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-   -   Player evolution: Pusher vs. Ballbasher (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=465891)

pushitgood 06-06-2013 07:00 PM

Player evolution: Pusher vs. Ballbasher
 
At the lower rec levels you see both extremes: pushers that are content to keep the ball in play and wait for their opponents to make mistakes vs. ball bashers that think they're better than they are, and try to go for broke on every shot. Neither mindset is conducive to great tennis, but which one is easier to correct and shape into a good player? I'd be particularly interested to hear from coaches.

As you can probably guess from my username, I'm on the "pushy" end of the spectrum, although I've been trying to improve at seizing the initiative and taking calculated risks.

Say Chi Sin Lo 06-06-2013 07:45 PM

Hmmm, I'm not sure if I agree with your definition of "ball bashers".

Ball bashers are to me, hit as hard as one can possibly hit, but without any direction or intent, other than down the middle and hard.

The Meat 06-06-2013 08:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 7481380)
Hmmm, I'm not sure if I agree with your definition of "ball bashers".

Ball bashers are to me, hit as hard as one can possibly hit, but without any direction or intent, other than down the middle and hard.

I wish I played lower level Ball Bashers who hit down the middle, they miraculously always pound the corners during practice unintentionally. But in matches they resort to slicing everything because they can't play percentage to save their lives....

Say Chi Sin Lo 06-06-2013 08:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by The Meat (Post 7481548)
I wish I played lower level Ball Bashers who hit down the middle, they miraculously always pound the corners during practice unintentionally. But in matches they resort to slicing everything because they can't play percentage to save their lives....

That's just annoying. If the dude can't sustain a rally of 10shots or more, then no winners are to be hit.

I know this guy who tees off of feeds, or bunt returns off of an out-ball with my intention to restart a rally. Not for him to tee off of it.

tennisplayer1993 06-06-2013 09:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pushitgood (Post 7481280)
At the lower rec levels you see both extremes: pushers that are content to keep the ball in play and wait for their opponents to make mistakes vs. ball bashers that think they're better than they are, and try to go for broke on every shot. Neither mindset is conducive to great tennis, but which one is easier to correct and shape into a good player? I'd be particularly interested to hear from coaches.

As you can probably guess from my username, I'm on the "pushy" end of the spectrum, although I've been trying to improve at seizing the initiative and taking calculated risks.

I'm a ball basher. I can serve well over 100 mph for first serves. My groundstrokes are usually flat and powerful. Kind of emulate the game of 2003-2004 Roddick as much as I can besides the bad backhand :D

GuyClinch 06-06-2013 11:16 PM

I vote pushers. They are set in their ways and like to win points more then use good technique. So they will be resistant to change - even if they SAY they want too.

If you are a pusher and want to become a guy with 'good strokes' you are going to have to quit match play for a while and use ball machines and practice sessions until the good strokes become the new goto pattern.

A basher OTOH is not so sensitive to winning and will readily adapt his or her technique - as long as they can still swing hard. And with good technique you can rip the ball and keep it in..

Pushers might reveal how bad their opponents are but its just a dead end technique wise. Come back and play a pusher 5 years later and they are exactly the same guy. The young kid basher - if he still plays will likely be damn good.

Say Chi Sin Lo 06-07-2013 12:06 AM

Here's another take on the whole pusher vs ballbasher thing:

Pusher - will always want to play matches, pretty match tough too.
Ballbasher - will never want to play matches, mind goes to s*** as soon as points are on the line.

pushitgood 06-07-2013 06:31 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuyClinch (Post 7481749)
I vote pushers. They are set in their ways and like to win points more then use good technique. So they will be resistant to change - even if they SAY they want too.

If you are a pusher and want to become a guy with 'good strokes' you are going to have to quit match play for a while and use ball machines and practice sessions until the good strokes become the new goto pattern.

A basher OTOH is not so sensitive to winning and will readily adapt his or her technique - as long as they can still swing hard. And with good technique you can rip the ball and keep it in..

