strategy or physcology against pushers?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by rk_sports, Nov 20, 2009.

  1. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    okay.. stay with me :)

    when playing players who are not good.. doesnt give you good ball, but short balls, slow slices, bad lobs, just pushing.. makes my game break down.. or even more than the game.. breaks my attitude.. and I make crazy errors and after a while, when I say to myself, okay lets just play a solid game from my side.. whatever you are dealt with.. but I just cannot recover.. :confused:

    I'm sure some of you faced this dilemma... what are the keys to self-coach (to say) to break out of such situations ...dont tell me not to play wt that type of players :)
     
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  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    I would rephrase the question, then the answer becomes obvious: How do I beat players who are better than me (since they beat you) and use a higher consistancy than I have, as their strategy?

    Well, if you can increase your consistancy to better than theirs, that will work. If you can pressure them enough to lower their consistancy below yours, that will work too. One thing we know for sure, is that the third strategy will not work: hit enough winners to make up for your lesser consistancy.
     
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  3. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    It's crazily simple to play against that type of players you describe, because it requires only one strategy:

    Just groundstroke the shots back (preferrably to an open area)!

    Well, maybe one more aspect is needed: prepare to run and keep running and setting up. Don't be lazy.

    That's it!

    And you should have fun and get tons of exercise and opportunities to practice various groundstrokes. That's what I do and I like these players very much.
     
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  4. SlapChop

    SlapChop Semi-Pro

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    if you are getting these I would get up to the net and smash em.
     
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  5. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    I get your point.. they beat me.. so they're better.. but I know stroke per stroke I'm better .. but it frustrates me to play that style .. when I hit a great show.. all they would do is just put a lob or just get a racket on it so it drops the other side..
    and I guess the answer is obvious.. I need to get over this frustration and take it as a challenge..
    what I was looking for is.. the approach to playing this sort of style.. do you do the same or just be consistent.. or..something else.. ?
     
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  6. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    you just have to improve your consistency.

    there's a guy that i often play with. he's a much better hitter than i do, but i know if the rally continues for more than 5 shots, the odd is in my favor.

    i know he would beat me if he becomes more consistent but he has never beaten me in a match.
     
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  7. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    This question comes up alot..

    Here is my take - its not strategy OR psychology. It's just execution. The big problem is that you think your stroke is so much superior to that of your opponent.

    That's almost never the case. The people that complain about pushers (dinkers) are almost always pushers (dinkers) themselves. Players with better execution don't have issues.

    BTW its better to call your opponent a dinker then a pusher on these boards because people here think Hewitt is a "pusher."

    Anyway back to my point..

    Pushers challenge your OFFENSIVE shot making ability. Clearly its not there yet. Bad lobs SHOULD become overhead winners. Short balls SHOULD become either very tough approach shots or "forcing shots" hit with pace to hard to get to spots.

    You don't really need some fancy strategy - just the ability to hit those shots. Tennis is a humbling game for alot of players.
    Some will tell you to just "push back" and I suppose that works. But its better if you can learn the shots that will really allow you to take pushers apart.

    The fact that you have trouble with junk should be a red flag that you have some issues with mechanics and stroke production. As I said earlier that's almost always the case with the guys who complain about "pushers."

    Pete
     
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  8. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    this is exactly the guy's problem when he plays me: he would go for winners all the time and ends up having more unforced errors than winners.
     
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  9. sir_shanks_alot

    sir_shanks_alot Rookie

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    this question has existed since the time of dinosaurs. what is "better" anyway?

    this player is confident they are "smarter," and they are, because you think aesthetics should determine the outcome. unfortunately for you, they do not! ;)

    there are no style points in tennis and winning ugly is fair play. just because you're conceited, like me, and think your strokes might be "prettier" doesn't mean you're entitled to win. i've accepted that and i respect this type of player.

    suck it up and admit they are skilled first. otherwise YOU would win, right? then, figure out what you have to do to beat them.

    i like the challenge even though its frustrating. it teaches you a lot about yourself!
     
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  10. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    At this point it seems like to me that the OP just can't hit the ball back sufficiently though he thinks his stroke is prettier. Like Guy said, it's just execution. "stroke per stroke" the OP is definitely NOT better, if you really think about it. Stroke per stroke, the op eventually lost out, more ue's piling. Hence he lost!

