Moonballers are out - Short, Low pushers are in...

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by mikeespinmusic, Feb 7, 2013.

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  5. I'm a constant short/low pusher that thinks I'm Federer and takes offence to this post

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  1. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Can anyone offer some advice - I'd love to hear some thoughts on this...

    In the div 3 (Australia) level in my area, there's only one type of player I dread more than a moonballer:

    The Short and Low pusher. The constant grind of digging up short junk eventually wears even the fittest players down.

    These aren't kids or little elderly women taking up tennis - they are fully grown men determine to win as ugly as possible...they don't skimp on racquets or gear either - they usually have fairly good and expensive stuff, some do coaching and look like they have amazing form during the sessions and yet they choose to play like this ....

    Warming up with these players can sometimes feel insulting because they warm up and hit properly to you with good topspin and then when its game time - they start their "strategy"


    And I'm not talking drop shots...they're not good enough to do them - they don't need to. I hardly ever get a ball near the baseline or above my knee in a rally and I'm only 5 ft 9!.... so yeah, lots of knee bending...


    These methods are more effective then a well placed serve or a forehand winner. Especially when the balls start to die. There's nothing more annoying then hitting a bang on serve only to see it get swatted down because the player is taking advantage of the ball death...

    I've got a couple of friends in Division 1 that once filled in for 2 and 3 and they said "never again" because both of them lost because of how these grades play...

    These matches use Wilson Australian Open balls with extra durability felt on slow synthetic grass courts. We don't get new balls each match, they just stay on the court and the players rotate round.


    And these players are getting more common. I want to break into the higher divisions because those guys play proper shots and it allows me to as well.
    But stats against these div 3 players have created a barrier that I'm struggling to break.

    Technically as a player I'm baseline spinner style that revolves around an effective service game. But these games I just spend my time being a psuedo serve and volley player because the only reason I have to come to the net is to dig out short and low junk. Its very hard to perform an approach shot on a ball thats around shin height..all of the time...and its especially hard to hit a good ball with decent topspin only to repeat the process of digging the opponent's short low push...

    They (the club committee) want me to win a lot more matches and collect a certain amount of points before I'm allowed to move up -- I just want to strangle them and say "come watch what I have to deal with"



    arrrgh!!!!
     
    #1
  2. ollinger

    ollinger Legend

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    You might need a good sports psychologist. If it is "insulting" that someone feeds you the type of ball you're used to while warming up, you have issues and don't realize that you're being shown courtesy there. And blaming players you have trouble with because they don't hit what you consider PROPER shots (anything in the rule book about what sort of shot to hit??) is just childish.
     
    #2
  3. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    I dont know about the shrink. Bu you have to obviously figure out what each one of these guys has trouble dealing with. They have figured out you dont like this style of play and thats what they are doing.

    You need to digure how to beat these players like they have obviously figured out a way to beat you. If they have what you consider "proper" form while warming up then they choose the style of play because it gives them the best chance of winning.

    Around here there are plaenty of players that hit like that. mostly all of them were embers of a racketball facility that clsoed down. So they hit shots very flat and not very deep. Although these guys cant handle top spin well especially the deep top spin. So i give them deep slower paced topsin shot and eventually they will float one I can run around and take control of the point. Good kick serves also work very well at getting flaoting shots. I have more sucess hitting kickers for 1st and 2ds than I do with hitting a flat serves which they are more accustomed to from racketball.

    I have a 4.5-5.0 level forehand. But only like a 3.0 level backhand. I can expect the opponent to hit to my BH 90% of the time. I have to figure out a way to get balls i can either run around or get a better backhand.
     
    #3
  4. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You are not good enough yet to move up. I have hit with a lot of junkballers. It takes a long time to learn how to attack them, but once you get it going, you will beat them.

    The secret is to keep the moving side to side. trying to push a guy back who is chop blocking your shots feeds into his game. you need to have great directional control with your shots.
     
    #4
  5. McLovin

    McLovin Hall of Fame

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    Yes, and I'm certain most professionals felt it 'insulting' when Federer did the same thing to them:
    1. Get into rally
    2. Hit short, low slicing backhand crosscourt
    3. Opponent floats back easy ball
    4. Step in and crush a forehand winner
    Appalling...
     
