4.0 still full of pushers

Chalkdust

Rookie
Most people in tennis reach a certain level and never improve. Be it 3.0, 3.5, or 4.0
Make that all people, not most people. We each have an absolute ceiling that we will never be able to exceed, no matter how hard we practice or train, or what instruction we receive. Of course most people don't even get to that absolute ceiling. But it is there for everyone.
 

R1FF

Professional
Make that all people, not most people. We each have an absolute ceiling that we will never be able to exceed, no matter how hard we practice or train, or what instruction we receive. Of course most people don't even get to that absolute ceiling. But it is there for everyone.
Most people dont know the first thing about hard training. And certainly dont train smart, which is probably more important.

Learning (in any walk of life) requires constantly being reminded you’re wrong, admitting it, and adressing it. It’s psychologically painful, so it’s generally avoided.
 

Tjg

New User
you realize most pro grand slam matches are like 40 winners to 60 unforced errors right?

btw there's no such thing as a pusher, and if you're so good, play 4.5 and you'll get pwnd.
No such thing as a pusher? It’s clear by how defensive you are, you definitely are one! Funny how you think telling him he will lose to a 4.5 is suppose to be an insult.
 

Tjg

New User
I got bumped up from 3.5 to 4.0 this year and played in a few tournaments since the beginning of the year. I was expecting 4.0 to be a lot different than 3.5. My observations about 3.5 are that there are 2 main types of players. The guy that tries to hit everything for a winner and misses 70% of them and the guy that dinks the ball 30 mph a mile over the net and can't hit 5 winners in a match.

To my surprise 4.0 is pretty much more of the same with just a little more pace and consistency. Lots of guys pushing the ball rarely hitting offensive shots. The pace is now more medium pace than a really slow moon ball but still completely defensive. I also played one guy that had really good fast top spin strokes on both sides. If you saw him just hitting you'd guess he was a 4.5 but during match play he couldn't handle a mix of shots including a slice to his backhand or a short ball where he sprayed his approach long. My last match this weekend I played a really good counter puncher. Once I figured out he couldn't generate his own pace/winners I started feeding him slow shots and he lost the match trying to hit winners himself when I provided no pace.

I'm sure at the top of 4.0 (borderline 4.5 guys) there are some guys that hit lots of winners. Curious for the majority (average players) what level you have to get to before people start playing tennis where winning is based more on winners/forced errors than waiting for unforced errors, is it 4.5, 5.0?
I joined a tennis league at 3.5 and that’s how everyone played. No pace or depth. I had to provide all of the pace and they would either chip the ball back or just let it bounce off their racquet to lob over. I beat everyone until today....I encountered the boss of pushing, junk ball and serves that would just get over the net and bounce 1-2 ft off the ground. It was next level infuriating. The league moved me to 4.0, I am hoping there will be players who actually hit the ball. My game has gotten Much worse after playing matches with them. If the 4.0 level isn’t better, I may have to quite. I would rather my game get better than it get worse just to win some league.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
I joined a tennis league at 3.5 and that’s how everyone played. No pace or depth. I had to provide all of the pace and they would either chip the ball back or just let it bounce off their racquet to lob over. I beat everyone until today....I encountered the boss of pushing, junk ball and serves that would just get over the net and bounce 1-2 ft off the ground. It was next level infuriating. The league moved me to 4.0, I am hoping there will be players who actually hit the ball. My game has gotten Much worse after playing matches with them. If the 4.0 level isn’t better, I may have to quite. I would rather my game get better than it get worse just to win some league.
I can't imagine any pro quiting the game because it gets worse due to competition.
the fact that you don't display same level of aggression in match as in training has little to do with competition.
the high level players that I know, crush the pushers easily, that's why they are high level players.
 

