Beating the chop shot/ slicer

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
It did not come easy and i realized how effective it was when i started playing doubles a few years ago. at that time i was a mediocre player who struggled with consistency and when playing against this master chopper/slicer (someone nobody who played against would ever call a pusher) i realized how effective this shot was against people who take big long strokes. i bought a ball machine and practiced the living crap out of this shot using my forehand from all different positions on the court (service line and behind). It sounds like at some point i will hit a limit against how high i can climb before i need to alter my tactics. I am not there yet, I love tennis and i love winning. I would much rather win the way (which i in no way shape or form apologize for playing) that get creamed playing as i did before. I can be wrong but i have always thought of a pusher who just focuses on hitting the ball back slowly not offensively waiting to frustrate the opponent into making a mistake. I use my shots to take ownership of the point, apply pressure by moving in. I guess my point is I have played against people that I view as pushers and their game does not resemble mine. that doesn't mean that you wouldn't view me as a pusher. If i am a pusher i would simply say that not all are created the same

It sounds like you have invested a significant amount of time & energy into your game; bravo!

I wanted to comment on one thing you wrote:

"It sounds like at some point i will hit a limit against how high i can climb before i need to alter my tactics. I am not there yet,"

Everyone has a limit. But no one ever reaches it. The vast majority get nowhere near their limit.

I personally believe your style has a lower limit than what Startzel refers to a "proper" technique. My evidence is looking at progressively higher and higher level players.

However, this may be irrelevant to you and your situation; you may be perfectly happy with where you are. Just note that if you have designs on progressing further, you may want to consider adding TS to your game now rather than wait until you get close to your limit because the sooner you begin, the more time you'll have to work on it. It would be unfortunate if you hit your limit, decided to incorporate TS, and then realized your body just wasn't capable of handling the transition.
 

Startzel

Hall of Fame
It sounds like you have invested a significant amount of time & energy into your game; bravo!

I wanted to comment on one thing you wrote:

"It sounds like at some point i will hit a limit against how high i can climb before i need to alter my tactics. I am not there yet,"

Everyone has a limit. But no one ever reaches it. The vast majority get nowhere near their limit.

I personally believe your style has a lower limit than what Startzel refers to a "proper" technique. My evidence is looking at progressively higher and higher level players.

However, this may be irrelevant to you and your situation; you may be perfectly happy with where you are. Just note that if you have designs on progressing further, you may want to consider adding TS to your game now rather than wait until you get close to your limit because the sooner you begin, the more time you'll have to work on it. It would be unfortunate if you hit your limit, decided to incorporate TS, and then realized your body just wasn't capable of handling the transition.

Sounds like he's a 4.5 after just a couple years so sounds like he doesn't need TS.
 

trader14

New User
So how did you do in usta league play?
so in some posts earlier i mentioned that I play in a number of different leagues and win most of my matches. This past year I joined a usta team tennis group where my son goes to college because i thought it would be fun and give me another reason to visit him. Played dubs my first match and dominated and the last 2 weeks I played #1 singles. last week i won 6-2 6-3 and today I won 6-0 6-1. we used playsight so i have some stats from the match: I favor my forehand and when possible i run around my backhand so 88% of my shots were hit with my forehand and of those shots 44% cleared the net between 0-1 ft, 37% 1-2 ft, 19% 2 plus feet wheras my opponent was literally the opposite 43% 2 plus feet over the net and 18% 0-1 ft. 66/87 forehands in, 2100 rpm forehand spin, 70% first serve in avg speed 65 mph with a rpm spin avg of 2148 playsight software.

