"Pusher" ... Playing This (Dreaded) Opponent

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by joe28601, Oct 19, 2005.

  1. David

    David New User

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    thanks a lot for your good advices guys.
    When I calm down and think more about my game, I totally agree with one of the above guys. That play with a "pusher" is not that bad. it will improve my ground strokes and volley, overhead and all the other skills in Tennis. Since they never go for winner. so I can try all the things I want. actually it is more like a play with myself. as long as I didn't do anything stupid, didn't make any errors. it will win sooner or later. so now, I am really looking forward to playing with that guy who beat me or the other pushers.
    the only reason that I can't beat a "pusher" is that I am not that good physically(not very consistently) and mentally(not patient), so I get mad and start to do something stupid.
     
  2. heftylefty

    heftylefty Hall of Fame

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    I could not agree with you more! I played a pusher resently and my game play plan was what you stated. It took me three sets to win, but I came back from being a set down to win. I am big hitter but I was not going to let him get a groove on my shots. I sliced; hit short; top spin drives; even moonballed him. Also I took advantage of my bigger serve and got to the net more often than usual.
     
  3. Gee Willikers Batman!

    Gee Willikers Batman! Professional

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    Pushers die out at higher levels. Get good, and you don't need to worry about it as much. You eventually learn to hit clean winners off of a high ball over your head. Those are now my favorite shots.
     
  4. Alafter

    Alafter Hall of Fame

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    Cant argue with that. However this discussion is probably mostly about players looking to utilize what skills they have at the moment to be able to beat the pusher now.
     
  5. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    during the US Open telecast, Tracy Austin referred to them as "junior" players :)
     
  6. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    This is a common myth. True you don't see true pushers at the higher levels, but that's just because those individuals also got better and added other aspects to their game and now they are called counterpunchers.
     
  7. PushyPushster

    PushyPushster Rookie

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    I don't want to get kicked out of the club for giving away secrets, but I think the folks who recommended bringing the pusher to the net are dead-on. It doesn't have to be a drop shot, just hit short. Your opponent will either have to sprint back to the baseline (very tiring) or defend the net. I hate the net.
     
  8. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    Pushers aren't good lobbers? Since when? True, they can't hit a "perfect lob" every time, (who can?), but they often can execute enough good lobs to win. In fact, if you are at the net against a pusher, be ready for the lob because they can't pass well.

    That's the idea! In a pusher match, whoever is at the net is at a disadvantage. Lob them! Ever see a pusher with a deadly smash?
     
  9. Ultra2HolyGrail

    Ultra2HolyGrail Hall of Fame

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    The worst thing you can do is try to play their game, just push, moonball with them. That's what they want.
     
  10. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Maybe maybe not. Not all players have the discipline(or fore thought for that matter) to anaylse their game and actually practise certain shots to get better. I see way more "pushers" still playing at the same level year after year. But they're are always exceptions.
     
  11. nickarnold2000

    nickarnold2000 Hall of Fame

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    Variety and consistency are huge. Esp in tourneys where everyone is nervous; u can always fall back on dependablity if other playing styles aren't working out that day. Well done that you evolved your game!
     
  12. harr

    harr Rookie

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    I tried that once against someone I'd class as a pusher. It went something like this (except I got passed a higher proportion of the time):

    Serve and Volley. Get passed. Serve and Volley. Volley winner. Serve and Volley. Get passed. Serve and Volley. Miss volley. Serve and Volley. Poor drop volley. Game.

    This was partly due to a weak serve and bad net play, but was also partly due to good passing shots and lobs. Pushers are defensive players, and in my experience, defensive players are good defensively. Some pushers will have poor passing shots, but the best ones won't and it should be obvious to volley against someone with bad passing shots and lobs anyway.

    To be fair, their passing shots aren't usually very powerful, but that doesn't matter much if they can place them well.
     
  13. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Everyone talks about the pushers they know who never advance, but noone talks about the (more common) low percentage, winner-hitter who never advances because they never can keep their UEs low enough to seriously compete.
     
  14. oest10

    oest10 Semi-Pro

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    I adore playing them though..