    #5
  6. mikeler

    mikeler G.O.A.T.

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    Monfils actually said in an interview that play from Federer was a real pain in the ***.
     
    #6
  7. Tafmatch

    Tafmatch Rookie

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    This sounds too much like you want to 'move up where they respect my raises' in poker.
    You're probably very frustrated and that doesn't help. Stay patient, don't make too many UE's and wait for your chances. Try to win even uglier. :)
     
    #7
  8. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    it's a rite of passage when you can handle these types of players.

    either by doing what they are doing but better (long drawn out points).

    or rolling topspin shots forehand side and then backhand side and over and over again until they are tired of running (requires good control and patience and consistency).

    or come to net and finish points quickly (requires good volleys and overheads).

    what's scary is that there a pushers out there who can junk it up and play retriever all day long AND then crush winners and volley and hit overheads if you give them a short ball.
     
    #8
  9. hollywood9826

    hollywood9826 Semi-Pro

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    And then they laugh in your face the whole time as well.

    Very frustrating.
     
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  10. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    You nailed it. As for your last paragraph, I play a guy on that level and he is one of the best tennis mentors I have ever had.
     
    #10
  11. tennismonkey

    tennismonkey Semi-Pro

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    i don't like the ones who laugh or mock you when they play either. those guys need their faces punched in.

    i also don't like crafty old guys who have been playing tennis longer than you have been on the planet.

    [​IMG]
     
    #11
  12. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    LOL..sounds like the guy I play with. He does all of those things, but he is such a cool dude, and a good player, it doesnt bother me. He basically taught me how to beat him and as a result, I became a better player. Takes a lot of time, fitness and hitting.

    People think they are better than they are in tennis. that is the main problem. You have to go out there not caring about those things to truly play loose.
     
    #12
  13. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    two additional strategies that might help:

    1 - bring them to the net by hitting a drop shot, a short angled ball low ball or approach off of slice. this will make their shots deeper in your court.

    2 - mix up your shots in terms of topspin, flat and slice shots and also mix up your placement. You're too predictable so they can slice you easily, if they have to adjust their stroke or run to a ball it makes it more difficult for them to slice and their ball might float a bit more. You will have to be able to deal with coming in to finish points rather than sitting back and grinding from the baseline.
     
    #13
  14. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    I'm sure it's exacerbated by playing on synthetic grass.

    I lost to one of these guys last night in my club match. I begrudge him nothing, he was simply a better player then me last night. In our last encounter, he bowed out after losing the 2nd set due to a calf injury. I felt firmly in control of that one after finally getting my forehand groved and my first serve was going in.

    But last night, he was so adept at getting the ball low to my backhand, that I could just never get my inside out forehand grooving. So, even when I managed to run around the shot, I was making way too many errors on my forehand because I felt pressured to do damage on that side.

    The entire night, he simply hit low slice to my backhand, and charged the net. My lobs and passing shots just weren't working on my backhand. If it was warm out, I'd be taking my ball machine out at 5am and drilling those low shots for an hour straight.

    That's tennis.
     
    #14
  15. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    To the OP: what do you do when you play your typical Baseline Basher friends, who feed you easy-to-hit shots all day long, and when you crush one of their shots in your wheelhouse and all they can manage off of your great shot is a low dribbler near the service line?
     
    #15
  16. dominikk1985

    dominikk1985 Legend

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    what happens if you charge the net behind a deep slice into his BH against that player?
     
    #16
  17. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    Well, at the very least they offer you something to get your rhythm going... if they were pushing during warm-ups, that would be a total lack of class and sportsmanship, but they do bother about you grooving your strokes and getting ready. Be thankful for that part.

    I do understand your frustration and, unlike many people, I won't be insulting. You love your sport and probably play for the sensations you get on the court which basically makes pushing a very bothersome context since it deprives you of your main enjoyment. However, there are solutions to this problem and we can work on fixing these issues.