I kept him off balance by slicing deep to his backhand and forehand which set up drop shots to his fh and bh which created easy lobs or passing shots.

after our match i asked him if he would describe me as a pusher and he said absolutely not, in his mind i pusher is someone who only cares about returning the ball and is on defense (easy returns and lots of lob returns). Most of the time i am able to dictate the point, if i win it is usually off my racquet, not my opponent missing easy shots. I enjoy playing my game the way i do, i understand it is not for everyone or most anyone. I know my strengths and weaknesses and do a better job at most by playing within my game and not trying to do to much. this very much includes my serves. I could serve faster but i am able to place my serve where i want at the speed and spin i hit with and it is more than enough to keep my opponents off balance and allow me to win many points off my serve.
 

trader14

New User
It sounds like you have invested a significant amount of time & energy into your game; bravo!

I wanted to comment on one thing you wrote:

"It sounds like at some point i will hit a limit against how high i can climb before i need to alter my tactics. I am not there yet,"

Everyone has a limit. But no one ever reaches it. The vast majority get nowhere near their limit.

I personally believe your style has a lower limit than what Startzel refers to a "proper" technique. My evidence is looking at progressively higher and higher level players.

However, this may be irrelevant to you and your situation; you may be perfectly happy with where you are. Just note that if you have designs on progressing further, you may want to consider adding TS to your game now rather than wait until you get close to your limit because the sooner you begin, the more time you'll have to work on it. It would be unfortunate if you hit your limit, decided to incorporate TS, and then realized your body just wasn't capable of handling the transition.

I've only been playing for 3 years after 35 years off. I am a singles player who started dubs a few years ago. Each year the level of improvement at least in doubles is documented. I play in a group with roughly 40'ish guys at all skill levels. Scores are kept and the group you play with is based on the ranking. I naturally started near the bottom and worked my way up to the lower level. At last ranking i was one of the top players (#4) in the group with a few players above me. In my opinion a lot of the better tennis players in our town are in our group including a couple of our club pros. In singles folks that would beat and dominate me 2-3 years ago I now dominate (not just beat). I can honestly say except for one of the better pro's in our club and one other person there is nobody whom i've played more than once that i haven't beaten. Some folks who would beat me easily 2 years ago i now also dominate. In a league i was in over the past 3 years i've moved from 4.0 to 4.75 requesting to stay at 4.5 because i don't want to drive an hour for a match. In that league this past summer with roughly 110 people at 4.5 I went 13-1 over the summer and fall losing to a friend of mine who played out of his mind and up to then had never even won a set against me (i lost 5-7 6-7) and finished with the second highest rating as measured by dominance of victory. My chop/slice is more offensive than defensive, it has been described as a side smash. I won my 3rd out of 3 usta matches today 6-0 6-1 and using the playsight software it showed 88% of my shots were forehands and 44% of those shots cleared the net between 1-3 feet. You may or may not be the exception however I haven't encountered many people who can consistently hit great forehands when the ball is coming at them halfway between their ankles and knees and those that could for a period of time, well if we get into a 3rd set those great shots from set 1 become fewer and farther from occurring. I will never settle for where i am, i am always looking at tactics and strategies to improve my game (speed spin placement of serve, better net play). Re topspin, i can hit a topspin shot and it probably accounts for 20% of all my shots, it just isn't as predictable or as reliable to me as a smash chop/slice or effective dropshot. my ts needs work and i would imagine over the winter when i will start doing cardio tennis again I will practice my ts. when playing usta i am playing 3.5, of the guys i know that i beat regularly who are in one of my tennis groups they are mostly 4.0 (there may be some lower and there may be some higher but just speaking for who i know).
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
I've only been playing for 3 years after 35 years off. I am a singles player who started dubs a few years ago.

One posting suggestion: use paragraphs. It makes long, multi-sentence posts easier to read.