    I can (or at least i hope and think i can) play about any type of game, apart from my usual all court game. Whenever I play a pusher I usually try to draw them to the net, where they are least comfortable, and then give them a hard volley that gives me an easy passing shot. As many of them arent real good tactical tennis players, they (after a while) start to try to walk back to the baseline when i draw them to the net, and then you can take the ball early and make that winner. They'll see that nothing they try works and the errors will come and before you know it you've won.
     
  15. mental midget

    mental midget Professional

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  16. Captain Tezuka

    Captain Tezuka Rookie

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    So that means all you need is a nadal like topspin, a monster kick like federer, a pinpoint serve and volleys like sampras and sound groundstrokes like aggassi. :lol:

    Also I think that most people need to brush up their serving skills b4 attempting to completely crush a pusher b/c they will not like the varity in the serve: kick/twist, topspin, slice, topspin/slice not enough to be a kick, flat, flat/slice. Pace 30%, 40%-50%, 60%-70%, 80%-90% and 90%-100%.

    But I wnat to play a pusher for once I think i've never played one yet or maybe didn't know that I did. Also I'm a S&V so pushers BEWARE.
     
  17. Captain Tezuka

    Captain Tezuka Rookie

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    Also I forgot do a kick on your smash as in imitate the kick serve on the smash also sidespin is one of the less common spins utillise it. Therefore playing a blackboard increase everybodies Tennis arsenal and tactics ect. :lol:

    Have fun playing the next pusher you meet.
     
  18. Fay

    Fay Professional

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    One of the most difficult parts for me of playing the pusher is after playing a lot of men in practice who like to hit hard, I go to a tournament and many woman send back what I call "puff" shots, and if I am not careful, it is very easy for me to overhit. At the same time, I do not want to decrease my racquet speed, so I need to concentrate on more spin, better placement, and more variety of shots.
    A skill that I need to better develop is to be able to judge the speed of the ball better and adjust my spin and angles to deal with it.

    I agree with those who Serve and Volley as the pusher doesn't have enough pace to pass well BUT I agree most of them love to do those Moon Balls, .... if I hit another Moon Ball back to them, they just return another Moon Ball til someone misses, so I have been working on the Swing Volley and OH Smash with good pace and placement and staying back one step in preparation for those Moon Balls.

    At the end of this year I moved up one level via tournament play exclusively. My goal this year is to play more tournaments and try to be able to adjust to any type of player I encounter in 3.0 - 4.0 tournys.
     
  19. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Ha ha...
    I love that you guys generalize and say pushers this or pushers that.
    Serve volley? They slice low and low lob over your backhand side.
    Crush high bouncers? They don't care, they've seen it millions of times and just bide their time with soft deep slices until you start to charge, then they hard low slice.
    Draw them in? Hey, most pushers are the best runners of all, and they just angle short or down the line deep.
    Blast first serves into their forehand hips? Hey, they're not pushers for nothing. They can get it back.
    Really, it depends WHO the pusher is, and what level. At 28 years old, I got wasted by one pusher who was 62. TomBrown, ranked in the top 10 in the A's for the previous 5 years. At that time, NO 5.0 player could come close to getting 4 games off him.
     
  20. Fay

    Fay Professional

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    Any player who can do all of this is probably a good player, LOL
     
  21. Kaptain Karl

    Kaptain Karl Hall Of Fame

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    Fay is correct. You obviously don't know what a pusher is. You are not describing the abilities of a pusher.

    - KK
     
  22. lawlaw

    lawlaw Rookie

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    -Serve & volley, close the court down and force them to do the thing they hate most (going for a decisive shot)
    -Move not only side to side but forwards and backwards. Hitting out of a comfortable position is not fun for anyone, pushers included.

    Most importantly, be comfortable with your own game and enjoy the challenge of playing someone that MAKES you earn the win.
     
  23. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

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    My friend is sort of a pusher, (Chop Shoter, loves the slice off both sides)quite good at it too. However I beat him everytime we play by using heavy topspin. Id say my style is Spin Doctor, in rallies it is tough for him to out last me because even as consistent as his slice is, my topspin is more consistent and more aggressive so I end up wearing him out and pushing him around the court, not giving him shots to jump on, and also giving him some of my mean slices to deal with. Our styles make for long points many times. Last night we played a crazy long point, 30 shots or so, he won that point but I won 10 of the last 11 that followed and the match :).
     
