Confessions of an ex-pusher

user92626

G.O.A.T.
[Quote- watching Isner serve at that top level is not as interesting as Federer-That is what I said but I'll be more direct. It is boring to watch Isner,He has no other weapons at that level and he either serves well or goes home. I have an opponent who was a college baseball pitcher and has a big serve but seldom wins because he has no other weapons and a "smart" pusher who gets it moves him around and wins all the time.

Yeah I find Isner tennis boring too. On appearance he doesn't look like he's trying. Slow-ish and often letting the ball go by. I love Djokovic and Nadal when he was on. They are like circus jugglers. Never drop the ball!

Federer tennis is more boring than Djokovic and Nadal. His style is to finish points as fast as he can though he does make good shots. He's not a runner, juggler type. It feels too quick and random. Emotionally Federer doesn't look like he's trying. It's not grit!
 

beltsman

G.O.A.T.
Yeah I find Isner tennis boring too. On appearance he doesn't look like he's trying. Slow-ish and often letting the ball go by. I love Djokovic and Nadal when he was on. They are like circus jugglers. Never drop the ball!

Federer tennis is more boring than Djokovic and Nadal. His style is to finish points as fast as he can though he does make good shots. He's not a runner, juggler type. It feels too quick and random. Emotionally Federer doesn't look like he's trying. It's not grit!

Is this post satire? Tennis is not about running and grinding, it's about shotmaking. If you want running matches go watch track & field.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Whatever it is to you, it is not necessarily for me. Can you grasp that much logic?

As for what tennis is to me, I'd say everything. Shots making, running, grinding like you said, can't have one without the others.
 

Ft.S

Semi-Pro
Oh boy, what a frustrating match I had. Lost 6-0, 6-0 to a player overall better than me; however that is not the part that was disappointing.

This was not a sanctioned, ladder or club league match, just a practice round-robin matches we play once a week with the 4.0 group. I am new to the group, so I am getting to know the players, I won sets, but haven't won matches yet. This particular player is closer to 4.5 level with his consistency and lack of errors, and has really good serves and FHs. He has trouble though with my baseline play, so this time around he chose to play as a pusher. I have not yet learned how to effectively deal with low slices consistently and I cannot deal with being pushed around with those short, low-power slice shots, so I struggled mightily. Initially I was upset he played that way, but in truth I was really angry with myself that my biggest weakness was so apparent to him and he knew how to make sure I cannot play my game.

Gosh, I am so frustrated with such simple weakness that I haven't fixed yet; this is my new target: learn to deal with pushers, slices and have multiple game plans :(
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Common sense.

Common sense is not a definition. Probably because common sense is not very common.

Being defensive because you're outmatched makes sense. It's completely different than your main method of attack being pushing no matter your opponent.

OK, I'll buy that. So if you're being defensive because you're outmatched, that's real tennis. But if you're pushing as your main method of play, that's not real tennis? [Going off a previous thread where you stated that pushing was not real tennis; you didn't acknowledge pushing as a defensive mode as being legitimate.]
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Whatever it is to you, it is not necessarily for me. Can you grasp that much logic?

You didn't explicitly state so but I assume you are responding to Startzel. As a clue, let me quote Startzel from a previous thread that seems apropos:

I don't deny there is a difference in opinion. It's just that your opinion is wrong.

Startzel and I were arguing, I believe, over whether pushing was "real tennis". The above quote was in response to me offering my take on the subject.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Oh boy, what a frustrating match I had. Lost 6-0, 6-0 to a player overall better than me; however that is not the part that was disappointing.

This was not a sanctioned, ladder or club league match, just a practice round-robin matches we play once a week with the 4.0 group. I am new to the group, so I am getting to know the players, I won sets, but haven't won matches yet. This particular player is closer to 4.5 level with his consistency and lack of errors, and has really good serves and FHs. He has trouble though with my baseline play, so this time around he chose to play as a pusher. I have not yet learned how to effectively deal with low slices consistently and I cannot deal with being pushed around with those short, low-power slice shots, so I struggled mightily. Initially I was upset he played that way, but in truth I was really angry with myself that my biggest weakness was so apparent to him and he knew how to make sure I cannot play my game.