My feeling is that learning how to hit shots with pace, while keeping the ball in play, requires a more advanced level of technique and footwork. At the lower level, ball bashers try to rip the ball even when they are out of position or on the defensive which is why they have so many unforced errors. Both the pusher and ball basher lack the understanding of knowing when to attack.

As someone that tends to push, I find that my ego gets in the way when I play matches. I've been trying to set aside the need-to-win mindset and approach matches as an opportunity to implement and practice techniques. This has helped somewhat.

You might be onto something, though. I think that pushers are more results oriented whereas the ball basher is more feel oriented. The pusher has to learn to set aside their fear of losing, whereas the ball basher needs to learn to control their aggression. I suspect it is easier to develop the latter, although I'm sure that coaches have better insight into this.

pushitgood 06-07-2013 06:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tennisplayer1993 (Post 7481604)
I'm a ball basher. I can serve well over 100 mph for first serves. My groundstrokes are usually flat and powerful. Kind of emulate the game of 2003-2004 Roddick as much as I can besides the bad backhand :D

Do you go for broke on every shot, or do you wait for the right opportunity to rip it? Do you produce a lot of unforced errors by hitting with flat groundstrokes? What motivates you when you're playing? Hitting the perfect shot?

5263 06-07-2013 06:54 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuyClinch (Post 7481749)
I vote pushers. They are set in their ways and like to win points more then use good technique. So they will be resistant to change - even if they SAY they want too.

If you are a pusher and want to become a guy with 'good strokes' you are going to have to quit match play for a while and use ball machines and practice sessions until the good strokes become the new goto pattern.

A basher OTOH is not so sensitive to winning and will readily adapt his or her technique - as long as they can still swing hard. And with good technique you can rip the ball and keep it in..

Pushers might reveal how bad their opponents are but its just a dead end technique wise. Come back and play a pusher 5 years later and they are exactly the same guy. The young kid basher - if he still plays will likely be damn good.

Guy is often on the right track, but I don't agree here. Pushers cover a broad
band of players that value making shots and placement over sheer power.
Many are branded pushers due to putting a lot of spin/work on the ball for
most shots, with some sacrifice of big pace. Mostly likely somewhere inbetween
is going to work best really.

In my experience, big hitters that miss frequently rarely earn great improvement.
They often get pace from poor habits.
All the while those deemed pushers tend to hit tons of balls in most
games and tend to develop attack/put-away skills to control points once they
get things skewed in their favor. Not only do they learn more about building
points, and how to let opponents donate points, but also they learn to attack
with good form when the game or set score allows them to take some risks.
Generally they are more heady players.

Hitting lots of balls hard till they start to go in just doesn't seem to happen.
I'd say it's likely a myth and only works in rare cases with very regular work
with an instructor on top of them to improve the technique all the time, and even
then, they usually continue to struggle with shots that take more touch.
I've known and hit with 4 top 10 in the Nation Jrs over the years and 3
went on to play Pro. None of them were big hitters in jrs early on,
but they were all consistent point builders,
with power coming on more later in Jr ranks. Arod was a pretty consistent
type player early on as well his coach told me.

dominikk1985 06-07-2013 07:25 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Say Chi Sin Lo (Post 7481380)
Hmmm, I'm not sure if I agree with your definition of "ball bashers".

Ball bashers are to me, hit as hard as one can possibly hit, but without any direction or intent, other than down the middle and hard.

nobody hits like that. most ballbashers try to hit the Corners but are not always succesfull.

anubis 06-07-2013 08:04 AM

To me, pushers are simply comfortable in their ways and know their limits. A pusher says: "I know I can't hit beautiful, 70 mph winners -- so I don't even try."

There's nothing wrong with that. If you want to get better, then its always best to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. A pusher knows that his or her strength lies in consistency.

I love playing against pushers. I love winning because I played well and was able to earn points through hitting winners and drawing a forced error.