  24. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

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    Yes he is. Sounds like the abilities of just about every pusher Ive ever played. How then would you describe a pusher?
     
  25. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

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    Based on your advice I can definetly see why you lose to the pusher so much. You should try to attack the net occasionally, but not as much as you can, pushers love the lob and its usually one of their best shots, if not their best shot, so if you come in, it better be off a good approach shot, like a low slice that they will have trouble getting under and lobbing you with. Most importantly, play your style of tennis, but be patient. Dont try to do things you arent comfortable with, try and use deep topspin shots often, as these imo are the most effective shots to counter the deep floating slices of the pusher. And move the ball around the court, change direction, pace and spins to keep the pusher off balance, when they cough up a short ball, attack it. Then he'll be the one making the unforced errors.

    Now I love playing pushers, as i feel my game is just a nightmare for them. Im ridiculously fast, consistent, and more aggressive than they are, spells trouble for pushers!
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  26. rabidranger

    rabidranger Rookie

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    That's a great article and great website. Thanks for posting.
     
  27. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Fourth definition (for some people) - 'pusher' is someone who can keep a rally going for more than 25 hits :shock:

    [​IMG]
     
  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    To some, beutiful and compelling.
    To others, BORING!
     
  29. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    for some vanilla is there favorite flavor. for others its chocolate.
     
  30. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I like vanilla, chocolate, and lemon chiffon...
    But it's the variety we CAN play that makes tennis exciting and fresh.
    100% baseline slugging gets old quickly.
    100% S/V, chip and charge gets old just as quickly.
    Why not learn every shot, then you can choose when to employ which?
    Steffi Graff had one of the best one handed TOPSPIN backhands ever, but chose to not play it during later rounds in matches.
     
  31. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    ^^^^you really need to stop killing threads by talking about all these fantasy super pushers. I get what your saying but the OP wants some tactics to deal with a dinker not some manifesto about how Nadal actually is a pusher..

    Pete
     
  32. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    If you hit hard enough..you might be able to hit so hard..the pusher will find it hard to control your shot..:)

    But realistically, moving into net is a simple option..be it s & v or approach whenever you get a short ball, or charge in after hitting a moonball..try to drop and lob them too maybe?
     
  33. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i think hard hitting only works if the one doing it is a consistent player. in my experience, the pusher loves to see hard balls because he figures that sooner or later his opponent will hit the ball out.

    people who can hit the ball hard and are consistent don't have a problem playing against pushers, only the ones who hit the ball hard and are inconsistent do.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2009
  34. cl76

    cl76 Rookie

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    Why is the "pusher" so "dreaded" in the first place?

    Sounds like people have an issue with losing to a pusher. In which case, they need to ditch their egos and realise they've been outplayed and learn from the experience (rather than cry foul).
     
  35. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I dread pushers because they always play a tough game, and only my very best game can beat them. Artist that I am, my best game only comes thru occassionally, to be followed by flops and roadkills.
    That's why I dread pushers. They are always tough, good day or bad day, they make it tough to beat them.
     
  36. cl76

    cl76 Rookie

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    I don't dread that which will challenge me and improve my game. If this "pusher" pushes me to the edge and over he has done me a great service. He should be thanked and respected for helping me improve.
     
  37. Blake0

    Blake0 Hall of Fame

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    True, but if you can hit hard enough, the pusher will be thinkin "how the....do you control this!?" Ofcourse on a consistent basis..or the pusher will be praying it never goes in :).
     
  38. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Professional

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    whenever i hear someone call another person a "pusher", it translates in my head as "i'm fat, lazy and/or out of shape, and i can't hang with this SOB that gets every f'ing ball back"

    yeah, i used to be that person (fat, lazy and out of shape!) and used the term "pusher" all the time... i had one or two good shots, that worked to beat other bangers (you know, folks that try to hit a hard ball back harder), but against a pusher aka. the wall, it didn't work... because they can handle pace, move well, and are willing to stay in a rally for 25+ shots. oh yeah, and they actually worked on their fitness off the court.

    these days i still get beat by "pushers", but at least i'm now in better shape, willing to stay in long rallies, and work for every point... and can beat a few more pushers than i was able to a few years ago.

    i can definitely think of a few folks i "should" beat if you watched our warmup (eg. i hit harder), but when it comes down to match time, it's not even close (me losing!).
     
