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-   -   Moonballers are out - Short, Low pushers are in... (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=453976)

mikeespinmusic 02-07-2013 05:19 AM

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

ollinger 02-07-2013 05:54 AM

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.

hollywood9826 02-07-2013 06:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ollinger (Post 7197514)
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.

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.

Power Player 02-07-2013 06:06 AM

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.

McLovin 02-07-2013 06:22 AM

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...

mikeler 02-07-2013 06:27 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by McLovin (Post 7197561)
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...

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

Tafmatch 02-07-2013 06:30 AM

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. :)

tennismonkey 02-07-2013 06:37 AM

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.

hollywood9826 02-07-2013 06:44 AM

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

Very frustrating.

Power Player 02-07-2013 06:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennismonkey (Post 7197595)
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.


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.

tennismonkey 02-07-2013 06:49 AM

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.


Power Player 02-07-2013 07:08 AM

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.

Relinquis 02-07-2013 08:18 AM

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.

dman72 02-07-2013 08:46 AM

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.

LuckyR 02-07-2013 09:04 AM

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?

dominikk1985 02-07-2013 09:14 AM

what happens if you charge the net behind a deep slice into his BH against that player?

10isfreak 02-07-2013 09:26 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by mikeespinmusic (Post 7197469)
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"

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.

luvforty 02-07-2013 09:31 AM

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.

Govnor 02-07-2013 09:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 7197538)
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 them 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.

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.

Spin-A-Lot 02-07-2013 09:33 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Power Player (Post 7197679)
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.

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...


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