    First things first, your overall approach to the game is not appropriate: your basic game plan is so field-specific that pretty much anyone with a decent slice can throw off your entire scheme. I am certain that you rally with division 2 and perhaps even division 1 players without the slightest issue, so long as we're talking coast-to-coast tennis. Many of the players you face see you hitting when you warm-up and if they're just half as good as you pretend, they're good enough to spot your preferences and tendencies: you love to hit spin, you love to take and smack high balls... but you hate your net game and it's a very rough approximation of what you could normally do.

    What do you think they quickly get? As they hit in the first few minutes, they'll try lower balls, softer strokes or angles to see where is your major flaw and it happens that moving forward is your nightmare. Without effort, a good player would slice, move you around and expel some energy only to end the point. If you want to avoid this situation from occurring all the time, you need to learn how to play a good transition game and how to use certain strokes to force them into YOUR game instead of being forced into something that you don't like.

    The first thing you want to bother about is actually practicing a controlled aggression on lower balls: you need to be able to be offensive more easily and more safely with lower balls that are within the court. Secondly, you might like to be strategic in your ball placement: it's not always a necessity to hit a perfect shot that is excessively powerful to win the point. Sometimes, just a softer, well placed ball at an angle would throw your opponent off the court.

    Finally, once you're good with low balls, you need to understand how to make it difficult for your opponent to keep the balls low. It's really hard to hit good slices when moving or on pretty high balls and it's also harder to do it on the forehand side (typically). The easiest way to manage to bring the whole rally higher is to length your court by hitting cross-court and to rely on spin to bring the ball higher off the bounce... And since it's a pusher, you can afford to hit a softer shot to his forehand: even if it floats a bit, that it has way too much spin for its pace and that it lands short, chances are, a guy who spends the match pushing won't kill too many high balls. You risk to finally get the ball you want to play your game.


    Amateurs who have troubles with pushers typically lack this ability to use a controlled aggression. Either out poor strategic choices or a lack of practice regarding in-court tennis. Regardless, you need this controlled aggression to beat pushers without beating yourself and this accurate and nuance type of response is found in experienced and advanced players.

    Use pushers as a way to improve and re-write yourself into a division 2 or division 1 player instead of just complaining about it and not solving the problem. Accommodation is one way to evolve intellectually: tackle the challenge when you are lucky enough to face one.
     
    #17
  18. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    adjust your court position, cover the short balls;
    use slice against low slice, topspin is over rated in such situation; play the low game, junk it back even lower and shorter, draw them up and you put the volleys away.

    you need some basic volley skills.... otherwise they are just better than you.
     
    #18
  19. Govnor

    Govnor Professional

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    I agree with this. When you start working people over and having them run side to side they will A) lose the will to stay in long points and B) get very tired as the match progresses.

    Both will lead them to have to change their strategy.
     
    #19
  20. Spin-A-Lot

    Spin-A-Lot Rookie

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    Hit the nail right on the head ;) A lot of people forget the mental aspect of the game. If you're frustrated or stressed, your tense up. If you're tense, you body stiffens up..If you stiffen up then you can't move or swing freely, ergo your strokes changes...
     
    #20
  21. 10isfreak

    10isfreak Semi-Pro

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    That's the right attitude.

    People often identify their strategy as lacking when facing pushers. But seeing amateurs drill at the baseline, you often get the hint that they've got very average in-court game. Hitting lows balls, bending the knees and moving forward are things they rarely do and, as such, they also rarely pull them off correctly.

    However, you'd do something different: facing the problem, head first. By sweating to adapt your strokes to different situations, you make yourself a better player. An important side-effect of this is that your standard, ideal position, stroke will be improved indirectly because you've bother practicing hitting those pesky low balls or those super-high loopers... in the end, your movement is more precise and you can hit more reliably under all circumstances.

    Grooving identical strokes in identical situations is the best way to live the developmental roller-coaster: going from good to bad to good to bad. As you practice something, you lean it; as you keep practicing what you learnt, you perfect it; as you still do the same exercise, you experience a degradation of your skills; and, finally, you get back near to where you started and you have to climb back.

    To avoid that, you just need to make sure practice is always hard: as you get better, ask more of yourself and, as I see, you already do it and that's a good sign.
     
