. Makes me question my love of the game. He mentally annihilated me. He was willing to do whatever it took.
     
  25. ATP100

    ATP100 Professional

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    Would you like an easy way to beat him??
     
  26. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    When reading this thread it looks like pushers are a kind of evil plague from outer space, that has to be stopped.

    I remember an old article which gives this impression even more.
    Probably not ment to be funny, but while reading it had me in stitches all over again.

    Especially nr.8 of the writer's recommandations is totally hilarious..

    http://www.tennisserver.com/turbo/turbo_05_10.html

     
  27. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    - become an all courter.. moving in on shorter balls will allow you to hit angles at a high % and rung the pusher into the ground.

    - learn how to crush short sitters... practice with drop feeds at teh service line.

    - become a better tennis player. pushers win because they are generally better than you are. you need to improve your game.
     
  28. pjonesy

    pjonesy Professional

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    I can certainly relate. I don't like playing pushers in singles either. It's just not fun for me. I like to hit hard and heavy, trading shots and pulling the trigger when I get the opening.

    What has become frustrating for me, is playing doubles against pushers and dink shot artists. Lost a doubles match earlier this week to a couple of quirky hacks. They got the ball back with no pace, hit lobs and drop shots. Now on the other hand, these guys had steady, precise serves and great volleys. Most importantly, they know how to work together to WIN!! THAT is something we all can learn from.

    My solution is to start playing 2x per week at the doubles socials at my tennis club. I can complain, be miserable and continue to get no respect from these old guys that use their experience, and patience to win. I think it is in my best interest to force myself to play against players that frustrate me and develop new skills that will enhance my game.

    Pushers frustrate their opponents through consistency and patience. Wouldn't it be nice to have that kind of control over your opponent? While we're out there pressing and trying to hit high risk/low return shots, these guys are doing very little. Just reacting and keeping the ball in play. I'm not sure I would ever be able to pull it off, but it would be nice to beat a pusher at his own game. For a change it would be nice to see some frustration on the other side of the net.
     
  29. MikeHitsHard93

    MikeHitsHard93 Hall of Fame

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    My experience is that you need to hit tons of low skidding slice and come to net. Most pushers can't hit much topspin and when they dig for that low slice, they'll just pop it up for an overhead. Seriously, work on a really good slice backhand! Also, try to make your first serve more.
     
  30. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    you need to stand closer to net in doubles... also, work on your volleys and overheads... don't blame pushers for your lack of skill.

    pushing is a horrible strategy in doubles, you should be bageling them. there is a reason Djokovic is not a solid doubles player, even though he is world no. 1 and multi-slam champion...

     
  31. Shroud

    Shroud Hall of Fame

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    Sorry you lost leroy.

    But look on the bright side you almost won and are finding things that work.

    Net play does work. But i have seen some players try it hit some winning volleys and get passed a few and then just stop. Mentally if you are coming in and it is part of your strategy, you WILL get passed and often. Mentally this may be tough to handle, but in tennis all you need is a few more points than the other guy to win.

    For instance in the classic 2008 Wimbledon final how many more points did Rafa win than Fed? From memory it was 4 or 5 with it being 209 to 204 or something like that.

    Hypothetically Rafa if he was coming in on every point he could have been passed 204 times AND STILL WON!

    The whole point is to make him beat you and not to beat yourself. Be smart about the net but dont give up too soon.

    Tennis is simple just make sure you win the last point, all the other ones dont really matter :)
     
  32. luishcorreia

    luishcorreia Professional

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    Today i beat another pusher 62, 64. No special tactics. Just played my game. Remained focused. I guess the tactic is to be more conscient. I already played this guy one, and he has a terrible weakness. Shots with heavy topspin to his one handed backhand. S, thats what i did. Not intensely, but one in a while and every time he started creeping in on the match. I also served lots of kick serves to his backhand on the ad side, with lots of success.

    It really is about playing your strengths to his weakness. The serve is my best shot and it went right up to his worst shot, the backhand.

    Today was a good day. In e afternoon i saw live the final of the Portugal Open here in lisbon. Great match by wawrinka to beat ferrer.
     