Tjg

New User
I can't imagine any pro quiting the game because it gets worse due to competition.
the fact that you don't display same level of aggression in match as in training has little to do with competition.
the high level players that I know, crush the pushers easily, that's why they are high level players.
I am not a pro. I am just someone who wants to have fun while playing tennis, not just return balls that are rainbow dinkers for an hour.
 

1stVolley

Professional
I joined a tennis league at 3.5 and that’s how everyone played. No pace or depth. I had to provide all of the pace and they would either chip the ball back or just let it bounce off their racquet to lob over. I beat everyone until today....I encountered the boss of pushing, junk ball and serves that would just get over the net and bounce 1-2 ft off the ground. It was next level infuriating. The league moved me to 4.0, I am hoping there will be players who actually hit the ball. My game has gotten Much worse after playing matches with them. If the 4.0 level isn’t better, I may have to quite. I would rather my game get better than it get worse just to win some league.
One vital thing you can (or must) learn from pushers is patience. They force you to actually build a point not just hit mindlessly waiting for an error on the other side. Pushers may also force you to learn some new tactics like chip and charge or drop shotting them to the net and them lobbing them.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I joined a tennis league at 3.5 and that’s how everyone played. No pace or depth. I had to provide all of the pace and they would either chip the ball back or just let it bounce off their racquet to lob over. I beat everyone until today....I encountered the boss of pushing, junk ball and serves that would just get over the net and bounce 1-2 ft off the ground. It was next level infuriating. The league moved me to 4.0, I am hoping there will be players who actually hit the ball. My game has gotten Much worse after playing matches with them. If the 4.0 level isn’t better, I may have to quite. I would rather my game get better than it get worse just to win some league.
The 4.0 pushers will be better than the 3.5 pushers. But you’ll find plenty of reckless big hitters there too.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
I am not a pro. I am just someone who wants to have fun while playing tennis, not just return balls that are rainbow dinkers for an hour.
then you are probably doing the wrong thing.
if you want to enjoy tennis, perhaps it's an idea to quit the league and focus on social tennis, where you can select opponents that play a style you would enjoy.

otherwise, in a competitive league, the point is to win.
you either get 1 point for hitting a winner / forcing error from your opponent / waiting till your opponent makes an UO or your opponent gets the point. There is NO bonus for "style" / "nice" / etc.
1 game is 1 game, 1 set is 1 set, and 1 match is 1 match. Not less, not more.

I played during the weekend.
My first match started more or less nicely.
The opponent was running around and hitting nice FH, going for winners, attacking the net.
But then I figured out it was enough to play more often to his FH corner than to his BH corner, cause for some reason he wouldn't try to crush every ball from FH corner, and then having to cover more, he wouldn't try to run around every BH ball, so he actually was playing FH + BH, which probably wasn't part of his plan.
So, at some point in the match, this nice opponent became a pusher. Sending high balls, with little pace to the middle of the court, avoiding mistakes at any cost.
And I did spend more time than needed to win the match, but you know why? it was my mistake.
Instead of doing what I do well in the training, use aggression, I was simply moving him left and right, with placement and moderate pace and depth.
Can't blame my opponent if I myself didn't for clean winners.
 

Tjg

New User
One vital thing you can (or must) learn from pushers is patience. They force you to actually build a point not just hit mindlessly waiting for an error on the other side. Pushers may also force you to learn some new tactics like chip and charge or drop shotting them to the net and them lobbing them.
Yeah, I had to play another one today in the advanced league. The first match I had in the 4.0+ was with someone who actually hit the ball, so I was optimistic it would be more like that...boy was I wrong. Every ball was a 15ft moon, so I couldn’t hit the corner and charge the net we every ball would moon over me. I eventually leaned I had to go corner to corner and wait for him to hit it shallow then put it away.He did not swing hard, so all of his shanks would land in too. It brought my game down so much I kept making stupid mistakes. Luckily I was able to calm down and just start placing the ball to set up a winner. When we where warming up, he was hitting normal, but as soon as we started the match the balls started floating and his back mad turned into ping pong style with his top hand on the neck of the racquet with a weird side slice moon ball. It was exhausting.
 

