I have turned into a pusher!

Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by will3689, Aug 3, 2012.

  1. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    I have played tennis for quite a few years now but never at a high standard. This year i have started entering tournaments at a higher standard and i have found that i just cant get used to the speed of the ball approaching me and end up just blocking balls back. Altough i do still seem to be winning alot of matches using this tactic i dont find it a fun way to play but every time i try and hit the ball like i do against lower standard players i seem to miss.
    So should i carry on blocking balls back because it seems to be working or take a risk and probably miss alot of shots?
     
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  2. North

    North Professional

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    What is your goal? Winning tournaments or long-term improvement? If you are honest with yourself about your goals, you can probably answer your own question.
     
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  3. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    This is the problem i want to win but i also want to improve my game.
     
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  4. North

    North Professional

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    Although they are not completely mutually exclusive, the steps to each are somewhat different in the short term & over the long run. It would probably help to play some tournaments at your own level of play for the experience, confidence, & match-smarts you will get. But you will have to decide what is most important to you.
     
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  5. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

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    Congratulations! Your lapel pin and membership decal are in the mail.
     
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  6. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    Wish I could push. I'd win more if I could. When my game goes erratic, I simply must swing my way out. Finesse and me are mortal enemies.
     
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  7. anubis

    anubis Hall of Fame

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    Short term vs. long term goals. You want to win, yes, and sometimes being a retriever will get you to that end. However, that is a short term goal.

    If you want to continue to develop as a tennis player, which includes moving up in NTRP rankings, then you will get to a point (sooner rather than later) where pushing and retrieving will no longer be as effective. The better players can deal with that and effectively negate your tactics.

    On the flip side, by trying to play good, solid tennis (and not pushing), you will lose more games as you continue to grow and learn the finer details of how to play the game. But in the long run, you will win more games because you're better prepared to handle competition at higher NTRP levels.

    So its up to you. Become a better tennis player and lose in the short term but win in the long term. Or be a pusher and win in the short term and lose in the long term.

    Just my .02 cents.
     
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  8. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    I agree with your two cents. If one is satisfied with just blocking back shots, and if that produces a few wins, then that's ok. But in that case, one will probably never experience the sublime pleasure that hitting inside out and down the line drives to the corners can produce, and one will also probably never graduate to any higher level of play.
     
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  9. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    What? No decoder ring?
     
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  10. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    You do whatever you got to do to win--it's a competition not a performance like ballet, no style points. You can take a risk and hit low percentage shots when you're ahead on the score. Sounds like you're doing pretty good though. Blocking balls back because your opponent doesn't give you time to take a full swing is not being a pusher, someone who has no technique but hangs in there on athleticism alone hitting frying pan shots.
     
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  11. michael_1265

    michael_1265 Professional

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    Take a couple of lessons with the goal of adding some offense into your game. Practice hitting the shots you learned when you are hitting just for fun, then start using them in practice matches. Once you are confident, start using them in actual matches. You can't learn new shots while you are simultaneously trying to win. It's a progression.
     
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  12. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Warning: if you do not develop your strokes, it will catch up to you.

    Many of my friends were bumped up to 4.0 this year. Those who have always worked hard on their technique are starting to win a bit.

    Those who didn't work on technique are finding their old strokes aren't good enough. Now they want better technique, but they have to implement these big changes while facing 4.0 opponents. It's a tough ask.
     
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  13. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

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    The secret handshake and decoder ring don't come until you reach the elite levels of pusher-dom. Don't ask for details - I've already revealed too much.
     
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  14. TennisDawg

    TennisDawg Semi-Pro

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    Try and fight the tendency to play the pushing style, I know it's easier said than done. I would do it gradually by learning how to hit the ball as best you can the correct way.
     
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  15. Fuji

    Fuji Legend

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    I couldn't agree with this more. I've seen it happen quite a bit with a few of the 3.0/3.5 guys I hit with. They are really eager to move up, but when they are playing someone who is .5 higher then them their technique just really cannot carry them through it.

    -Fuji
     
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  16. TomT

    TomT Hall of Fame

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    Roger that. :wink:
     
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  17. maxie waxie

    maxie waxie New User

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    In the past, I try to play the scoreboard to get myself more aggressive. Any game that I was up 30-love, 40-15 in a game or up a couple of games in a set I would focus on going for winners and not pushing at all cost. You may lose some games that you could have won but it will give you the confidance to develop those shots that you need to improve.
     
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  18. tennis tom

    tennis tom Hall of Fame

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    Yup, percentage tennis. If you're ahead on the score you can take chances trying low percentage shots and it won't hurt you as bad.
     
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  19. InspectorRacquet

    InspectorRacquet Semi-Pro

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    The general consensus is this: if you want to move up, work on your strokes and technique, which will inevitably lead to losses in competition play as you try to figure it all out. If you are content at the level you are playing, then bunting it back should be fine if you just want to win.

    This is the big dilemma. You have to improve your strokes if you ever want to move up and be able to play someone better than you (or even beat them for that matter). Once you figure out your improved strokes, you can beat people at your level and above your level.

    By the way, pushing is all relative. There are "pushers" at the pro level and at our level. Winning takes the back seat when you want to improve.
     
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  20. DeShaun

    DeShaun Banned

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    Yeah, a buddy of mine waltzed his way through a 3.0, 12-man league last year, coming in third place by season's end without developing his back court strokes because his net game was relatively solid. That really caught up to him this year--I saw a couple of his matches against 3.5s this spring in which he was getting absolutely pummeled on his baseline with next to no opportunity for net play.
     