    #21
  22. tennisdad65

    tennisdad65 Hall of Fame

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    If the guy can hit the ball low to you consistently, he is likely far more skillful than you will ever become. Fed does the low and short all the time, especially against the tall guys.
     
    #22
  23. dman72

    dman72 Hall of Fame

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    That's a great point.

    Going back a few years I went through a similar situation with another guy I was hitting with on weekends. He was frustrating me to no end with the low slice to backhand junk. I took out the ball machine, worked on low backhands for a few hundred balls, and beat him soundly two times afterwards..now he doesn't call me to play. :oops:

    But then, since you no longer aren't playing that type of player, you tend to lose what you've learned, so now I feel like like I'm almost back to square 1 with this new guy. He's probably the guy standing in my way from winning the league..I just hope I get a chance to play him again and redeem myself. Most of the guys in my league hit flat and hard.

    The worst thing you can do is dismiss the guys game..because there are many more of him down the line, best learn how to counter that kind of game now.

    I know the main thing I was doing wrong last night...looking up before completing my shot. You can't worry about where he is, you have to pick a stroke and a spot on the court and just hit it...I found myself jerking my head up to look at him at the net. Terrible habit.
     
    #23
  24. North

    North Professional

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    Lots of advice on things to do strategically. If you can't beat junkballers, just play them even more, trying out different strategies/play patterns until you can beat them.

    The first player we all hate playing at lower levels is the classic pusher.The only way past them into higher levels of play is right through them, by playing them a lot till you can beat them handily. The next challenge are the really good junkballers. Same thing, though. Seek them out, play them a lot till you find ways to just dismiss them and move on.

    If it ticks you off (or is even just mildly annoying) to have to play people like this, just think of them as tools available for you to become a better player.
     
    #24
  25. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    OP: You don't stand a chance because it's 2 v 1. You versus the opponent and your bad attitude.

    Sort that out and if you're better you'll win, if you're worse you'll still lose but you'll be clearer about what you have to work on.

    At the moment you don't really have a clue because your attitude prevents clarity.
     
    #25
  26. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I think attitude change is the biggest thing. The way I think of it is that if he beat me somehow then he is better at something than I am. It is my job (if I want to get better) to find out what it is and work on it. Either that or find a way to minimize my weakness and exploit his.

    I would never say that they are so bad they beat me. That just doesn't make sense to me.

    Also if I do see someone that starts to loose his composure (and can't feed off of the emotion) then I will DEFINITELY feed them garbage all day as long as I win more points than he does in a match.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2013
    #26
  27. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    try half volleying the slice to your backhand or taking it on the rise if you can (it seems like you can't though). if that doesn't work, use a deep slice and approach behind it.
     
    #27
  28. luvforty

    luvforty Banned

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    being frank here -

    OP's thinking is a fallacy - you can NOT bypass junkballers and hope to compete in a higher level.

    because the higher level players all can do junk balls, even better!

    the reason they don't is that it doesn't work at their level any more, or to a less degree.
     