    What else is there, besides just hit a shot back (execution) and run & repeat, to beat a pusher / dinker?

    Against an advanced player, simply running and hitting a shot back isn't enough. You also need pace and spin to out-pace him and shot selection to increasing your percentage, etc. none of which is necessarily needed against a "pusher" "dinker"
     
    Last edited: Nov 20, 2009
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  11. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Pusher? Better strokes?
    Try this. I"m 60, flat serve mostly 100-110, S/V 90% of the time with topspin and twist second serves. I end ALL points on my serve within 4 shots, hopefully less.
    When I'm defending on returns, I hit 20% groundies, slice 50%, drop 10%, short angle the rest, not giving you any rythum or rhyme. I end all return of serve points within 6 shots total, like 3 each player.
    Am I a pusher?
     
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  12. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    you sound like an anti-pusher to me :shock:
     
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  13. enishi1357

    enishi1357 Rookie

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    I think the main strategy for me at least is to use as many forehand as possible to force them to hit a short shot. Even then you must maintain the topspin forehand not just half volley it back cuz they will lob it over you.
     
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  14. Stewy30

    Stewy30 New User

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    Accept that he is better, practice to become better, and then you will beat him.

    This is what I had to do with my hitting partner. He would "push" and I would crumble and end up losing matches after matches even though I know that my strokes were "better". I manned up and accepted he is better despite that, motivated myself to practice offensive tennis with good technique, and now when he turns on his push game that he knows I would ordinarily crumble on, I finish the point within 2 or 3 strokes. Now I never lose against him. Lesson learned, and hopefully you will learn it too =)
     
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  15. rk_sports

    rk_sports Hall of Fame

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    ok I think i needed that reality check.. suck it up :)

    Yes, as some of you said, I'm no expert level .. maybe a 3.5.. lets give it a rest as to I cant handle them point.. that's the reason I am asking for advice..

    All I was asking was how to develop a better mindset for a situation when things are not going that way you like or prefer .. what happening is.. with that style.. I think I'm not improving.. and mastering against those styles wont make me a better player..
     
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  16. sir_shanks_alot

    sir_shanks_alot Rookie

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    It will make you better as long as it doesn't drive you insane! ;)

    Just don't copy their strokes. Master yours, then you will beat them.
     
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  17. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I don't think this is a problem that you can attack mentally. At 3.5, you might think you have good ground-strokes when you get feeds you like, but chances are your footwork and timing will fall apart when the ball has more varying trajectories. This means you really need to keep working the stroke-grooving drills. Once you have truly proficient strokes, you won't lose to these junkballin dinkers anymore because their shots won't bother you enough to cause the mental breakdown.
     
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  18. enishi1357

    enishi1357 Rookie

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    Yeah, I played like one last week and the main thing to remember is to not get hang on every point. Just accept that he somehow pulls it off. I learned that your first serve is really important against pushers because if they can't return it then it basically means free points. If not then try not to lose it.
     
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  19. bharat

    bharat Rookie

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    I have the exact same problem ... have posted it here too :)

    I played a guys last nite who said to me

    " ... in 3.5 you don't beat anyone ... you then beat themselves "

    I have changed my attitude a lot since i started my 3.5 league to just take it easy and play nice and smooth ground strokes

    let then send it back, i got all day to practice my shots ..

    so just relax and have fun and dont think about beating them .... they will beat themsleves :shock:
     
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  20. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    OP,
    Like I said above, you've got to realize that it's quite fun and benefitial to play against people who dink, lob, hit inconsistently short, long, spin, etc. basically try their utmost to keep the ball in play for you. That's the mindset you should come in with. Technique-wise, force yourself not to be lazy and try to keep up proper form/stroke.

    Think about it is the other type of player that should drive you crazy. Say, someone who only knows or can serve 130mph and consistently beat you with it. It's a one trick pony. Even when you realize that your return technique needs improvement, there's not much else that they give you to play and improve. I've played with someone who tried mostly to hit FH winners -- in or out. It was a sad and frustrating game for me. But that's just me.
     