Each year the level of improvement at least in doubles is documented. I play in a group with roughly 40'ish guys at all skill levels. Scores are kept and the group you play with is based on the ranking. I naturally started near the bottom and worked my way up to the lower level. At last ranking i was one of the top players (#4) in the group with a few players above me. In my opinion a lot of the better tennis players in our town are in our group including a couple of our club pros. In singles folks that would beat and dominate me 2-3 years ago I now dominate (not just beat). I can honestly say except for one of the better pro's in our club and one other person there is nobody whom i've played more than once that i haven't beaten. Some folks who would beat me easily 2 years ago i now also dominate. In a league i was in over the past 3 years i've moved from 4.0 to 4.75 requesting to stay at 4.5 because i don't want to drive an hour for a match. In that league this past summer with roughly 110 people at 4.5 I went 13-1 over the summer and fall losing to a friend of mine who played out of his mind and up to then had never even won a set against me (i lost 5-7 6-7) and finished with the second highest rating as measured by dominance of victory.
Another suggestion: since almost everyone on this forum goes by USTA NTRP, stop using your league's internal rating. It makes it confusing having to translate back and forth.

If you are winning that frequently and easily, shouldn't you move up so you can find better competition?

My chop/slice is more offensive than defensive, it has been described as a side smash. I won my 3rd out of 3 usta matches today 6-0 6-1 and using the playsight software it showed 88% of my shots were forehands and 44% of those shots cleared the net between 1-3 feet. You may or may not be the exception however I haven't encountered many people who can consistently hit great forehands when the ball is coming at them halfway between their ankles and knees and those that could for a period of time, well if we get into a 3rd set those great shots from set 1 become fewer and farther from occurring.

My own game is actually irrelevant: what's relevant is, as you move up in level and face better competition, you will increasingly encounter people with better and better strokes that CAN handle those shots and even punish them. My suggestion was to work on the TS part now rather than later so you're better prepared for that jump.

I will never settle for where i am, i am always looking at tactics and strategies to improve my game (speed spin placement of serve, better net play).

I like that attitude.

Re topspin, i can hit a topspin shot and it probably accounts for 20% of all my shots, it just isn't as predictable or as reliable to me as a smash chop/slice or effective dropshot. my ts needs work and i would imagine over the winter when i will start doing cardio tennis again I will practice my ts. when playing usta i am playing 3.5, of the guys i know that i beat regularly who are in one of my tennis groups they are mostly 4.0 (there may be some lower and there may be some higher but just speaking for who i know).

If you are regularly beating 4.0s, you should be playing 4.0 at a minimum and perhaps 4.5. If you stay at 3.5, you will just crush lesser competition. Does TLS show that you're likely to get bumped at year-end?

http://tennisleaguestats.com/

Also, @schmke on this list might be able to do an estimate of your rating.
 

trader14

New User
Sounds like he's a 4.5 after just a couple years so sounds like he doesn't need TS.

if talking about me, i've learned a little in the last couple days. I joined usta over the last month to play in a team tennis league. the guy who runs it who also doesn't know me asked me to rate myself as a 3.5 because he runs a 3.5 & 4.0 team and that gives him the flexibility to move me up and down. I've only played 2 singles and 1 dubs match and haven't been challenged in a set. per the playsight terminal during my last usta match i only burned 98 calories, 88% of shots were hit with my fh and 45% of my fh cleared the net between 0-1 feet (6-0 6-1). I logged into my usta account and searched for some of the guys in one of my tennis groups and learned that there is a massive range in 4.0. I play in a competitive league that has roughly 40 people in it playing mostly dubs. I will beat the 3 guys in our group who are 4.0 but I was shocked to see one of our top guys be rated 4.0. his level of play, at least in dubs and quite possibly singles is clearly a notch above where i would rate myself. In other words if i cloned him and cloned myself i wouldn't be shocked if he won 6-2 6-2 or even better. Maybe he's 4.0 because his partner is causing him to lose (i recognized one of the guys who he regularly plays with and he can be erratic) but anytime i've ever played with him i have never lost a set.