On the flip side, I hate playing against ball bashers who have no control and every 3rd shot goes into the net or sails long. It's no fun for me to win by default because the other guy couldn't hit the ball over the net.

Thepowerofchoice 06-07-2013 08:44 AM

-Started it out as a "Pusher" for about 3 years.

-Now"Ball bashing" in practice sessions 5 days a week.

-Slice and dice, junker with medium pace and attack the net when opportunity arise in the real match. I tend not to go for a winner in the match and prefer to finish the point at the net (or lose the point lol)

Funny thing is that I don't practice like the way I play in real matches :confused:

LuckyR 06-07-2013 09:10 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pushitgood (Post 7481280)
At the lower rec levels you see both extremes: pushers that are content to keep the ball in play and wait for their opponents to make mistakes vs. ball bashers that think they're better than they are, and try to go for broke on every shot. Neither mindset is conducive to great tennis, but which one is easier to correct and shape into a good player? I'd be particularly interested to hear from coaches.

As you can probably guess from my username, I'm on the "pushy" end of the spectrum, although I've been trying to improve at seizing the initiative and taking calculated risks.

You ask a specific and interesting question. The answer is that although theoretically either can be improved into a great advanced player and that there are plenty of individual examples of each, one is clearly easier to change (which was your question, after all).

Any student of personality types and behavior will recognize that the pushy types fear making mistakes and enjoy winning more than "looking good". The bashers are the opposite, they don't mind hitting low percentage shots (and even losing) because their payoff isn't winning matches, it is the gratification of hitting great winners... when the shot happens to land in.

In my experience it is easier to teach high quality, winning strokes to someone motivated to hit whatever shot it takes to win, than remold the strokes of someone who is invested in their current stroke type.

user92626 06-07-2013 09:19 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by pushitgood (Post 7481280)
As you can probably guess from my username, I'm on the "pushy" end of the spectrum, although I've been trying to improve at seizing the initiative and taking calculated risks.

Yeah, it also has sh#$% written all over it. It's really no good.

10isfreak 06-07-2013 10:05 AM

From my experience, a low level pusher is a hacker... he doesn‘t have any more of a good technique than the ball basher does. Both are doing very big mistakes technique-wise. The difference is that the ball basher is using mostly top spin shots, whereas a low level pusher rarely can hit any of it... we‘re talking sort. Of 3.0 players here.

From what I know, it‘s easier to take the strokes of a ball basher to make them consistent and decent than to take the strokes of a pusher to make them powerful and heavy. Pushers typically do not have anything ressembling a good form, whereas ball bashers are closer to it. Technique wise, it‘s easier to improve a ball basher than a pusher.

However, you need to know how to play a match to win it. Strategically speaking, it‘s not as bad to waste some offensive opportunities than to overhit. When you overhit, you loose the point; when you miss a chance to attack, you just give your opponent one more chance to win the rally. In that regard, a pusher might be more easily turned into a great tactician since he probably can switch more easily from fearing the mistake to being patient,, waiting for the right ball. The ball basher‘s attitude has to be changed as a whole to do the same thing... it‘s difficult.

As a whole, I‘d say it‘s slightly easier to turn a pusher into a great player than a ball basher. To me, one of the most fundamental trait of great players, what makes the difference between good and exceptional, lies in the players‘ head. The great player is patient, lucid and calm... everything in its attitude opposes him to a ball basher. Of course, strokes means something, but it‘s mostly about how you use your tools, not about which tools you have... unles two opponents are really not of the same level, it‘s the hoow which matters most.

pushitgood 06-07-2013 10:39 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by user92626 (Post 7485475)
Yeah, it also has sh#$% written all over it. It's really no good.

Haha! You know, I never noticed that. Ah well.