Gosh, I am so frustrated with such simple weakness that I haven't fixed yet; this is my new target: learn to deal with pushers, slices and have multiple game plans :(

You have a golden opportunity to gauge your progress by playing against this style. Think of how much better a player you will be when you defeat him.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
Yeah I find Isner tennis boring too. On appearance he doesn't look like he's trying. Slow-ish and often letting the ball go by.

I was in Stadium 2 watching Isner v Nishikori and that was definitely not boring: Isner serving 140mph 1sts and 125mph 2nds with Nishikori returning them. Seeing a 140mph serve up close and personal is quite an eye-opener. And he definitely wasn't "slowish" nor was he letting anything go by.

Federer tennis is more boring than Djokovic and Nadal.

I guess it depends on how you define "boring". I think Federer's style is graceful and elegant. I do not find that boring.

His style is to finish points as fast as he can though he does make good shots.

Many players like to finish points as fast as they can; this seems like good strategy if the opportunity is there. Does that mean they are boring also?

He's not a runner, juggler type. It feels too quick and random.

How do you define "random"? If I had to pick an adjective to describe Federer's game, "random" would not be one of them. I see great purpose in his shots. I can't think of many pros who could be described as "random" [maybe Kournakova].

Emotionally Federer doesn't look like he's trying. It's not grit!

Maybe his grit is internal?
 

Max G.

Legend
Just had the pushiest match I've played in a long time. This guy had so much pace and spin on his forehand, and good pace on his backhand and he was also a lefty... I just couldn't do anything with it, couldn't control the ball at all if he ever got a chance to hit a groundstroke. But he was quite inconsistent. So I think like 7 out of every 10 points wound up with me three steps behind the baseline hitting defensive slices off of my backhand or hitting loopy defensive balls with my forehand, hitting everything crosscourt. But not, like, sharp crosscourt, more down the middle than anything. Eventually he'd either make an error or hit a winner. I ended up winning 6-4 6-3.

About the only shots I could be aggressive on were the first shot of the point. I was having a really good serving day (got 3 aces!) and so I would go for my first serve and get some unreturned serves. Also somehow despite being a lefty his serve was pretty poor, so I'd go after the return of serve. But if I didn't force an error immediately with either the serve or the return then I was back to being on defense for the rest of the point, because I just couldn't do anything with his groundstrokes.
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
I was in Stadium 2 watching Isner v Nishikori and that was definitely not boring: Isner serving 140mph 1sts and 125mph 2nds with Nishikori returning them. Seeing a 140mph serve up close and personal is quite an eye-opener. And he definitely wasn't "slowish" nor was he letting anything go by.



I guess it depends on how you define "boring". I think Federer's style is graceful and elegant. I do not find that boring.



Many players like to finish points as fast as they can; this seems like good strategy if the opportunity is there. Does that mean they are boring also?



How do you define "random"? If I had to pick an adjective to describe Federer's game, "random" would not be one of them. I see great purpose in his shots. I can't think of many pros who could be described as "random" [maybe Kournakova].



Maybe his grit is internal?

Yeah...I can see you points. (I'm not blind :)) Though they don't make my points any less valid. Cheerios.
 

Bobs tennis

Semi-Pro
Wow-Now this is getting interesting. I think that there are a lot more (pushers) or what ever it's called on this forum than is being admitted. Reading these last few posts again can't you see how vague the term pusher is becoming. Someone said recently "tennis is like a chess game" Figure out your opponents weakness and use it.....
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
Wow-Now this is getting interesting. I think that there are a lot more (pushers) or what ever it's called on this forum than is being admitted. Reading these last few posts again can't you see how vague the term pusher is becoming. Someone said recently "tennis is like a chess game" Figure out your opponents weakness and use it.....