Tjg

New User
then you are probably doing the wrong thing.
if you want to enjoy tennis, perhaps it's an idea to quit the league and focus on social tennis, where you can select opponents that play a style you would enjoy.

otherwise, in a competitive league, the point is to win.
you either get 1 point for hitting a winner / forcing error from your opponent / waiting till your opponent makes an UO or your opponent gets the point. There is NO bonus for "style" / "nice" / etc.
1 game is 1 game, 1 set is 1 set, and 1 match is 1 match. Not less, not more.

I played during the weekend.
My first match started more or less nicely.
The opponent was running around and hitting nice FH, going for winners, attacking the net.
But then I figured out it was enough to play more often to his FH corner than to his BH corner, cause for some reason he wouldn't try to crush every ball from FH corner, and then having to cover more, he wouldn't try to run around every BH ball, so he actually was playing FH + BH, which probably wasn't part of his plan.
So, at some point in the match, this nice opponent became a pusher. Sending high balls, with little pace to the middle of the court, avoiding mistakes at any cost.
And I did spend more time than needed to win the match, but you know why? it was my mistake.
Instead of doing what I do well in the training, use aggression, I was simply moving him left and right, with placement and moderate pace and depth.
Can't blame my opponent if I myself didn't for clean winners.
Oh really, you get the same amount of points no matter how you win the point?!? Damn, I wish I knew that before I started playing! Thanks for explaining that to me! I wouldn’t have know otherwise!
 

1stVolley

Professional
Yeah, I had to play another one today in the advanced league. The first match I had in the 4.0+ was with someone who actually hit the ball, so I was optimistic it would be more like that...boy was I wrong. Every ball was a 15ft moon, so I couldn’t hit the corner and charge the net we every ball would moon over me. I eventually leaned I had to go corner to corner and wait for him to hit it shallow then put it away.He did not swing hard, so all of his shanks would land in too. It brought my game down so much I kept making stupid mistakes. Luckily I was able to calm down and just start placing the ball to set up a winner. When we where warming up, he was hitting normal, but as soon as we started the match the balls started floating and his back mad turned into ping pong style with his top hand on the neck of the racquet with a weird side slice moon ball. It was exhausting.
This goes to show you how much easier it is to be defensive in tennis than effectively offensive.
 

Tjg

New User
This goes to show you how much easier it is to be defensive in tennis than effectively offensive.
Seriously. I had many chances to finish points, but the frustration kicked in and I kept hitting the ball into the net or long. I just need to practice those shots more.
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
This goes to show you how much easier it is to be defensive in tennis than effectively offensive.
That's certainly true for most players. What's weird is that when I first started playing competitively in high school, the opposite was true for me. I couldn't hit 2 forehands in a row into the court, but I could win points by pressuring the net - I ended up going undefeated in dual matches during my high school career. Now my serve is relatively sucky (kind of sad that my serve was better then after playing for only 2 years than it is now after playing for 30!), so I tend to lean in a more conservative defense-based direction in competition.
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
Oh really, you get the same amount of points no matter how you win the point?!? Damn, I wish I knew that before I started playing! Thanks for explaining that to me! I wouldn’t have know otherwise!
u're welcome.
can give more advise if you need it, in particular on basic things.
 

1stVolley

Professional
That's certainly true for most players. What's weird is that when I first started playing competitively in high school, the opposite was true for me. I couldn't hit 2 forehands in a row into the court, but I could win points by pressuring the net - I ended up going undefeated in dual matches during my high school career. Now my serve is relatively sucky (kind of sad that my serve was better then after playing for only 2 years than it is now after playing for 30!), so I tend to lean in a more conservative defense-based direction in competition.
Don't let that "relatively sucky" serve get away with lowering your game. Video that culprit and start the repair process. It won't hurt quite as bad as doing your taxes. :sneaky:
 

Ruark

Professional
Its frustrating to play some slob chopper who just hits "accidental drop shots" all day. You can beat them, yes, if that's the goal, otherwise I avoid them like the plague.
 