    #28
  29. chunlimeyers

    chunlimeyers Rookie

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    I have probably wrote about this too many times, but still somehow enjoy helping as my strategy against these players gets more solid. And, everyone else above my post, was right, but I like to keep it simple, from trial and error, i found the easiest way to keep them from doing what they want to do to you.
    1)instead of serve hard/flat, serve the highest kick serve or spin serve you can manage... why?.. well, that makes it nearly impossible for their returns to stay as low.. they can still get them short, but the ball will stay higher, maybe 5 inches or more, enough to blast a hard approach shot at them to their backhand.
    2)On that plane, instead of hitting hard, try to hit heavy, heavy topspin or even moonballs(but they will probably moonball back), so keep to heavy topspin to their backhand side.. why? well, a high backhand is tough to backspin low and bounce low, even if they try, it tends to sit up, and thus give u more margin(and time) to blast that approach to their backhand and prepare for a lob(their favorite "passing shot")
    3)Work 9 months like i did to get this forceful approach shot so you can make 8 out of 10, instead of 2 out of 10.(the pusher wins because u practice with your buddy for MONTHS from the baseline, but barely at all, if ever, on your non-existent approach shot(this is why U are at the level that you are at, believe it) the approach shot is much lower percentage play because the length of the court shrinks greatly, and thus your precision has to be better, so to not miss this shot(and the pusher knows this and feeds on these statistics) Also, the pusher knows or believes at this level he cannot effectively be attacked because instead of you being able to hit 80mph from the baseline, his lower/shorter ball, IF u keep it in, now you are hitting at his level, bunting the ball at 40mph.. well, he can cover THAT, all day!
    4)Play in the backcourt at the baseline, and think that the pushers winner isn't a ball hit past you, but a short, shallow ball, and try to anticipate it off his racket and learn to POUNCE on these balls, instead of react late to them... then, it will almost, almost, be, "fun?"..
    5)Almost forgot, returns.. pushers have thick rackets and their game is blocking things back.. so, you have two options.. a)hit your heaviest topspin shot(you might not get a ball this high all point), to their backhand, or, really, any spot deep and in play, or b)and, don't rely on "b" expecially if the errors start cropping up, BLAST that first ball DOWN THE LINE FOR EITHER A WINNER OR AT LEAST TAKE AWAY HIS TIME!.. now, b is way harder than it looks on paper, and i have seen pushers even serve purposely with a BACKSPIN SERVE to keep it low and force their play from the get go!.. So, react and adjust accordingly.
    The only thing that i don't agree with is to try to be them, to try to "wear them down".. because their mindset is BUILT for that.. they know they can be more boring than u, ALL DAY LONG, and are usually very fast little buggers. So, I go for the direct approach. If I lose, well, it is down to stats for me, too.. i missed 7 out of 10 approach shots, and framed 3 overheads.. If i win, I made thos 7 out of 10 approach shots and only framed 1 overhead.
    Oh, and, if he sees u can handle the overhead, hit his pathetic short crap for hard approach shots and then volley it away.. U may chase him out of his foxhole, and he will get angry and try to play what everyone sees on tv, what i like to call "real tennis" going for lines, trying to win.. haha.. Then, you have made a hard day turn into an easy one. Good luck with the practice.
     
    #29
  30. bhupaes

    bhupaes Professional

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    ^^^ You've described my strategy almost exactly, except I would say one needs to get into somewhat of a pusher mentality also, in the sense that one has to choose safe shots at all times, unless the ball is a cream puff sitter inside the service line.

    With hard, flat shots, the pusher, with his 6-inch stroke, can use the pace you give him to block the ball back to where you don't like it. Flat shots are easy to redirect. But one has to stroke heavily spun balls to place them, and pushers are bad at that. Spinny shots always have some uncertainty about them - how high they'll bounce, how much they will break to one side, and of course the amount of spin that needs to be countered - so the pusher will not be able to bunt the ball back precisely.

    Good post!
     
    #30
  31. hawk eye

    hawk eye Hall of Fame

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    One simple solution to this. Move a couple of inches/yards (as much as you need to) inside the baseline and punish the junk. Not neccesarily hit a direct winner, but hit at least offensive shot. Those kind of low bouncing short balls are ideal to attack if you're in the right position. And of course be prepared to move back if they start to hit deeper balls. But it's hard for them to come out of their groove, so with standing a little forward as your ready postion you're probably be fine.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
    #31
  32. Dimcorner

    Dimcorner Professional

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    I actually feel ok playing pushers because I actually have a decent overhead and volley compared to my crappy forehand! I find it MUCH easier to beat these type of players than ones that can actually hit decent balls. I get much more time to get to the net with the slow pushers :) Last time I played on I crushed about 4 overheads before he changed his tactic and tried to play "real tennis". Didn't work either since he was just sending them out at that point. Sure he would get some passing shots at me that were nice but I just let that slide and kept the pressure up.
     
    #32
  33. Anaconda

    Anaconda Hall of Fame

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    I'm surprised he's moaning; Tennis should be a challenge and it's the challenge which is enjoyable.


    OP, when facing these unfair players who aren't playing to your liking i.e defensive players, improve your net game. That's normally the key thing against junk ballers or defensive minded players.
     
