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

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

  1. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    counter puncher would construct the point. He would move the ball around and look for an opening to win the point.

    pusher does not construct the point. He would just push the ball back and wait for his opponent to make an error.
     
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  2. Moveforwardalways

    Moveforwardalways Professional

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    No. That is what a baseliner does - serve and then try to construct a point. A counter puncher just keeps hitting it back until the other player messes up, whether that means getting out of position and leaving the court open or making an error.
     
  3. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    From "The Six Playing Styles Described" by Kaptain Karl

    http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=58284

    3 - Counter Punching players are always looking for the opportunity to *instantly* switch from safe defensive tennis ... to ripping winners. They can “change gears” with a single shot. Their passing shots are “thread the needle” accurate against those playing Attack the Net. Their drop-shots and lobs are deadly. Counter Punchers can detect and exploit the baseliners’ inadvertent openings ... and end the point with one “high risk” down-the-line winner ... or fool you with a short-angle inside-out forehand winner.

    Opponents playing both Attack the Net and Baseline tennis are fooled into thinking “He can’t keep that up the whole match.” When do these opponents realize their error? Unfortunately, when -- befuddled -- they are shaking hands at the net and congratulating the Counter Puncher on a 6-3, 6-3 victory.
     
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  4. Moveforwardalways

    Moveforwardalways Professional

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    Ok, so a "semi-pusher" then.
     
  5. DanFuller

    DanFuller Rookie

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    I played and beat a pusher on Monday night. I'd struggled against this guy before but mainly focused on three things.

    Deep low returns which had little or no top spin forcing him to have to chip high short returns
    Target his backhand. Even when I had a lot of open court I went hard into that corner. Harder to lob it back with that stroke.
    Improve first serve percentage. I took a bit off my serves and served more body serve making him have to avoid being hit or just leave a short ball for me.
     
  6. DanFuller

    DanFuller Rookie

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    Make sure you seal it with a kiss
     
  7. zaph

    zaph Rookie

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    I admit it, I admire pushers, however anoying I find them. A good pusher somehow manages to shrink the court the other side of the net to size of a postage stamp.

    Constantly digging dying balls from the centre of the court, knowing a rubbish shot will lead to lob over your head. Too difficult for me, give me a ball basher any day. Much less work.
     
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  8. Flatballs

    Flatballs Banned

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    +1

    ...............
     
  9. Todd Hicks

    Todd Hicks New User

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    David Ferrer is likely the best pusher player in tennis. He is ranked 8th in the world and usually goes deep into tournaments.
     
  10. PDJ

    PDJ Legend

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    I was watching two juniors play (open junior tournament at my club) - both around 15. The one was already 6ft, hit the ball beautifully with elegant strokes. The other barely 5ft and running and scrambling for everything. No pace but consistently digging the ball back. The taller boy won the first easily 6-1. The second much closer with the naturally talented boy beginning to get frustrated by the ball always coming back and then started to misfire and unbelievable temper tantrums. The smaller boy took the second set 7-5.
    The third went quickly 4-1 to the taller boy but the smaller boy kept on plugging away and the taller boy again unravelled. Soon 4-4, 5-5, 6--6. All during this the smaller boy was calm, no histrionics of any description and I was internally rooting for him (didn't know either of them). The taller boy was now putting McEnroe or Serena Williams to shame such were his outbursts. The smaller boy won 7-6 final set on successive double faults from his far more talented opponent.
    If that smaller boy is a "pusher", so be it BUT he deserved his victory.
    I'd far rather see a player win by utilising what ever strengths they have than a supremely talented basket case who just assumes they are better because they have better shots. Wrong. It takes a brain to.
     
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  11. zalive

    zalive Professional

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    Regarding pushers, they just face the player with his own consistency problems. So, if you're more talented and a better player than the pusher, how come he can be more consistent than you?

    The way I see it it's just a different quality.

    However, the way I see it, player must know how to use court depth as well against pushers. So some shorter balls (I don't mean dropshots by that) makes the pusher need to cover much longer distance than just a width (left to right). One short to one side, than a deep attack to the other side can do the job. But you need to know how to hit a good short consistent cross for that, right?
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
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  12. M Pillai

    M Pillai Rookie

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    Hmm... looks like everybody has their own definisions...