D

DeathStrike

Guest
Its frustrating to play some slob chopper who just hits "accidental drop shots" all day. You can beat them, yes, if that's the goal, otherwise I avoid them like the plague.
That's annoying you force some mutha back with a nice shot they weak ass a return which barely goes over the net and you are forced in do something with the remnants :laughing:

Truth is though getting that one ball back is commendable :unsure:

I used to hate pushers with a vengeance, thought 'they weren't playing tennis correctly' but in reality I wasn't good enough and they knew if they made me play one more shot I'd be blasting it long. Eventually I got good enough/ right string tension and racquet weight etc totally confident in my racquet and what I could do with it. I just viciously went after their backhands with pace/ spin got it kicking up, got that wrist snap/ racquet head speed going and feasted at the net. Sometimes they lobbed me but I called that a fluke and carried on
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I used to view pushers as lollipops ... in fact I still do....

However you can view lollipops in two ways :

1. Sickening candy to be avoided or at best fed to little kids
2. From a medical point of view, suckers can be applied to a wound to help it heal faster

And it's no.2 how you should view them - they can be used to suck away the dead lame parts of your game. Use their ability to get things back to increase your pace and accuracy over time. What better training tool could you have than someone feeding you a constant supply of shots to experiment with! If you do the smart thing and improve those areas, eventually life becomes difficult for them and those lollipops get licked :laughing:
I’ve played matches against guys where I knew that the best chance to ensure victory was to play reactive defensive tennis heavy with moonballs, slices, and lollipop shots to stick to the game plan with focus until the end. After I won, I felt a little dirty. But that feeling wears off by the time I get in the car.
 
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Tjg

New User
I’ve played matches against guys where I knew that the best chance to ensure victory was to play reactive defensive tennis heavy with moonballs and slices, and to stick to the game plan with focus until the end. After I won, I felt a little dirty. But that feeling wears off by the time I get in the car.
I just played a heavy pusher, he was too good at it to play like him. I had to just stick to my plan of hard heavy shots side to side until his moon balls started landing closer and closer to the net then put it away. He got lucky a couple times with his gross “backhand” slice where he would just swipe at the ball while holding the grip and neck of racquet popping the ball straight up and 1ft past the net, but was few and far between. I won, but was exhausting having every point being 10+ shots rallies. Only quick points where on serve. I still made way too many unforced errors. Really need to work on my patience.
 

Tjg

New User
It might be really hard to beat him if he is really expert in accidental drop shots.
Just played someone who did exactly that. The “backhand” slice was more like a ping pong shot holding the grip and racquet neck swiping at the ball, shooting straight up and 1ft past the net. Would also use tactics to
Try and get me mad by tossing the ball 3-4 times before hitting it, going super slow in between each. Would take his sweet time on each changeover trying to stall so we would run out of time before the next court reservation time slot. Never playing that guy again
 

Tjg

New User
Don't let that "relatively sucky" serve get away with lowering your game. Video that culprit and start the repair process. It won't hurt quite as bad as doing your taxes. :sneaky:
Oh it brought my game waaaay down and started losing confidence and my game plummeted to his to where I would just float them back and stand there waiting for it to moon ball back. Was able to snap out of it, but still sucked
 

1stVolley

Professional
Oh it brought my game waaaay down and started losing confidence and my game plummeted to his to where I would just float them back and stand there waiting for it to moon ball back. Was able to snap out of it, but still sucked
Dealing with major surgery on the serve is not easy--that's a colossal understatement. Ultimately, it comes down to what you want more in the "short" term--to win games or fix your serve. Depending on the amount of change required and how quickly you can retrain your muscle memory, this could take a long time.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
I really don't like to feel powerless like a pusher where majority of the shots are just dinking over the net, leaving myself to attack. I think in my gene I'm not suited to be a pusher so I don't do pusher stuff. :p
 