    #33
  34. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    Fair call

    Slices are actually quite rare among these players...The first 50 short junk balls to dig out are always the easiest to apply proper theories... I'll take note from everything from most constructive feedbacks. I made the 4th round for a recent AMT (Australian Money) tounrnament (similar to USA Challenger matches) against Australian Ranked players. so I don't feel like my training and standard of play is the issue. Since posting this I've switched to using a depolarized setup and have had more success. It allows for a good flat penetrating counter against this and it forces them to pop it up for a good chance at an over head or a big forehand.

    And the club is phasing out these balls, because it turns out I wasn't the only person that was annoyed about this. The club was losing money, nobody new wanted to join those div 2 and 3 ranks. It was a combination of slow carpet, that brand of ball and that was encouraging cheap play. The club is switching to a faster slazenger ball thank god!
     
    #34
  35. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Unless you have played on synthetic grass you have no idea how effective or unplayable slices are on that surface. It is absolutely terrible. They bounce at ankle height and sometimes they'll just roll along the ground.

    I can only recommend going to the net. Hit a slice approach. There's a very good reason baseliners couldn't win Wimbledon on the fast grass. Why do you think Laver and McEnroe had continental grips for their groundstrokes? Because slices on surfaces like that are just unplayable without them.

    There is also a reason Santoro won the HOF championship on that lightning fast incredibly low bouncing surface so many times.
     
    Last edited: Feb 8, 2013
    #35
  36. mikeespinmusic

    mikeespinmusic Rookie

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    I agree totally. Its exploiting the surface and ball brand. The club's losing players and money. And they're changing to a bouncier and faster ball.

    Some people were saying that fed does it a lot, I don't think fed is that dirty - its just his topspin thats pulling it down giving that illusion...
     
    #36
  37. Moz

    Moz Hall of Fame

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    One of the huge failures of the LTA in the UK was the financial support they offered to clubs who built artificial grass courts. Absolute insanity, the stuff is awful.
     
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  38. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    Reading the OP, I first thought it was from a rec player complaining about pushers.

    But apparently he is playing the equivalent of U.S. 5.0+ level in Australia, which is surprising because I thought the pushing players are not found at that high level...
     
    #38
  39. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    Yeah he actually said he's a professional player, making the 4th round of a "Challenger" level match in Australia. I think he may be exaggerating his level a bit. I have a hard time imagining Robert Kendrick or Ryan Sweeting complaining about pushers.
     
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  40. North

    North Professional

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    It sounded like the OP was describing a junkballer & those can do OK at fairly high levels of play. Santoro frustrated Safin with crazy spins, short balls, drop shots, etc; it drove Safin crazy.

    I can't think of any current players who make a career of junkballs, but there are certainly players who use strategic junkballing in matches. It's not playing dirty, it just takes advantage of a common weakness in a lot of hard-hitting ball bashers by messing with rhythm & timing.
     
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  41. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    He also said his club is pressuring him to beat these players and "move up a level". That doesn't add up with claims of playing Challenger level events and winning several rounds.

    I think it's just another case of someone very young thinking he's much better than he is, and then getting frustrated when someone exposes him.

    OP, I think the key for you is just to keep working hard to improve, and as you do (or if you do) you won't be bothered as much by pushers. It's important to come to grips with your real skill level to identify weakness though. Everyone has to start somewhere; and everyone has to deal with pushers on their way to improving.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
    #41
  42. Raul_SJ

    Raul_SJ Professional

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    How did you practice returning the low slice to your backhand? Slice it back?

    I am using a one hand backhand and hitting mostly topspin. Haven't really developed a slice yet.
     
    #42
  43. Power Player

    Power Player Talk Tennis Guru

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    Yes you need a slice. It is a very very good shot to have in the arsenal.
     
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  44. BeHappy

    BeHappy Hall of Fame

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    Santoro was a pusher and took sets off Federer and Sampras, beat Djoker when Djoker was world no. 1 and was 11-0 against Safin. McEnroe pushed and junkballed from the baseline. Canas beat Federer twice in a few weeks pushing.

    Pushing works, it's effective right at the very top and if you think you'll reach a level where you won't be beaten by pushers you're deluding yourself.