    Counter Punchers do construct points, as good as any other style of play. I believe the key difference is in the shot combo/recovery positions used to switch from rally mode to offense mode.

     
  13. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    People often use the term "pusher" as an insult, as if there was some form of disgrace in the act of avoiding to give into a power struggle from the backcourt. Players seldom identify as pushers themselves, just like masons never called their masterpiece a gothic monument or someone living under Charles Magnus would not consider their era peculiarly dark. The names come from other people, usually people who have no clue what they're talking about and, hence, can't appreciate what lies before their eyes.

    The truth is that a tennis ball can outrun you several times. You don't have to play huge shots to gain an edge, you have to play the right shots.
     
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  14. 10isMaestro

    10isMaestro Semi-Pro

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    They call them counter punchers specifically because they excel at counter attacks.
     
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  15. Bobs tennis

    Bobs tennis Rookie

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    This topic is funny because just today on the court next to us was a PUSHER playing a pretty good player but every time the better player got him in trouble up went the lob and I mean deep and high. He completely frustrated what appeared to be a much better player. I feel it takes a lot of patience, concentration and speed to be a good pusher. They make the game more interesting.
     
  16. TupeloDanger

    TupeloDanger Professional

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    The defensive lob is grossly underused at every level of tennis.
     
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  17. moonballs

    moonballs Hall of Fame

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    So a pusher constantly runs around his backhand now?
     
  18. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    I like practicing with pushers - you can get some really long rallies going. I don't mind playing them either.

    Some people call me a pusher too.

    > I am on JV high school tennis team. I play 3rd singles so I have to play agianst these people who tap the ball back.
    > My problem is I load up and then just blast it, I get way too anxious. What is a good strategy to beat LOLLIPOPPERS
    > and how can a get a more consisting stroke.

    Spend a lot of time practicing your shots with really good footwork and early preparation. Be prepared to hit short balls that don't bounce the way you to expect them to (watch Andy Murray's forehand and his setup on balls that might land short or not bounce forward as much - he's off his back foot ready to transfer or hop forward if the ball is short or lacks pace).
     
  19. Boyd Clary

    Boyd Clary Rookie

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    Interesting thread. I think definition most use of a pusher is wrong. Generally, a pusher is someone who is consistent and doesn't play the style of tennis you find fun. Period. You get frustrated because they pull you away from the tennis you love to play.

    There are two solutions imo. If you just want to play "what you deem as fun" tennis. Don't play them or don't worry about winning or losing to "pushers".

    Or learn to adjust your style and play to win, not necessarily for fun.

    I used to hate pushers. And they still beat me. But maybe not for long. I have lost weight, improved endurance and am now working on patience and tennis intelligence. I want to play "pushers". Because the sooner I learn to play and enjoy playing them the sooner I can move up and start winning more. A 4.0 pusher is probably a very solid 3.0 or 3.5. Pushers are players who outsmart the rest of us and get the most out of their game and bring out the worst of ours.

    We don't like losing to them because we don't get joy of playing our game. Who doesn't want to bang 3-4 heavy shots before a "forced error". But our heavy shots would be pushers to the pros - assuming we could get any, much less most of their shots back. Point being that everything is relative. A 3-0 pusher is crushing balls compared 10yo.

    And I have seen too many pushers who when you figure it out, start to play other styles. Or who pull you away from your strengths.
     
    Last edited: Jul 27, 2016
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  20. PDJ

    PDJ Legend

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    What a great post.
    Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.
    Thank you.
     
  21. M Pillai

    M Pillai Rookie

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    I like the way you put it there. You call them "pusher", when you dont find it fun. You call them "consistent" when you respect that style of play.

     
  22. Bender

    Bender Hall of Fame

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    I agree

    If you sever some part of the pusher's body, I'm sure they will get mad
     
  23. zaph

    zaph Rookie

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    The greatest achievement of my tennis life, I got a pusher to stop pushing. The guy hit these dink slice balls into the middle of the court, with appalling technique. I just forgot about the score and treated it as an exercise in putting short balls away. Just get as many on the forehand as possible and aim for the corner.

    I held serve, broke him and the scoreboard pressure reversed. He actually stopped dinking and started hitting proper ground strokes. This also demonstrated why he is a pusher, he missed most of them. Still it did cheer me up.