BlueB

Legend
I did a major push/junk job, yesterday. I played a buddy who I normally beat, good player but a bit of a hot head. He's 10 years younger than me, taller, long reach, fast too. However, I'm probably fitter and not slow either.
In the first set it became obvious that nothing worked for me - I couldn't put the first serve in for dear life, my topspin didn't work, nor power control. Lost the first set 6:2... I realised I had to change something. So, I just started hitting slow and flat, loopy when needed, peppered his BH a lot, changing the height and depth, changing direction whenever he ran around the BH, some droppers and slices... Won the 2nd by the skin of my teeth, 7:5, after being down a break. Won the 3rd 6:4. Surely, he hit some nice winners of my slower or shorter balls, but he commited huge number of errors, some unforced, some forced...
I apologised after the match, he said he knew my regular game didn't work and we parted agreeing on a remstch for next week.

Sent from my SM-G965W using Tapatalk
 

WYK

Hall of Fame
Nowadays I would kill to play a pusher. It is the best way to get a lot of practice. Much better than a ball machine.
 
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fundrazer

Legend
Nowadays I would kill to play a pusher. It is the best way to get a lot of practice. Much better than a ball machine.
Depends. The main thing I've struggled with when playing players at similar or higher level is the depth/pace of shot. The pushers don't give you that. For me there's a bit of an adjustment period before I'm used to how a better player's shots come through the court.

@Tjg it's good that you're recognizing effective ways to deal with these guys. I've had my fair share of battles with junkers and moonballers, and one of the epiphanies for me was realizing that they can't hurt me in those types of rallies. It's like you said, play patient, because they're more likely to give up a short attackable ball than you are. This was basically how I went from struggling against this one junkballer to routinely beating him, including multiple bagel sets. Although he's 3.0 or 3.5, not sure.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I played a retriever/pusher in a 4.0 tournament yesterday. I define "pusher" as a person whose primary strategy is to keep the ball in play until the opponent makes an error as opposed to employing an offensive game to end a point. This is broader than than some people who only consider pushers to be the 3.0/3.5 variety "half swing, mid-court bunt" players. The definition I use allows for pushers at every level as long as their primary strategy is to just keep the ball in play.

The guy I played yesterday had consistent, fairly slow pace topspin groundstrokes that didn't put me under a lot of pressure but weren't easy to attack at will, either. I won, but it was a good match because it was a challenge to stay patient and mentally sharp during long points. The kind of player he is, he gives you opportunities to end points, but it's a challenge to make sure to go on the offensive on the right ball and not get impatient and start overhitting and making errors because that's the easiest way to lose a winnable match.

My most successful tactic was to look for a ball during BH to BH rallies to step around and hit a topspin drive inside out into his backhand that was forcing enough to put a little pressure on his next shot but conservative enough to have a lot of margin for error, then take a step inside the baseline and look to hit successive shots slightly more pressing to the BH corner, get slightly shorter returns, and step slightly further into the court with each one. When I could get in a couple feet behind the service line, I would then look to put away the points. It was a great opportunity for me to practice staying mentally focused and patient as a lot of these points would go on 15-20 strokes before I could end them and I had to make sure not to make errors in that time (because he definitely wasn't...). I was very happy with the relatively low number of errors I made and good winner:UFE ratio.
 

fundrazer

Legend
I played a retriever/pusher in a 4.0 tournament yesterday. I define "pusher" as a person whose primary strategy is to keep the ball in play until the opponent makes an error as opposed to employing an offensive game to end a point. This is broader than than some people who only consider pushers to be the 3.0/3.5 variety "half swing, mid-court bunt" players. The definition I use allows for pushers at every level as long as their primary strategy is to just keep the ball in play.