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  21. Z-Man

    Z-Man Professional

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    If pace is causing you to shorten your strokes, try standing a little further back. Pushing with poor technique is a dead end game, but careful percentage play is a great way to win matches. Over time, you can dial up the aggression of good percentage play and become a counter puncher or a power baseliner. Also, if you're blocking it back inside the baseline, that could be the beginning of taking the ball early, which is a key tactic, so try moving back, but don't forget that a short swing inside the baseline is a great way to take time and angles away from your opponent.
     
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  22. tennisplayer1993

    tennisplayer1993 Semi-Pro

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    for some people being a pusher (counter-puncher) works. I have friends who aren't big hitters but can prolong rallies for a very long time. Usually their endurance/speed is far better than mine. I'm a big hitter and usually i get flustered and try to play high risk/high reward tennis and go for winners/aces. sometimes it works but when it doesn't work, the match definitely becomes lopsided.

    so whatever you're comfortable with, stick with it.

    for me its hitting the ball as hard as i can behind the baseline, it has worked for me and my most successful tournament results have resulted from that type of play.
     
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  23. will3689

    will3689 New User

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    Thanks for all the replies. The consensus seems to be that in order to improve my game i need to go for my shots more and risk losing matches. This is what i am going to try and do from now on however i have said this before and then reverted back to pushing the ball in when i start losing. It depends how important the win is to me i guess. In my last match i was playing a guy who thought he was better than he was and i had to win. Sompe people i could handle losing to
     
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  24. radicaluser22

    radicaluser22 New User

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    I used to be a pusher. Mainly my nerves caused me to do this. During practice I can hit very hard and suddenly during games i revert to slice and just pushing balls back in.
    I think controlled aggression is the key. Are you able to hit well during practice?
    Don't try to slap every ball during a game, but definitely try hit winners when the opportunity opens up.
     
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  25. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I would look at it like this. It's a point by point basis. If you are in control of the point, be aggressive. If you are chasing, there is nothing wrong with playing the high percentage return until you can become the aggressor. Even against better players, you will get your chances to go for bigger shots. Just go for it when it comes up.
     
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  26. floridatennisdude

    floridatennisdude Hall of Fame

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    The two above posts are good advice
     
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  27. RogerFederer4life

    RogerFederer4life Banned

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    I can honestly tell you that pushing works at the beginner and intermediate levels but you are gonna get destroyed when you play against advanced opponents(5.0 and up), I'm a 4.0-4.5 tournament level player and I got to my semi the last two tournaments and lost to a pusher in both, and guess wat, in both tournaments the pusher went on to win
     
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  28. anantak2k

    anantak2k Semi-Pro

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    Absolutely agree with these 2 posts. Controlled aggression is the key. And don't keep losing matches to improve your strokes either. Because in tennis having confidence and mental strength is even more important than having the strokes. If you constantly lose while trying to improve, you may get better but won't win much even later on because you won't have much confidence.
    Anyway, just like the above posters mentioned, you have to know when to hit and know when to push. You mentioned that you usually only tend to push when you are getting outhit. I think that's okay. The problem is when you start pushing even when you have openings. If a ball is coming right near the baseline, at your feet, there is only so much you can do other than block the ball back. I think its stupider to try to attempt a haymaker off shots like that...
     
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  29. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I think the majority of the advice you are getting are missing a key point: stroke development is honed in practice, not during tournaments. I agree with the advice to shoot for the longterm goal of developed strokes... on the practice court. Tournaments are about winning, which is it's own skill, not to be underestimated in importance. In matchplay if you can win by standing on your head... stand on your head.
     
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  30. dizzlmcwizzl

    dizzlmcwizzl Hall of Fame

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    This ... the strokes and style you develop in practice are the ones that will lead long term success. If your practice approach differs from your match approach you will not advance very far.

    If you spend all of your time cultivating a pushing game and then play that way in matches you will enjoy lots of wins. However, practicing a serve and volley game and never using it in matches is a sure way to never improve.

    If you want beautiful, classic looking strokes then work on it in practice and stay with it in matches until you can make it work for you.
     
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  31. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Well, yes and no. Working on Plan A in practice and using it in matches is fine, everyone agrees. But when Plan A doesn't work in matchplay the ability to change to Plan B to win the match is a skill that not everyone has (even Pros). So if you can do it, do it.
     
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  32. North

    North Professional

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    Yes. Big difference between practice & tournament (or league) play where it's not necessarily purely recreational. For me, it takes longer to get as facile, with anything I work on, in matches than just practice. Until I am willing to take the risk of losing (sometimes quite badly) in match play I never really master the skill I'm working on. It's easy to shine in practice.

    The stuff I am best at on court is the stuff I initially (& repeatedly lol) bombed out on the worst but kept at it in practice AND matches - despite a lot of early losses.
     
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  33. spiderman123

    spiderman123 Professional

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    Not hitting winners does not mean you are pushing. Hitting safe shots consistently that get your opponent out of position to make a move to the net or force an error is a very good skill to acquire and will win you many matches.

    OP, If you are worried too much, play with a little less powerful racket and see how you fare. That will reduce your ability to block only and will force you to hit complete shots (need not be winners, those will come automatically, eventually).
     
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  34. sundaypunch

    sundaypunch Hall of Fame

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    I agree 100%. Hitting the ball hard and going for winners is a recipe for losing against certain opponents. Having a plan B is a good idea (just ask Maria Sharapova).
     
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