    Not that I can consistantly beat pushers, they still torment me. One never missed, was fast as the flash and hit the ball at random lengths. I was compenhensively stuffed.

    A few things I have picked up. You must go for your shots, your advantage over a pusher is spin and pace. If you choke on the shots, reduce the power too much, you may as well push and will lose. You also need to hit with purpose, move the pusher about.

    Oh and learn the more diffucult shot. Whst I mean by this is pushers are not as superhuman fast as they seem, they learn patterns of play. If you're not comfortable with short balls, for example, you will go to the easiest shot, so you will make it. On the forehand this will normally br cross court, so the pusher cheats that way. If you can hit the inside out you make the pushers life much harder. Same if you can hit a backhand down the line, the pusher doesn't know which way you will go.

    I need a better backhand and serve to beat them, so happy pusher hunting.
     
  24. zalive

    zalive Professional

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    I still don't understand few things here. Can you share your experience and practice against pushers?

    1. Do you use depth of the court (one short to one corner, then the other deep to the other)?
    2. If they just dink balls but not especially high (not lobs), can you put pressure on them by playing strong attacks?
    3. Are you prepared to go to the net after a good attack (preferably not too close to the net to deal with their lobs)?
    4. If they play lobs against you, can you shoot overheads from the baseline?

    This describes pretty much how I play against a pusher - one of my best friends often plays this way since it's the most effective tactics for him, however he didn't beat me once playing this way (tie sets was the best he could manage).
     
  25. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    I use the standard approaches on moving the other player around and confuse, deep and short, side to side, high and low, straight and angles, hard and soft. But I don't mind sitting there all day hitting groundstrokes either.

    If I get a short sitter, I look to move in and put it away. Sometimes it takes more than one shot and sometimes I move in in more than one shot.

    On lobs, I just hit heavy topspin back deep. This is pretty easy to do with high-swingweight racquets.
     
  26. mhkeuns

    mhkeuns Professional

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    There are two players/pushers that I really hated playing against. One was a dinker/moon baller whose sole strategy was just to keep the ball in play. The other guy was a slice and dice spin guy who hit junk balls all day. One thing common was that they were both super athletic and nimble on their feet.

    Most guys (me included) would overhit and lose points, or slow down our swings so much (after missing a few shots) that we played tentative tennis.

    One thing that worked for me was that I hit as hard as I could right at them taking away their angle shots and also stopping their movements. It was also a safe, high percentage shot hitting hard straight down the middle. By doing so, I was able to dictate the point and got lots of short balls to put away.
     
  27. zalive

    zalive Professional

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    Against lobs this is simply not a perfect material for FH/BH, we're talking about balls that bounce above your head, sometimes much more. I find such to be a better material for overheads. Worthwhile practicing them. You don't need to put away, you just need some placement and to put pressure on the opponent. Even a consistent pusher can miss against flat overhead balls with decent power, or miss desired depth. Anyway, I tend to approach the net to make the point shorter, but usually step forward to half a court, just barely in front of the service line. Now, if I faced a skillful opponent who can take advantage of it by playing strong and precise passing shots I'll be in trouble when standing at half court, but then he's probably a better player than me with more than one strategy in his bag, I don't mind losing to such.

    What's best: I practice overheads, volleys, approaching to the net, dealing with highish balls, practice my hitting consistency...what's wrong with that? I must thank my 'pushing buddy' (lol), he's helping me become more complete a player :)
     
  28. movdqa

    movdqa G.O.A.T.

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    I don't mind high-bouncing balls - I can half-volley them or just hit a groundstroke. There were a number in the practice session which he couldn't reach as I hit them with a lot of topspin and they bounce high into the fence. The other option is the loose-wrist backhand half-volley. You don't actually have to do much with it. Just brush the ball and get it into NML with or without pace. If it's a real pusher, they won't do much with it, even if it's short.
     
  29. nytennisaddict

    nytennisaddict Hall of Fame

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    just want to note, that every 5.0+ that I play knows how to play like a "pusher"... backed into a corner they throw up a high defensive lob, hoping to reset the point. so it's a good thing to practice playing like a "pusher" (except they try to "reset" the point on every shot :p)
     
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