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  21. jswinf

    jswinf Professional

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    Beware of starting your strokes too soon. I feel like it's easy to wind up mimicing an opponent hitting slow stuff because it's hard to wait long enough for the ball, you start to swing too soon and your eye-hand coordination works to slow your swing down to compensate, so you hit mousy stuff back. I think it's good practice to work at hitting good strokes with good timing against slow stuff. It's not easy. Of course, the other night I had somebody that played like Nadal's older brother across the net and my "slow stuff" experience wasn't helpful.
     
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  22. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

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    What I do is make them pay for hitting the ball in the center of the court (to get their consistancy). I hit balls into the outer third of the court, not going for winners, which would lower my consistancy, but get them on the run. I end up hitting the ball CC and they hit floaters into the middle of the court. They run a lot, I stand in the center of the court having CC practice.

    Of course these guys are rabbits and have speed and stamina. But since I am not trying to hit winners, my consistancy is high and they are doing all of the running. Noone, not even M Chang in his prime, can retrieve all day and keep up their consistancy. Eventually they tire and start making errors.
     
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  23. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    luckyr,

    that implies that you know how to place the ball and your pusher opponent is competent (or dumb) enough to keep putting the ball back at relatively the same spot.

    What if your pusher oppon hits junk balls that spin all over the place or dink it into the first open area he sees, and if you're an incompetent runner or an incompetent hitter of different balls, then what?
     
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  24. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    I have played against "pushers" who had incredible endurance, and quickness, able to get to some very hard and well placed shots and send them back in such a way so as to cancle my advantage and, basically start the point over, time and again.

    It is a falacy to think of them as bad players. In fact, if you do not have the strokes to deal with slow, off-pace balls with odd spins, loopy balls, and slice that dies at your feet, then the fault for playing badly is yours-- for not having practiced enough- learning to deal with all sorts of opponents and situations.

    Get out there and practice. Have someone toss you balls so that you need to create the stroke from scratch, with no help from the pace of the opponent-- one small step toward improving the quality of your game.
     
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  25. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    I agree that they are not bad players, given that they can beat alot of other rec players because of good anticipation, shot tolerance, and movement. But they are bad players in that they waste their talent by not really having the guts to develop a more advanced game because they are content winning at lower levels.
     
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  26. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Seriously, guys, pushers can be 7.0 players in the ATP top 50 ranks. You know who they are, they're the tough matches whether first round or finals, make opponent's hit more balls than they want to, and run like rabbits mixed with ultra marathoners.
    Some would say current #3 is a pusher when he recieves serve.
     
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  27. user92626

    user92626 Legend

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    It's funny how we all eventually define pushers to be very advanced players without saying aloud. Aren't advanced players those who can retrieve, defend, place well, dictate various paces,you know enough things that kick an average playa's arse? LOL. In this sense, leed has a point about atp relevancy.
     
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  28. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Well, MaratSafin would say Nadal is a pusher.
    Ivo would say Murray is a pusher.
    And they all would allow me ONE point in a set.
     
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  29. Bagumbawalla

    Bagumbawalla Hall of Fame

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    Yes, I agree, despite the fact that they are often a pain in the neck to play against, and sometimes have good results, the "Pushing" style of play is limited and will only get them so far.

    So, we would, then have to say that the person who thinks he/she has a great game, but is beaten by the junkballer, retriever, pusher... also has a limited game in that they may lack stamina, have problems creating pace on their own, have problems with low ball, slow balls, high balls, spin, flat balls, lack consistancy and the ability to set up points and hit winners (rather than wait for errors from the opponent)...

    So, in effect, most people, with a bit of intospection, can find areas in their game for improvement, but very often rise to a certain level of play where they feel comfortable- physically and psychologically at ease. More can be said along these lines, but it has, mostly, been said before.
     
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  30. Netspirit

    Netspirit Hall of Fame

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    Just enjoy tennis, enjoy longer rallies, enjoy variety. If tennis is the game you love, why do you have to feel as if you want to be out of there ASAP?

    Just hang in there. This is not a rush, it's your pleasure time.

    Learn to appreciate the opportunity to polish your offensive skills. You do not get frustrated with a wall or ball machine, do you? I guess not - it only makes you better and better. So why get frustrated with a human "ball machine" that comes for free?

