Originally Posted by KenC
If you get beat by a pusher and complain about it then you are obviously not as good as you think you are.
My advice is to learn how to hit harder more consistently and learn how to take command of points. Learn how to view the court like a chessboard and set it up to have a commanding presence. Learn how to analyze your opponent to identify weaknesses and then construct shot sequences that force them into their weaknesses. Learn how to maneuver your opponent through shot sequences that get him to hit to your strengths while you hit to his weakness. But whatever you do, don't play right into his game strategy which is exactly why people lose to pushers in the first place!
This is excellent advice ^^^
we low to mid level rec players lose to pushers because we lack weapons to hurt them without hurting ourselves and don't think when we play. Like the pusher too often we're just getting the ball over the net "wherever" and hoping that hitting the amazing "hard topspin shot" will magically win the match.
1. There's nothing magic about hitting "hard topspin" without thinking first. Too often low/mid level rec players think mere topspin with pace is enough. It's not. It needs to be hit as a part of a pattern of play.
2. Even the best pusher can't teleport around the court. You need to deliberately practice patterns of play designed to build points resulting in opportunity balls that can be put away.
3. If you can't beat a pusher who lacks weapons that hurt you then be honest with yourself: he's a pusher and you're a mindless ball basher generating unforced errors who gives away points with thoughtless, weaponless play.
Two great books on this topic: Think to Win and Pressure Tennis. Both cover patterns of play that reduce your own errors and help you build points towards that opportunity ball you can put away.
Remember: just because you can midlessly bash the ball harder with pretty strokes than a pusher doesn't make you the better player. The pusher is better because he's thinking and has a strategy: let the mindless barbarian beat himself. There is no such thing as a "pusher"...the so-called pusher is a disciplined, consistent, weaponless players smart enough to play within himself while the opponent self-destructs.
To beat a "pusher" become a better one or start thinking and learn how to use patterns of play to exploit whatever weapon you might have. To beat a pusher, or any other player, tennis starts with steady nerves to maintain calm, the brain using deliberate strategy to drive tactical shot selection and court positioning, anticipation skills and footwork to smoothly move to a stable hitting position, the eyes to focus on the ball, and LEAST import the stroke to hit the ball. Given two players of even barey equal ball striking skill the match will be determined by nerves, intelligence, and footwork. Pushers win because they're calm, they think, they move, and they know the limits of their strokes and play within them.