The term pusher is and has always been very vague. It goes from dinker, to soft hitter, to middle court hitter, to high spinny shotters, to boring winner, to non-pro form player (ironic that this is even used by recreational players!). One thing that's usually true is the label is used by the match loser.
 

Dakota C

Rookie
Alright TT community, I am going to admit something and come clean. I used to be a pusher/junk baller/etc, whatever you want to call it. This was decades ago when I was playing high school and starting to play USTA junior regional tournaments (the system was different back then).

I don't play like that today, because I ultimately realized the limitations of that style of play, and I now play "real tennis", so to speak. But in fact, pushing and junk balling are second nature to me, and I can do it in my sleep. Want to get in a slice, drop shot, lob, etc war? I welcome it. These days I often show up to a match and during warm ups the opponent decides they are not going to trade topspin drives with me and they elect to go the junk ball route only to realize that I can out-junk them all day long.

I guess the point of this post is partly humorous and partly to say that pushing and junk balling are useful skills to have. So don't be a hater. It is especially useful when you can alternate junk balls and "real tennis" shots, keeping your opponent off balance and out of rhythm. But to those of you pushing (you know who you are), I would never try to tell you how to enjoy your hobbie, but if you develop some additional "real tennis" skills, your pushing/junk ball shots can become quite the weapon in rec tennis. However, if that's all you got, good players are going to keep beating you and prevent your advancement.
Definitely agree. Change of pace during a rally is extremely useful, something I make great use of.
 

Shaolin

G.O.A.T.
In coaching tennis for nearly 15 years, people coming to me with steam coming out of their ears and tears down their cheeks because they can't beat their pusher nemesis was one of the most common types of client I had.

There's only two ways to beat a pusher, out-push them (which they probably won't be able to do because it plays into their hands) or step your game up and develop new skill sets to beat them which requires time, effort and a thick skin through the developing process.

There's a reason pushers win as much as they do.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
IMO, pushers (ie. "push/bunt like strokes") are the guardians of the keys to the 4.0 level.
They serve to keep the distribution curve, bell like.
They keep tennis instructors busy and working.
They keep wannabees that can only hit well fed groundstrokes from the center hash mark, from being able to call themselves "tennis players".
They are the destroyers of egos (always stay humble and keep learning!).

We should be honoring pushers throughtout the world, for the service they provide to the tennis community.

To you Sir Pusher, I salute you!
 

Sakkijarvi

Semi-Pro
I define a pusher as someone who gets a sitter ... and just sends it back over the net. Has no serve. Otherwise, is a retriever. Since the OP set this thread up about confessing to be an 'ex pusher', I don't see this is about junkballers, as those guys are more about tripping you up with tricky spins, lobs ... whereas pushers, IMO, wear you out by chasing every ball and never feeding you an unforced error.

Here's the problem I am seeing with the pushers in my age category -- mid 50's. They rely on their LEGS, and do not own anything that would be described as a tennis 'stroke'. Yes, they have a strong mental game, and it appears that they also delight in being present when better athletes beat themselves -- and in my zone, IMO it is not a surprise that 2 of the more prominent practitioners of this style are nerdy types, and public school librarians. Nice guys, but never going to admit their schtick, maybe not even to themselves.

Problem is, when legs start to go ... sans strokes, weapons ... my local pushers have to play older guys, weaker players, and when playing up in skill, or down in age (absent lack of any skill), their once lorded advantage of chasing every ball like a hamster on a wheel ... is, well, it's just over over there. The same players that 'went through them' ... now beat them like a carpet, and do not make any real effort to seek out the experience as it is redundant. Being middle aged men, they are not exactly going to learn any 'new tricks' and just do their style, with diminishing returns ... for good.

So sorry, once I may have 'saluted' pushers ... but once they reach their expiration date - they just seem more like guys that did not want to put in the heavy lifting to learn tennis strokes and took the easy path ... while I was working on my serve and strokes ... and 'pushed' past them as a player .... buh-bye.
 