    Thankfully, you have more time for your shots - so use it to think more. Introspect, analyze your game as if you were watching a replay. Practice things you always wanted to practice. I almost think that pushers should be paid for their job - their infinite patience is extremely valuable.

    And never ever show any disrespect or frustration with their game. It is their personal choice, their mentality, their habits, their style. It works and it is perfectly legitimate.
     
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  31. Cody

    Cody Semi-Pro

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    ^^

    Wow, a reasonable person,

    What are you doing on TW ? :)
     
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  32. ScoopsHaaganDazs

    ScoopsHaaganDazs Rookie

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    Pushers don't hit bad shots. Even junk ballers don't hit bad shots. Good pushers strategically place them where you aren't, return all balls and force you to make mistakes(imo). The only "bad" balls would be mishits/frames that have awkward spin.

    Just because you have a full swing doesn't mean your stroke is better. What the stroke accomplishes is what determines which is better (imo).

    The reason some people lose to pushers is because they don't set their feet properly. If a ball is slow, you might misjudge where it will be, and/or swing too slow/fast/late. Also, if the ball is a lot shorter, don't expect to hit your baseline stroke and have it go in. You have to adjust.

    So yeah, basically what the previous posters said.
     
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  33. SystemicAnomaly

    SystemicAnomaly G.O.A.T.

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    Fizz-cology, huh? The study of carbonated drinks?

    Actually I like GC's (Pete) take on this (post #7).
     
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  34. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    The reason I like to end points quickly is that I can! :shock::shock:
    At lower and my levels, I can hit winners from 70% of my court, so why waste time consuming court time retrieving my opponent's shots and not hitting my best?
    At higher levels, I can still hit winners constantly, but I make enough errors to lose badly. Still don't have run around fetching like a dog, I can force the issue. And if I'm going to lose anyways, I might as well go down shooting my best shots.
    Tennis is ART FORM to me. I choose the way I play it. I DON'T let my opponent choose how I play my game.
    :oops: I'm top 3.5 -4.0 nowadaze, played as well as moderate 5.5's 30 odd years ago.
     
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  35. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    LuckyR knows the difference in a true pusher and an excellent player who just doesn't choose to limit himself to the power game. His advice is towards a true pusher.

    A true pusher is not that skilled and seeks to just get the ball back in play. With some effort, you can punish these shots on a regular basis if you in fact have skills.

    Many excellent players are labeled as pushers because they use the whole court with various spins and don't limit themselves to mostly power TS shots.
    IMO, these are not true pushers and they don't often give you balls that you can punish, and actually do quite the opposite. Often 3.5 & 4.0 players don't see the difference.
     
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  36. 5263

    5263 G.O.A.T.

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    This is really more of a style of play thing than a skill level thing. These guys are better at their style , than you at yours.
     
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  37. jwbarrientos

    jwbarrientos Hall of Fame

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    hmmmm is there any rule against pushers?? :shock:

    How to beat them? jus patience, relax and return the f***ng ball to the other side. 8)

    If you wanna make some good friend smash over his/her low part body, the next time he/she lobs you, could chose slice or kick to smash it. :mrgreen:
     
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  38. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    Nitpicking a bit guys who have the mechanics to hit 130mph serves can invariably hit wicked slice serves and incredible kickers. <g> Once you have solid mechanics many shots just kind of "flow" from the basics.

    Its usually the eastern grip "hard' server that only has that serve and a power puff second serve. These servers are at best 90mph.

    Pete
     
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  39. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    one way to demoralize a pusher is to out-push him :)
     
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  40. shaysrebelII

    shaysrebelII Semi-Pro

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    right now I'm in a league with lots of pushers, and the strategy that's worked for me has been to get to the net at every opportunity. I get lobbed sometimes, but on the whole, it pays off.

    also, PUNISH their second serve. in my experience, pushers really struggle with the second serve, so even if you misfire when you try and kill it, try and maneuver it into a corner and follow it up to the net.
     