played over the weekend and used more ts than usual and had success. my problem is when my opponent who hits 90% ts hits a shot that lands near the service line, it is at least for me so tempting and easy to slice/chip/chop the ball either deep to his bh or hit it shorter close to the sideline at the service line moving him off the court to make a difficult bh. mixing ts with the chop also was helpful because it kept him more off balance (crazy match played 4 sets 2-6 6-1 6-0 1-6)
 

comeback

Hall of Fame
Here's a guy in the blue shorts that slices forehands and backhands..He gives lots of 4.0's fits but can never beat anyone higher
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
One posting suggestion: use paragraphs. It makes long, multi-sentence posts easier to read.
if talking about me, i've learned a little in the last couple days. I joined usta over the last month to play in a team tennis league. the guy who runs it who also doesn't know me asked me to rate myself as a 3.5 because he runs a 3.5 & 4.0 team and that gives him the flexibility to move me up and down. I've only played 2 singles and 1 dubs match and haven't been challenged in a set. per the playsight terminal during my last usta match i only burned 98 calories, 88% of shots were hit with my fh and 45% of my fh cleared the net between 0-1 feet (6-0 6-1). I logged into my usta account and searched for some of the guys in one of my tennis groups and learned that there is a massive range in 4.0. I play in a competitive league that has roughly 40 people in it playing mostly dubs. I will beat the 3 guys in our group who are 4.0 but I was shocked to see one of our top guys be rated 4.0. his level of play, at least in dubs and quite possibly singles is clearly a notch above where i would rate myself. In other words if i cloned him and cloned myself i wouldn't be shocked if he won 6-2 6-2 or even better. Maybe he's 4.0 because his partner is causing him to lose (i recognized one of the guys who he regularly plays with and he can be erratic) but anytime i've ever played with him i have never lost a set.

played over the weekend and used more ts than usual and had success. my problem is when my opponent who hits 90% ts hits a shot that lands near the service line, it is at least for me so tempting and easy to slice/chip/chop the ball either deep to his bh or hit it shorter close to the sideline at the service line moving him off the court to make a difficult bh. mixing ts with the chop also was helpful because it kept him more off balance (crazy match played 4 sets 2-6 6-1 6-0 1-6)
http://onlinewritingtraining.blogspot.com/2012/07/bullet-points-or-prose-in-executive.html

can't read walls of texts... (just mentioning as many people skip over the walls of text, preferring bullet point style of writing)...

Here's a guy in the blue shorts that slices forehands and backhands..He gives lots of 4.0's fits but can never beat anyone higher
i found myself telling the non-chopper:
* attack
* come to net
* etc...
:p
choppers are definitely effective against anyone lacking consistent weapons, and footwork.
occasionally i'll play an all slice game for fun, (ie. for defense practice), it usually doesn't end well for me (my usual opponents attack it after the 2nd or 3rd shot)... works great against 3.5 and 4.0... actually it's *more* effective (against 3.5) than when i'm hitting hard (ie. they can't bunt it back using my own pace, and are now forced to take a bigger swing which they don't have in their repertoire).
 

Startzel

Hall of Fame
Here's a guy in the blue shorts that slices forehands and backhands..He gives lots of 4.0's fits but can never beat anyone higher

This video just makes me tired watching it. Would be awful to play against.

Fortunate he looks slow so the angled shots would beat him.
 
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willeric

Rookie
The video above shows a 3.5 level slicer/chopper. He doesn't have any real weapons. While rare these days, I've seen much higher level players all the way up to ATP pros like Santoro. I watched a cash tournament where there was an older guy that hit unbelievably hard slice serves and his volleys were like bullets.

While I'm not going to give up my topspin, there is a lot to be learned from these players. A lot of them have excellent point construction and know where (and where not) to hit the ball.

 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
This video just makes me tired watching it. Would be awful to play against.

Fortunate he looks slow so the angled shots would beat him.

