Join Date: May 2004
I have probably wrote about this too many times, but still somehow enjoy helping as my strategy against these players gets more solid. And, everyone else above my post, was right, but I like to keep it simple, from trial and error, i found the easiest way to keep them from doing what they want to do to you.
1)instead of serve hard/flat, serve the highest kick serve or spin serve you can manage... why?.. well, that makes it nearly impossible for their returns to stay as low.. they can still get them short, but the ball will stay higher, maybe 5 inches or more, enough to blast a hard approach shot at them to their backhand.
2)On that plane, instead of hitting hard, try to hit heavy, heavy topspin or even moonballs(but they will probably moonball back), so keep to heavy topspin to their backhand side.. why? well, a high backhand is tough to backspin low and bounce low, even if they try, it tends to sit up, and thus give u more margin(and time) to blast that approach to their backhand and prepare for a lob(their favorite "passing shot")
3)Work 9 months like i did to get this forceful approach shot so you can make 8 out of 10, instead of 2 out of 10.(the pusher wins because u practice with your buddy for MONTHS from the baseline, but barely at all, if ever, on your non-existent approach shot(this is why U are at the level that you are at, believe it) the approach shot is much lower percentage play because the length of the court shrinks greatly, and thus your precision has to be better, so to not miss this shot(and the pusher knows this and feeds on these statistics) Also, the pusher knows or believes at this level he cannot effectively be attacked because instead of you being able to hit 80mph from the baseline, his lower/shorter ball, IF u keep it in, now you are hitting at his level, bunting the ball at 40mph.. well, he can cover THAT, all day!
4)Play in the backcourt at the baseline, and think that the pushers winner isn't a ball hit past you, but a short, shallow ball, and try to anticipate it off his racket and learn to POUNCE on these balls, instead of react late to them... then, it will almost, almost, be, "fun?"..
5)Almost forgot, returns.. pushers have thick rackets and their game is blocking things back.. so, you have two options.. a)hit your heaviest topspin shot(you might not get a ball this high all point), to their backhand, or, really, any spot deep and in play, or b)and, don't rely on "b" expecially if the errors start cropping up, BLAST that first ball DOWN THE LINE FOR EITHER A WINNER OR AT LEAST TAKE AWAY HIS TIME!.. now, b is way harder than it looks on paper, and i have seen pushers even serve purposely with a BACKSPIN SERVE to keep it low and force their play from the get go!.. So, react and adjust accordingly.
The only thing that i don't agree with is to try to be them, to try to "wear them down".. because their mindset is BUILT for that.. they know they can be more boring than u, ALL DAY LONG, and are usually very fast little buggers. So, I go for the direct approach. If I lose, well, it is down to stats for me, too.. i missed 7 out of 10 approach shots, and framed 3 overheads.. If i win, I made thos 7 out of 10 approach shots and only framed 1 overhead.
Oh, and, if he sees u can handle the overhead, hit his pathetic short crap for hard approach shots and then volley it away.. U may chase him out of his foxhole, and he will get angry and try to play what everyone sees on tv, what i like to call "real tennis" going for lines, trying to win.. haha.. Then, you have made a hard day turn into an easy one. Good luck with the practice.