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  41. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

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    Heavy topspin balls are a pushers' worst enemy. Ive been whooping pushers for a long time now because of my use of heavy spins, slice included. Using heavy spin means im just as consistent as the pusher and more aggressive in the process. When they finally cough up a short ball, I jump all over it and either hit a winner or force an error from them. Basically anything a pusher can do, I can do a little bit better now, therefore their style doesnt bother me at all.
     
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  42. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    Excellent points Pete. One thing that I will add that works for me is to take my "ego" out of the match or game. Have fun with a player like that, laugh a little when they get a racquet on the ball and it comes back over. When your ego gets in the way and you feel that your strokes are superior and "that pusher shouldn't be getting your shots", you tend to tighten up psychologically and physically and your game deteriorates.

    I play pushers like I play a lower skilled person. I don't try to "kill" the ball, I concentrate on the basics using spins, control, placement, and good footwork. Most of all be relaxed mentally and physically. A couple of weeks ago, I was practicing against the wall and this guy came up to me and asked if i wanted to hit. I didn't know his level, but I'd rather hit against someone instead of a wall. We went on the court and hit, he played a combination of tennis and badminton mixed with football (middle linebacker), he was deceptively quick, he bounced on the court like he was on a pogo stick and totally threw my rhythm off and distracted me! Then he wanted to play a match!! So we played the best of three and I beat him 6-1 6-0. He got one game off of me because my ego got in the way and I tightened up because he was getting a lot of shots back. Then I relaxed and had fun, concentrated on the ball, footwork, and control, and had fun and won.
     
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  43. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    and that guy drove home thinking he had been destroyed by a pusher :)
     
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  44. VaBeachTennis

    VaBeachTennis Semi-Pro

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    LOL. I was trying to serve easy to him without messing up my own form. The slice and kick serves gave him mucho problems. I mostly just wrong foot him and have fun using all sorts of different spins during the rallies.
     
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  45. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    First of all, any good pusher will beat you and me ZIP and ZIP.
    We can apply all the spin and technique we want, but we're not 7.0 players.
    You who have no trouble with "pushers" just play at a lousy level when you play pushers!
    Pushers are currently in the top 20 in the ATP tour. You can't get ONE game off them.
    If you're so good at beating pushers, why aren't YOU on the ATP tour?
     
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  46. USERNAME

    USERNAME Professional

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    1st off how are they not good? They are beating u so they are better then u, give credit where credit is due... Now for what u can try, JUNK BALL the life out of them and make them move! Take them out of their rhythm so they are'nt so comfy then put pressure on em by coming to net. Ive never seen a pusher in an open lvl, national, or itf tourny but there are a few at my club. Sure I could hit with a load of pace to get the ball by them but its not as easy as just junk balling then hit one nice hard shot for a winner. One other thing Ive seen is that they really are not all that confident at net so try bringing them in.
     
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  47. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    Just because YOU haven't seen it, doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
    Two "friends" on the pro tour of mine in the old daze were HaroldSolomon and EddyDibbs. They'd hang around our booth most of the day, hitting with us for warmups and generally livening up the joint. I took them sailing and surfing.
    Both were pure 7.0 pushers, at the time, Harold maybe top 30 and Eddy top 50 singles.
    They would crush you zip forever.
     
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  48. Steady Eddy

    Steady Eddy Hall of Fame

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    I think Harold Solomon made it into the top 10. However, one time Lendl beat so badly that Solomon only got one game in 3 sets! Besides that, he was, and I'm sure still is, an awesome player.
     
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  49. Mick

    Mick Legend

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    i think in the past, salomon and dibbs could get away with that type of a game because of the wooden racquets.
    nowadays, if a pro played like that, the other pro would say thank you very much and put the ball away.
     
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  50. LeeD

    LeeD Bionic Poster

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    I can't name all the pure PUSHER pros nowadaze because I don't watch TV.
    Santoro, Barasetechi, Mecir, Gilbert, ANDYMURRAY receiving serve, Ferrer, Oudin (OK girl), it's early, brain not researching, but you can help me out.
    In this day and age of "powerful" (ColinDibley timed at 149 in 1978) rackets, the pusher is not using a wood racket from the '70's. Believe it.
    And notice! Generally in mens, the smaller the rackethead, the more tendency to hit winners or forcing shots. The bigger the head..........:shock:
     
    #50

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