The guy I played yesterday had consistent, fairly slow pace topspin groundstrokes that didn't put me under a lot of pressure but weren't easy to attack at will, either. I won, but it was a good match because it was a challenge to stay patient and mentally sharp during long points. The kind of player he is, he gives you opportunities to end points, but it's a challenge to make sure to go on the offensive on the right ball and not get impatient and start overhitting and making errors because that's the easiest way to lose a winnable match.

My most successful tactic was to look for a ball during BH to BH rallies to step around and hit a topspin drive inside out into his backhand that was forcing enough to put a little pressure on his next shot but conservative enough to have a lot of margin for error, then take a step inside the baseline and look to hit successive shots slightly more pressing to the BH corner, get slightly shorter returns, and step slightly further into the court with each one. When I could get in a couple feet behind the service line, I would then look to put away the points. It was a great opportunity for me to practice staying mentally focused and patient as a lot of these points would go on 15-20 strokes before I could end them and I had to make sure not to make errors in that time (because he definitely wasn't...). I was very happy with the relatively low number of errors I made and good winner:UFE ratio.
Nice. Good luck with the tournament too!
 

blablavla

Hall of Fame
I define "pusher" as a person whose primary strategy is to keep the ball in play until the opponent makes an error as opposed to employing an offensive game to end a point. This is broader than than some people who only consider pushers to be the 3.0/3.5 variety "half swing, mid-court bunt" players. The definition I use allows for pushers at every level as long as their primary strategy is to just keep the ball in play.
by this definition Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Medvedev, Goffin, RBA, and many other top level pro are pushers :)
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
by this definition Djokovic, Nadal, Murray, Medvedev, Goffin, RBA, and many other top level pro are pushers :)
Some are and definitely in specific matchups or gameflow, although I don't think I'd include guys like Djoker or Rafa or Medvedev. They obviously can sustain long rallies, but they look for shots to end points, too. Besides, the point was less about the pros than rec levels. At the pro level, almost everyone can execute any shot or any strategy if necessary, so there are very few pure pushers.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
Some are and definitely in specific matchups or gameflow, although I don't think I'd include guys like Djoker or Rafa or Medvedev. They obviously can sustain long rallies, but they look for shots to end points, too. Besides, the point was less about the pros than rec levels. At the pro level, almost everyone can execute any shot or any strategy if necessary, so there are very few pure pushers.
I think what he is saying is that the term pusher is being too broad, it might as well just don't exist. I also think that if you define it that way, then might as well just say tennis player = pusher

Also changing the definition doesn't resolve the issue of "pusher" of people who don't know how to beat those who simply blunt everything back to the center.

This argument reminds me of observing political campaign and debate. A lot of people have huge ego and are not thinking about what the issue behind those words really mean, but instead focus on what they think the word means to them, which is not solving the issue.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
I think what he is saying is that the term pusher is being too broad, it might as well just don't exist. I also think that if you define it that way, then might as well just say tennis player = pusher

Also changing the definition doesn't resolve the issue of "pusher" of people who don't know how to beat those who simply blunt everything back to the center.

This argument reminds me of observing political campaign and debate. A lot of people have huge ego and are not thinking about what the issue behind those words really mean, but instead focus on what they think the word means to them, which is not solving the issue.
No, definitely not, because there are a lot (most) players at any level who are not just trying to keep the ball in play and wait for errors as a primary strategy. I do not. I look for opportunities where I can attack, and I think most people I run across do that to a certain degree, so just writing it off as "pusher = tennis player" is more than a little disingenuous. The people that play that style can be found at every level (or at least every rec level to avoid the pro conversation), but a pusher at 4.5 can't just bunt the ball back because by that level, the opponent will be able to put it away, so a 4.5 pusher strokes are going to be deep, typically topspin, and never out without doing enough to win a point or put the player into an attacking position. The are plenty of videos that have been posted here of 4.5 level pushers trying to just wear down a 4.5 opponent.
 