  33. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    My basic recipe for pushers is to approach slow and deep up the middle and set-up for the volley just inside the service line. Their options are to either pass you or lob you. If they lob, which is the generally the perferred pusher play, you're set-up so far back that it will be pretty hard to get a lob over your head. Hit the overhead for a winner. If they try to pass you your approach as given them no good angles and no pace. Since they're a pusher, they hate generating pace, so you're likely to get a weak passing shot that you will be able to move in a couple of steps a volley a winner. You don't have to kill the volley, just get your racquet out in front of you and angle it off.

    If you have a basic volley and an overhead then you're set.

    Now note, this tactic will get you killed if the player has any actual strokes, but since we're talking pushers by definition they don't.
     
  34. ttwarrior1

    ttwarrior1 Professional

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    Drop shot them, or take some off the serve to set up the next shot. Try body serves, a lot of these guys like to move some to return shots
     
  35. leroy_sunset

    leroy_sunset Rookie

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    Dismantled a 4.0 serve and volleyer tonight, 3 and 2. Yet my pusher still lingers in my head...

    Just gotta shake it off, and try to stay mentally tough. Thanks for the advice, guys.
     
  36. Greg G

    Greg G Professional

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    I feel you man! I just joined the club last night. :)
     
  37. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

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    The one think you really have to do, is stop thinking you are a better player than the pusher who beats you regularly. You won't get frustrated so easily.
     
  38. Avles

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    If they had good serves and great volleys, they aren't hacks. They just specialize in different shots than you do-- shots that happen to be very important in doubles.
     
  39. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I played as a pusher against my buddy during practice and it was killing him! He couldn't get a single point. I was doing it so he can practice playing against one and see if he could come up with a solution but he just kept overhitting everything.

    Like it was posted before, I think the net game approach is good as long as you have a decent net game. You will get passed and lobbed for points, but you should be putting most of them away or at least making his life more difficult by cutting down his time to hit balls by 1/2.
     
  40. The Isomotion31

    The Isomotion31 Semi-Pro

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    Finally played a legit "pusher" last night. It was a fun experience.
    4-6, 6-4, 6-2.

    First set I couldn't figure out what to do to prevent the moon balls/dink shots.

    Second set I started hitting my first serve down the middle pretty well and coming up to the net as well as hitting shorter to make him come up to the net.

    Third set was good as my first serve was on fire by then and was able to ace him a few times.

    the big factor was that I was able to hit a ton of return winners in the second and third set when I finally got the timing of his serve down.

    I could tell he was getting frustrated when I started waiting for his serve in deadman's land and at the service line almost for his second serve.

    It really helped me with the mental aspect. Started to feel like I was beating myself and calmed down and played my game.

    Good experience and have great confidence going into my match on Saturday.
     
  41. beltsman

    beltsman Professional

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    I played a true, legit pusher recently. It was a struggle. I had superior weapons and I've really been working on getting solid form on my strokes. During warm ups I noticed that he had terrible form and could barely hit with any pace. I thought "easy!"

    Well, not so easy. I ended up winning, but only after a 3.5 hour grind and a scoreline of 6-7 (6-8), 7-5, 7-5. The first set I just played my normal game and struggled a lot with his junk. He didn't moonball or anything. Just the opposite. He dinked everything short and I really had to bend down below the knees to get it back. When I did have chances for shots, he ran everything down.

    He was a cross-country runner so he had unlimited stamina and just kept running down everything and putting it back into play. I was really, really frustrated and started to lose my gameplan. I went down 2-5 in the second set but then started to play his game, hitting safe shots and lots of low slices, only firing away when I had the perfect opportunity. I came back and took the second set 7-5.

    Third set, with my confidence back, I started going for my shots again and being aggressive. This led to another 2-5 deficit. I changed my gameplan again and fought back, this time pinning him in corners and running him back and forth. I came back and won 7-5.

    Basically I stopped trying to hit winners and just focused on hitting spots on the court, corner to corner. If it was a difficult shot I sliced it; only topspin if I had a clear opportunity. I also started to anticipate his short dinks better and used them as a chance to charge the net and surprise him. He couldn't hit with pace so my net play was generally successful.

    Pushers suck, but they really force you to play a tight, controlled, mental game instead of swinging all-out. I want to play the guy again and try to stay mentally focused the whole match; I think I can take him easily if I do that. I only fell into the 2-5 holes because I got mentally lazy and started trying to hit winners again.
     