GuyClinch 06-07-2013 01:11 PM

Quote:

Guy is often on the right track, but I don't agree here. Pushers cover a broad band of players that value making shots and placement over sheer power.
Many are branded pushers due to putting a lot of spin/work on the ball for most shots, with some sacrifice of big pace. Mostly likely somewhere inbetween is going to work best really.
As with any debate the involves pushers - the problem here is the definition. Unfortunately 'pusher' has become the default complaint of losers. That is if a guy hits with massive topsin instead of hitting winners he is a pusher. Thus Murray is a "pusher" and Nadal is a pusher and so on..

But the old school defintion of a pusher is a guy who hits with stilted incomplete strokes and just blocks the ball back and/or uses gravity to win points. (sometimes they have a little topsin - other times underspin).

So no they will not adapt to using 'real' strokes because in the short term swinging out does ABSOLUTELY not help them win.

Most of these players are bit older and enjoy beating the 'real' tennis players and aren't really even trying to improve.

Bashers generally have a big forehand and try to rip everything. The guys might lose alot - but with some tweaking they could be good, IMHO. They are taking too much risk with every shot - and aren't really interested in rally balls. But the fact they can actually hit nice tennis shots moves them ahead of the pusher.

Its more important to build good technique first. If you put the emphasis on trying to win the 'pusher' result is sure to happen.

The women's serve is perhaps the best example of this. Most women don't serve well - and so you will meet women that just dink it in. This is actually an easier pattern - and leads to alot more points (some of them get 'good' at it and just dink it over the net and watch people try to crush it and fail).

But you will NEVER develop a good serve like this. If you want to develop a good serve you need to either practice off court or have the ability to suck up some double faults.

It's the same with all the strokes. There are 'dinker' techniques that are easier to execute and lead to better results in the short term.

hawk eye 06-07-2013 01:16 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by 10isfreak (Post 7485947)
As a whole, I‘d say it‘s slightly easier to turn a pusher into a great player than a ball basher. To me, one of the most fundamental trait of great players, what makes the difference between good and exceptional, lies in the players‘ head. The great player is patient, lucid and calm... everything in its attitude opposes him to a ball basher. Of course, strokes means something, but it‘s mostly about how you use your tools, not about which tools you have... unles two opponents are really not of the same level, it‘s the hoow which matters most.

Very true.. it's all about the art of 'playing within yourself'.

pushitgood 06-07-2013 01:56 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by GuyClinch (Post 7487005)
But the old school defintion of a pusher is a guy who hits with stilted incomplete strokes and just blocks the ball back and/or uses gravity to win points. (sometimes they have a little topsin - other times underspin). ...

Most of these players are bit older and enjoy beating the 'real' tennis players and aren't really even trying to improve.

Bashers generally have a big forehand and try to rip everything. The guys might lose alot - but with some tweaking they could be good, IMHO. They are taking too much risk with every shot - and aren't really interested in rally balls. But the fact they can actually hit nice tennis shots moves them ahead of the pusher.

Its more important to build good technique first. If you put the emphasis on trying to win the 'pusher' result is sure to happen.

If I were going to characterize the mindset of the stereotypical pusher and the stereotypical basher it would be as follows:

Pusher: Okay Pusher! Don't lose this point! Don't lose the game!
Basher: I'm going to bash the hell outta this ball and win this point right NOW!

I have a friend who goes for broke on every shot. Once in a blue moon, everything falls into place and he manages to hit screaming winners. But 98% of the time, he double faults games away and/or loses on unforced errors. The idea of constructing a point is completely foreign to him; he wants to end it with his first strike. Thinking on it, he tends to be lazy with his footwork and even if he's out of position, he'll still try to swing for the fences. A couple of his peers (who have moved beyond him) have tried to help him with his game, but he's not very reflective and any suggestions he's given are quickly forgotten rather than taken to heart.

Of course, this is purely anecdotal and it's possible that some pieces could fall into place and my friend could turn things around. I do agree with you that you there are a lot of old pushers who play junky tennis and never seem to improve. I can't say that I've ever seen an old ball basher, although there are probably some out there somewhere...


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