  39. athiker

    athiker Hall of Fame

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    That fits the bill for my match last night! :lol: ...though I'm not exactly fat and lazy...I realized early that I was not in the same shape my opponent was...kudos to him. I had to resort to S&V on almost all my serves and low slice approaches off his 2nd serves. I also had success with wrongfooting him.

    I like Watchman's pusher definitions early in this thread as well...especially the last one!

     
  40. fullpolyserve&volley

    fullpolyserve&volley New User

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    I have no qualms about someone who's fast and plays to the best of their ability. If they're not a big ball striker, tough cookies. But the ones that annoy me are the ones that are capable of a terrific level and fun match. They try to beat you with their "A" game and decide to give up on that and start pushing halfway through the match. And then you spend the rest of the match bending over to scoop up their short low serves and all the rest that follows playing a pusher. One thing people haven't noted enough is, you may well get into a long rally with a pusher but they're masters at drawing you in. Not a quite a drop shot but you've gotta get ready to bend over sooner or later to dig one out. And that's what annoys me about the modern tennis balls. This never used to happen. When someone back in late 90's, early 2000's pushed a ball back, it would sit up and get destroyed by the other guy. These days they just sink to the ground like stones in a pond and it rewards short and mishit balls.... It's very hard to hit through a soft shot. Weird game now.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2014
  41. fullpolyserve&volley

    fullpolyserve&volley New User

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    Agreed. Nadal is probably the most brutal striker of the ball ever. He's not a pusher. It's just the spin he gets is enough to force errors off the other guy easily so they have to hold back to keep it in the court. He wins a lot simply by keeping people away from their natural game. And then of course his amazing movement and athleticism.
     
  42. Bendex

    Bendex Professional

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    Wow, old thread. Interesting to see they were having to deal with pushers back in the olden days.

    But anyway, the modern consensus is... learn how to play within the court, taking balls out of the air when possible.
     
  43. DanFuller

    DanFuller Rookie

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    Just beat a pusher 6&6. It was the most horrendous experience ever. Just played him at his own game chipping it to each other. 30 shot rally's ha.
     
  44. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    Congratulations, you are now a pusher. Your certificate is in the mail.
     
  45. Draje

    Draje New User

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    I'll typically push for my first game or two to see the type of opponent I'm playing. If they can't take it off the bounce or struggle to generate pace then I'll just play defensive as they self-destruct but I'll typically throw in a couple of winning volleys or some winning approach shots of they try to get cute and push back.

    If they can create their own pace, take it off the bounce, and have a decent volley game then I'll play my more all-around and aggressive game. Catches people off guard when I switch to my better racket and start cracking a serve then approach the net or crack an angled inside out forehand.
     
  46. Moveforwardalways

    Moveforwardalways Semi-Pro

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    What is the difference between a pusher and a counter-puncher? It seems like these are similar strategies on a continuum. Why is "counter-puncher" a respectable strategy but "pusher" is not?
     
  47. LakeSnake

    LakeSnake Semi-Pro

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    Anyone who doesn't take any risks and just waits for the opponent to mess up is, as you say, on the "continuum". A pusher is probably the least respected because he doesn't even bother to learn how to hit the ball, just dinks everything back. It's aesthetically repulsive. There is almost a feeling of disrespect when he competes against someone who has invested time into developing his strokes. He's saying "Look, you've spent years learning how to play, and I can beat you even though I've never practiced a day in my life." That being said, a ball-basher who sprays every other ball disfigures the game as least as much.
     
  48. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    Strategy differences:

    the counter-puncher thinks about how to win the point with his skills set.

    the pusher pushes the ball back one more time and hopes his opponent would donate the point.
     
  49. sez

    sez Rookie

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    I notice I start pushing on big points, I almost never win a match with a winner. What does it take to change your mindset to hit freely when you are up 7-6 in a tiebreak or down 6-7 in a tiebreak.
     
  50. Moveforwardalways

    Moveforwardalways Semi-Pro

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    Wait. How is that a strategy difference?
     

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