  42. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    I played a 4.0 pusher last night. Bagled him in the first set because I was playing my game and my serves were going in.

    Second set went to a tiebreak. I was mad that I let it get to that, but I realized that I had been playing 2 hours (played 1.5 hours before the match) and just got tired, out of calories and lost focus.

    So another piece of advice would be to bring some food like an energy bar and an electrolyte drink to refuel between sets. I had just water and almost paid the price. The long rallies challenge your focus severely if you are low on energy.
     
  43. beltsman

    beltsman Professional

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    That is good advice. You need to keep a high energy level to keep consistent form all the way to the end. If your body is fatigued, your mind becomes fatigued as well. It's really all about focus.
     
  44. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    I played the little lobber you've seen down at my club last night. Kind of the same type match. Easy first set and tough finish to win the 2nd set.
     
  45. Frank Silbermann

    Frank Silbermann Professional

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    What we need is not a pattern or combination that is effective against pushers, but a single effective shot. The fact is, if I could hit four good shots in a row without making an error I'd be beating all my opponents already. And if I took the pace off to hit shots sufficiently crappy to make four in a row without error, I still wouldn't be reading about how to beat a pusher -- because I'd _be_ a pusher.

    And no, the person who regularly wins is _not_ necessarily the better player. If that were true, book and article titles such as "How to Beat Better Tennis Players" would make no sense. The better player is the one whose shots more closely resemble the pros. (That's why we care about hitting straight-arm forehands, instead of the double-bend forehands we tried to hit ten years ago.)
     
  46. Broly4

    Broly4 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2012
    Messages:
    298
    Tennis is a mental sport, if somebody whose tennis is worse than yours, (according to your view) keeps beating you, probably it's because is mentally stronger than you, all in all, a better tennis player.

    This comes from a guy who praises shot making above all other things on a tennis court, and embraces power play as a religion.
     
  47. Bobs tennis

    Bobs tennis Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2012
    Messages:
    198
    Pushers

    I am so confused with this term.I have talked about this so often.Is the word a code for "I lost and here is my excuse".I have a friend who is shunned by so many because he is called a pusher or moonballer.I have refused to embrace his strategy,and yes it is strategy, probably because i'm stuborn and I just like the feel of a well hit ball.I have yet to beat him in several years but I feel playing him has made me a better player.He hits with no pace,moonballs,lobs and then drop shots.Go to the net and suddenly he can hit hard and pass you.His lob is almost magic.No matter how good you approach he can almost always hit just inside the baseline.In local tournaments he continually is in the semis.Players that are polished and don't overhit can beat him but bring lunch.Many have talked to him about making some changes and going even farther but he won't change.He is in his early sixtys and loves beating younger players that can't understand it's the last person to miss.As one popular internet guru said "pushers get it".
     
  48. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
    Messages:
    1,908
    This to me is the huge disconnect. Most guys have very limited time to play tennis. They want to go out and have fun, play the game as much like the pros as possible. Hit full out. They do not want to "bring a lunch" and would rather just go fishing then play that kind of tennis.

    If you play pick up basketball and can find guys who are fun to play with and try to guard the right way, pass....make the game fun. Or you get a group of fat sweaty guys who just grab and lean on every play....which group would you rather spend your precious free time with?

    So its not that pushers are breaking the rules, or are terrible players, etc....its that its no fun to play that style during your limited tennis time. Its a pushers free choice to play that way....but its our free choice to shun them and not be hitting partners with them.

    That being said, they are easily beatable with the right strategy as discussed earlier. Its actually fun to come in, take balls out of the air, drop shot them, hit topspin that goes over their heads, and destroy that 60 year old pusher. That never gets old to me.
     
  49. Mick

    Mick Legend

    Joined:
    Jul 21, 2006
    Messages:
    8,363
    you want your hitting partners to be the kind that would hit a winner within 2 or 3 shots? :shock:

    I sometimes would play with players like that. I would end up spending more time picking up the balls than hitting the balls.
     
  50. TCF

    TCF Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2012
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    Its a balance, I hate practicing go for winners on every shot guys too.
     

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