    On synthetic grass it is impossible to hit offensive or even consistent topspin groundstrokes against slices. The ball just rolls along the ground and bounces at ankle height. There's a reason Santoro won Newport so many times. There's a reason continental grip forehands used to rule the day at Wimbledon and McEnroe won 3 Wimbledons.


    Do you play on synthetic grass?
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2013
    #44
  45. rkelley

    rkelley Hall of Fame

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    I'm sooo confused . . .

    I'm having trouble figuring out what the OP's level is. I googled Australian division 3 and can't find info on it.

    Regardless the answer is the same based on what I think is being said: approach on those short balls. Depending on your style and the level you can hit the approach more or less aggressively and/or win at the net. You don't have to always approach deep either - use the whole court. Rip some, slice others, approach deep and short, and even approach cc if the opponent automatically covers the dtl approach.

    Of course you have to be able to hit approaches, slices, volleys, and overheads. Aren't short balls what we work for in a rally?

    Maybe I'm missing something.
     
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  46. Venetian

    Venetian Professional

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    Yeah I grew up playing on synthetic grass. The forehand slice was a nice shot to employ because it stayed so low. I get that. I'm just saying the OP needs to come to grips with his real level of play to identify the areas in which he needs to improve. I don't think he's a Challenger level player. I think he's someone new to the game that just needs to focus on playing as much tennis as he can, and he will pretty quickly improve enough that pushers won't be a major issue for him.

    But yeah, the rest of the advice being given is good. It's just that if he's really new to the game, he may not even have those shots to employ yet.
     
    #46
  47. marosmith

    marosmith Professional

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    Well everyone loves to get on their high horse when they are on the Internet discussing pushers.

    I define a pusher as someone who does not hit actual ground strokes- not as someone who hits variety, such as federer or santoro.

    Watch the pros, when one miss hits a ball but it makes it back into play (usually a framed ball that falls short) 70% of the time the pro returns the shot with another miss hit. There is a reason for that. Very few players actually practice miss hit balls. Now the gray area is a pusher who is purposely repeatedly hitting a certain type of ball which appears to be what you are describing.

    The only way I can think of fixing that is stop playing with your buddies that actually want to be good tennis players, and who hit real ground strokes, and practice with these degenerate pushers.

    Yes, tennis won't be fun anymore, but if competitive tennis is your goal and you need to beat these people I think you have to practice against them. Hitting with real tennis players won't help, nor will hitting with a ball machine because the machine doesn't have a miss hit / junk ball mode.

    The only area where I agree with the geniuses in this thread is that an all court game is a necessity and can be improved by playing fake tennis against these disturbed individuals.

    For me I play tennis to enjoy it and to get better at ground strokes, so this is how I avoid the problem. But I'm too old to be concerned about competitive tennis at the level you are at.
     
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  48. Relinquis

    Relinquis Hall of Fame

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    Drop feeding during practice sessions can help you deal with pace-less balls.
     
    #48
  49. Avles

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    I don't really think that's true. When ball clips the net cord and loses its pace, pros don't usually panic and mishit it--they usually calmly adjust and attack it (assuming they can get to it).

    Likewise, a mediocre drop shot usually results in an instant loss of the point at the pro level.

    And, when a pro has to scramble and squash-shot a ball just to keep it in play and can't get any pace on the shot, the most common reply from the opponent is a punishing groundstroke, not an error. At least, that's what I see.

    So I don't really see the pros having significant trouble with "push" strokes the way you seem to be describing them.
     
    #49
  50. wanda

    wanda New User

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    Best way to deal with short junk is to expect a long match. Practice taking the ball as early as you can and hit it as deep into the corners as you can. if you can take the ball in the air even better but dont try to hit too big or go for a winner too soon. These players are expecting you to struggle, get frustrated and make an unforced error. Work the point until you have a good opportunity to hit a shot you can put away.

    I used to play quite regularly with this type of player and he always hit junk to my backhand. I'd try everything from running round it, trying to hit a winner, to stepping in and going for drive volleys. My backhand got much better. I've just stopped playing with him though now cos it just wasn't fun! :)
     
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