D

Deleted member 23235

Guest
So sorry, once I may have 'saluted' pushers ... but once they reach their expiration date - they just seem more like guys that did not want to put in the heavy lifting to learn tennis strokes and took the easy path ... while I was working on my serve and strokes ... and 'pushed' past them as a player .... buh-bye.
you're right...
I don't want to play in any way shape or form, like them (other than their tenacity for getting every ball), but i have to appreciate the player they have made me become.
 

Moveforwardalways

Hall of Fame
IMO, pushers (ie. "push/bunt like strokes") are the guardians of the keys to the 4.0 level.
They serve to keep the distribution curve, bell like.
They keep tennis instructors busy and working.
They keep wannabees that can only hit well fed groundstrokes from the center hash mark, from being able to call themselves "tennis players".
They are the destroyers of egos (always stay humble and keep learning!).

We should be honoring pushers throughtout the world, for the service they provide to the tennis community.

To you Sir Pusher, I salute you!

100% true. Pushers are what keep 4.0s and 4.5s from having to play junk tennis. Pusher = king of the 3.5 universe.
 

jm1980

Talk Tennis Guru
I think if we cannot beat a junk baller we're no better than any 3.0 level. However, I have seen couple of 4.0 level pushers and that is an incredible challenge to beat them for me, and I haven't yet. I feel it is part of my learning and experience to deal with such players, and they truly 'push' me to be better all around.
So I guess players who get beat by the likes of Santoro or Niculescu are "no better than any 3.0 level," huh?

I have seen junkballers at basically every level

I am a proud junkballer myself. Mixing up a few slices and droppers can be a pretty effective tactic as opposed to hitting endless topspin groundstrokes
 

Ft.S

Semi-Pro
So I guess players who get beat by the likes of Santoro or Niculescu are "no better than any 3.0 level," huh?

I have seen junkballers at basically every level

I am a proud junkballer myself. Mixing up a few slices and droppers can be a pretty effective tactic as opposed to hitting endless topspin groundstrokes
You certainly have a point, and playing topspin all the time would be boring I suppose too. However, hitting few junk balls here and there would not qualify as a junk baller, right? There are always exceptions and varying degrees to everything, but a junk baller at the core, someone who does not know how to play other varieties of shots, is the type of person I had in my mind when I wrote that.

Overall the theme that seems to be emerging form the thread I think is that we all need to respect pushers at all levels, as hard as that maybe :)
 

jm1980

Talk Tennis Guru
You certainly have a point, and playing topspin all the time would be boring I suppose too. However, hitting few junk balls here and there would not qualify as a junk baller, right? There are always exceptions and varying degrees to everything, but a junk baller at the core, someone who does not know how to play other varieties of shots, is the type of person I had in my mind when I wrote that.

Overall the theme that seems to be emerging form the thread I think is that we all need to respect pushers at all levels, as hard as that maybe :)
I predominantly hit with topspin (probably about 90% of my shots), but I use the slice in neutral and offensive positions. At least to me, that's what a junkballer is.
 

MathGeek

Hall of Fame
100% true. Pushers are what keep 4.0s and 4.5s from having to play junk tennis. Pusher = king of the 3.5 universe.

3.5 ain't a bad universe. Lots of friendly folks. And I wish my pushing and junk balling could get me anywhere near the top.

Good fun and fitness though. Lots of different strokes for different folks.
 

Startzel

Hall of Fame
I predominantly hit with topspin (probably about 90% of my shots), but I use the slice in neutral and offensive positions. At least to me, that's what a junkballer is.

That is not a junkballer. A junkballer one who hits junk most of the time and sprinkles in a topspin shot.
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
That is not a junkballer. A junkballer one who hits junk most of the time and sprinkles in a topspin shot.

Furthermore, I would say a junkballer has a lot more variety than just slice: paceless, moonball, sidespin, flat, etc. Anything to keep you out of a rhythm.
 
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