I had a first last weekend. A player with "traditional strokes" walked of the court in frustration when I went up 3-1. Most opponents take it in stride and use the opportunity for practice against opponents with similar styles. I think this guy could have beaten me with a good strategy and even keel. I was really worried at the beginning of the match, because he has been playing well lately and beating some good opponents.
 

Startzel

Hall of Fame
I had a first last weekend. A player with "traditional strokes" walked of the court in frustration when I went up 3-1. Most opponents take it in stride and use the opportunity for practice against opponents with similar styles. I think this guy could have beaten me with a good strategy and even keel. I was really worried at the beginning of the match, because he has been playing well lately and beating some good opponents.

If it was a practice match I don't blame him as it's a complete waste of time to play a pusher.

In a real match you have a reason to run down the balls. In a practice match it isn't fun to waste your time when you're wanting to enjoy hitting the ball.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
If it was a practice match I don't blame him as it's a complete waste of time to play a pusher.

A practice match against a pusher who is competitive is only a "complete waste of time" if one is certain never to face pushers in competition.

There are lots of pushers in all our local leagues and tourneys at least up to 4.5. In the 3.5 range, roughly half.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
If it was a practice match I don't blame him as it's a complete waste of time to play a pusher.

In a real match you have a reason to run down the balls. In a practice match it isn't fun to waste your time when you're wanting to enjoy hitting the ball.

I can see merit in your opinion to a point. All other things being equal, I'd rather hit against someone who used pace also. However, I don't dislike the pusher style so much that I'd consider it a "waste of time". And I enjoy hitting the ball, even if it comes in with no pace or spin. Besides, I crash the net and I like volleying any kind of incoming shot. True, the great drop shots are usually off of TS but I'm not picky.

Also, in the bigger picture, I have to take all-comers in USTA play so my practice should reflect that. If I refuse to play pushers in practice, I imagine I wouldn't do as well against them in a "real" match because I wouldn't have as much experience.
 

Startzel

Hall of Fame
A practice match against a pusher who is competitive is only a "complete waste of time" if one is certain never to face pushers in competition.

There are lots of pushers in all our local leagues and tourneys at least up to 4.5. In the 3.5 range, roughly half.

i don't really see the need for practicing a pusher. To beat a pusher you just have to play your game. If you start altering your game when playing a push that's when you lose.

When I lose to a push I either just played poorly or the pusher is sandbagging. Practicing a push isn't going to prevent me from having a bad day.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
i don't really see the need for practicing a pusher.

One practices against style X to get used to the style and the tactics used to defeat said style. IMO, it applies to all styles, not just some or most.

To beat a pusher you just have to play your game. If you start altering your game when playing a push that's when you lose.

Simple in theory but in reality, many people have a difficult time with implementing the idea. It's such a common problem that there are whole segments of tennis instruction devoted to it. I don't see nearly as much instruction on how to beat other styles.

I completely agree with your second sentence [unless the person in question is also a great pusher]. But it seems to be the tendency of many players. And if you don't practice against that style, how will you follow through with this advice during a match? You won't. The common response is to push [and lose].

When I lose to a push I either just played poorly or the pusher is sandbagging.

Or your opponent outplayed you.

Practicing a push isn't going to prevent me from having a bad day.

Agreed. Practicing, though, will hopefully decrease the likelihood and number of bad days and it will increase your exposure to that style.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Agreed. Practicing, though, will hopefully decrease the likelihood and number of bad days and it will increase your exposure to that style.

I think most of us prefer to limit our exposure to that style. Tennis is a recreation. We do it for fun. If an opponents style is no fun to play against, why bother?

I'll play pushers when i have to in league and just shake my head after, win or lose. I have no problem saying a pusher is better than me. But I certainly don't want to practice against them. I don't lose to pushers because I don't know how to beat them. I lose to them because they are fitter and more consistent than me. I can correct both those problems without ever facing a pusher in practice.

I'd much rather play against slicers and hard hitters to increase my exposure to those styles. Those people give me fits and are more fun to compete against.
 
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