CHtennis

Rookie
No, definitely not, because there are a lot (most) players at any level who are not just trying to keep the ball in play and wait for errors as a primary strategy. I do not. I look for opportunities where I can attack, and I think most people I run across do that to a certain degree, so just writing it off as "pusher = tennis player" is more than a little disingenuous. The people that play that style can be found at every level (or at least every rec level to avoid the pro conversation), but a pusher at 4.5 can't just bunt the ball back because by that level, the opponent will be able to put it away, so a 4.5 pusher strokes are going to be deep, typically topspin, and never out without doing enough to win a point or put the player into an attacking position. The are plenty of videos that have been posted here of 4.5 level pushers trying to just wear down a 4.5 opponent.
This is the definition of pusher that I have as well. I do feel like there are pushers at all levels and if you talked with pros I guarantee they will call other players pushers. Again at the pro level they can hit all the shots so at that level it looks a little different but David Ferrer comes to mind as a guy that was going to wear you down and make you miss as opposed to hit a lot of winners. I played with a guy in college who was a pusher, didnt go for offense but had the best passing shots, so it was hard to finish off points against him. However against a 3.5 or something he would not look like a pusher because he could put balls away if they were pretty poor.
 

J_R_B

Hall of Fame
This is the definition of pusher that I have as well. I do feel like there are pushers at all levels and if you talked with pros I guarantee they will call other players pushers. Again at the pro level they can hit all the shots so at that level it looks a little different but David Ferrer comes to mind as a guy that was going to wear you down and make you miss as opposed to hit a lot of winners. I played with a guy in college who was a pusher, didnt go for offense but had the best passing shots, so it was hard to finish off points against him. However against a 3.5 or something he would not look like a pusher because he could put balls away if they were pretty poor.
Yeah, exactly. The guy I played is a 4.0, so he has much more developed strokes than a mid-court bunter, but he spent most of the match trying to hit high bouncing topspin shots to my backhand until I made an error, and he was willing and able to hit as many as it took. I had to figure out some way to develop points and attack to set up winners for myself and not get sucked into his game but also not make too many errors doing so. Some people like to try to find an opening to attack the net against guys like that, but that's not really the strength of my game, so I instead tried to find a shot somewhere in the rally where I could run around the BH and hit an inside out drive back to his BH to try to induce increasingly shorter replies until I was in a position to either put away a sitter or close in on an easy volley. I did it on his second serve, too. He always hit a high bouncing (but slowish pace) kicker to the backhand for a second serve. Once I determined that he never changed it up to the FH on the second, I started taking a step or two to the left during his service motion to get a FH return to smack, even ending up in the middle of the alley on the ad side by the time he hit the serve which was basically daring him to hit down the T instead, but he never did.

It was a good opportunity to test my focus and patience, and it was definitely good for my game to play a match like that, so to me, I don't really understand why people say they don't enjoy playing matches like that since it is a challenge and a skill everyone needs to develop.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
No, definitely not, because there are a lot (most) players at any level who are not just trying to keep the ball in play and wait for errors as a primary strategy. I do not. I look for opportunities where I can attack, and I think most people I run across do that to a certain degree, so just writing it off as "pusher = tennis player" is more than a little disingenuous. The people that play that style can be found at every level (or at least every rec level to avoid the pro conversation), but a pusher at 4.5 can't just bunt the ball back because by that level, the opponent will be able to put it away, so a 4.5 pusher strokes are going to be deep, typically topspin, and never out without doing enough to win a point or put the player into an attacking position. The are plenty of videos that have been posted here of 4.5 level pushers trying to just wear down a 4.5 opponent.
I guess based on your definition the lefty here in this vid based on this point that Ian focuses on is a pusher then? Always hit to one side, waiting for the other side to make an error, bingo a pusher found!!!


But funny enough, sometimes he also shown to setup a point, he can respond to low balls, high balls, serve and serve return really well, maybe he is a pusher but also not a pusher?

But now if you say that lefty has ability and thought of hitting and waiting counts so he is not a pusher, then I can also say that every pusher can also tell you that they are waiting for opportunities to hit winner, it is just so happens that their opponent hit UE before they get the chance to hit those winners or their opponent hit winner before they do.

So your example of: 4.5 level pushers trying to just wear down a 4.5 opponent just doesn't make sense, because by definition, a winner is a winner, but if the other opponent is getting wear down, doesn't that mean the opponent is also a pusher? because both cannot hit winners of each other and none of each other is making error? Oh gosh, mind blown, everyone is a pusher!

By this definition, a none pusher match should ends by aces, becase anything that doesn't ace is a pusher match. Wow, that sounds like my analogy is correct, pusher = tennis player based on this definition.

Anyway, this is just me, but I still stand by my understanding of pusher, which are people who are at near beginner level who cannot control direction, nor top spin, nor knowing how to wait for opportunities, because to them, they just can't even know how to attack or when to attack, therefore bunting everything back is the only working strategy and they can run so they run. So if you have trouble winning pusher with my definition, you just need to get gud!

I think this definition is more meaningful and can help people to get better because now we can classify other mislabeled player into their proper place. For example: Instead of saying pusher, how about junk baller, or maybe lobber who lob and topspin everything, or maybe S&V who is good at volley? Or people who cannot do running forehand or running backhand, or people who can't hit low balls because they always overhit.
 
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CHtennis

Rookie
I guess based on your definition the lefty here in this vid based on this point that Ian focuses on is a pusher then? Always hit to one side, waiting for the other side to make an error, bingo a pusher found!!!


But funny enough, sometimes he also shown to setup a point, he can respond to low balls, high balls, serve and serve return really well, maybe he is a pusher but also not a pusher?

But now if you say that lefty has ability and thought of hitting and waiting counts so he is not a pusher, then I can also say that every pusher can also tell you that they are waiting for opportunities to hit winner, it is just so happens that their opponent hit UE before they get the chance to hit those winners or their opponent hit winner before they do.

So your example of: 4.5 level pushers trying to just wear down a 4.5 opponent just doesn't make sense, because by definition, a winner is a winner, but if the other opponent is getting wear down, doesn't that mean the opponent is also a pusher? because both cannot hit winners of each other and none of each other is making error? Oh gosh, mind blown, everyone is a pusher!

By this definition, a none pusher match should ends by aces, becase anything that doesn't ace is a pusher match. Wow, that sounds like my analogy is correct, pusher = tennis player based on this definition.

Anyway, this is just me, but I still stand by my understanding of pusher, which are people who are at near beginner level who cannot control direction, nor top spin, nor knowing how to wait for opportunities, because to them, they just can't even know how to attack or when to attack, therefore bunting everything back is the only working strategy and they can run so they run. So if you have trouble winning pusher with my definition, you just need to get gud!

I think this definition is more meaningful and can help people to get better because now we can classify other mislabeled player into their proper place. For example: Instead of saying pusher, how about junk baller, or maybe lobber who lob and topspin everything, or maybe S&V who is good at volley? Or people who cannot do running forehand or running backhand, or people who can't hit low balls because they always overhit.
I do agree that what call a "pusher" can be a broad term and hard to exactly pin down. I would be happy to have a consensus agree that your definition is a pusher and then what I think of as a pusher is a passive player that is not looking to end the point.

I use the term "pusher" (or passive player) as someone who does not look to finish much at all. This will look different at each level and a 4.5 pusher would be putting away shots all over the place against a 3.0 player, so they have to be of comparable skill level. However, at the 4.5 level and 5.0 level that I play the pusher will be able to punish a weak reply and finish points but dont do it very often.

I do get your point about everyone being a pusher though, but I do think that we can use the term to mean someone who is mostly looking for the other person to make errors rather than someone who is trying to attack and open a player to be able to finish points.
 
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