Discussion in 'Adult League & Tournament Talk' started by tdhawks, Jun 8, 2013.
I kind of have to agree with this to a degree.
That's interesting, because I've also found that to be the case. They are usually patient and extremely mentally tough, so any little thing that disrupts play or tweaks the tempo works to their advantage. Attacking players usually have short attention spans and are easily distracted. Any little thing like a bird chirping or not clearing a ball that's 2 feet from the net might cause a lapse of concentration, a double fault, etc.
I can't agree. Attacking players simply sacrifice consistency for aggression. They make more errors and hit more winners (or force more errors). The higher the level, the more patient and consistent players become, regardless of playing style. I don't think there is a significant difference in concentration and focus, but there is a difference in patience and tactics/strategy. One is not better than the other, just different, as evidenced by having both types of players at each level.
I think he is saying that 'pusher' type players are usually mentally tougher, and I would agree. Of course that's a broad generalization, but still. They know going into the match that it's going to be a war, and are prepared for that, and usually have very good focus. Whereas more aggressive players can sometimes lose (and then regain) focus more often during the course of a match.
I say this as an aggressive player who wishes he was able to maintain a higher level of focus throughout a match :-(
stories of some of my favorite battles with the pushers over the years.
>5 years ago.
>i go out for the jr college team. stupid tournament where you play to 4 determines your spot on the team. i finish in 6 aka last spot.
> after stupid tournament to 4 you play a set with the guy ahead of you. i barely win set to get to 5.
> ask for challenge match to get to 4. coach reluctantly agrees. the guy who is 4, is a complete pusher complete with a lob 2nd serve. i like to hit, try to serve big dont really have a back hand plus weigh 220 (am 6 feet) other guy about 6 feet but in really good shape.
> set begins, its not looking good for me. i am making plenty of errors. HOWEVER i am desperate to move up on the jr college tennis team. i start pushing with him. every rally is 20-30 shot push fest. he pretty much has nothing he is afraid to take net doesn't really do anything with his shots, plus worst for him is he seems to miss before i miss.
> i win get to be 4th on team.
> next story is not pusher story but good story none the less. i am 4th on the team but play 3rd doubles. me and the guy 6ths on team seem to lose every doubles match (competition is like low 3.5 level). somehow coach gets the idea to have me only play singles and have 6th play doubles with the guy 7th on the team who doesn't play at all. 6,7 went to hs together.
> however i wasn't about to take that lying down. i convince the coach for 6,7 to play me and the guy 8th on the team in a doubles match to determine if i get to play doubles at regional or not.
> the guy 8th on the team is almost a beginner with no athletic ability. i teach him how to make serves in the box. we are ready to play.
> i heroically serve huge and make huge forehands and we win in 3 sets. feel like hero. guy 6th on team virtually quits the team.
> another story 2nd year of usta play me vs a pusher. i lose first set 6-0. i cant get a first serve in, i can't make a forehand on the court. its not looking good.
> i summon the pusher inside me that won the challenge match on my jr college team. we have epic pushing battle 2nd set. 30-40 shot rally. however he is stronger than kid i beat in college. he even made some nice forehand returns to close out the set 7-5 to him.
> fast foreward to last year. usta regionals. i think i am best player on the team. usta captain is not as sure because i have lost practice sets to other 2 singles players on the team we all go undefeated in league play. but i have to beg captain to play me first singles at regional. i play pusher.
> he ha lob 2nd serve that gives me flashbacks to jr college. however he is a little better. he has great net game and great put away shots on short balls. its a windy day, i cant make a serve and he double bagels me. i feel rather embarrassed.
Should have taken those college English classes more seriously
Many people have the opinion that anyone more consistent than them is a pusher. I don't buy that, you can be consistent and not be a pusher. Nadal's 3,000+ rpm topspin forehand is very consistent and I'd like to meet the guy who says he pushes it. But I'm not sure it all comes down to a matter of focus. If you're talking about the classic pusher, I'd say that they realize and are aware of their limitations, whereas their opponents don't realize how limited their own games are--which is why they always lose. They think they have more game because they hit harder, but they really don't. You can focus all you want but if you don't realize your own limitations and deficiencies you will still lose. Again, if you can only play well against a player who hits a certain type of ball you're not very good. A good player can beat a pusher.
I agree with some of what you're saying... consistent != pusher, and also, if you can only hit a certain kind of ball, you're not very good.
But I do think that pushers are in general very focused, perhaps because they know that they have to fight for every point. Whereas I find that some aggressive players have the attitude (rightly or wrongly) that the match is on their racquet and that they can turn it on when they need to, and so can afford to drop some unfocused points here and there.
Pushers are generally more consistent than players with different styles at a given USTA level. However, my definition of pusher is more general than that, it's just someone who doesn't rely on pace/topspin to win. Placement/slices/angles/depth/variety and tactics are usually very good for the given level. Interestingly, pace/topspin is what pushers generally have a hard time with, especially against all court players who don't mind going to the net.
Agassi was playing Chang this morning on Tennis Channel. Chang was hitting every groundstroke 6 feet over the net and landing them in the back 3 feet of the court. Almost all were slow pace too. Chang is a pro pusher. You could see the tension this caused in Agassi as he tried to drive them hard and move Chang around. Classic pusher vs hitter. Chang loving it when he sends back another marshmallow and Agassi hating it. In Chang's defense, he was hitting some fairly aggressive serves but in the 4 or so games I watch, I don't think he hit a single groundstroke hard. It was 3 all when I left for work.
I hate playing pushers but you have to respect them.
I don't know whether u need to respect the "pusher", as it's like many other technique/styles of play..
Bottom line they are counting on u getting frustrated and teeing off on some hopeful winners, which can easily become unforced errors..I'm happy to rally 10-20 balls long to then find the ball that I really want to hit.. I don't know if that makes me a pusher?? When I was younger in late teens a 3-4 ball rally was a rariety, as I've grown up, and after a long break from tennis, I realised that most club players wont want to rally for longer than half a dozen shots, it's the consistancy that they have not got! Move them round, hit high to their weaker side, and look for the weak baseline short ball.. It's not rocket science at rec/club level.. At pro level it's another story as the quality and depth and pace of their shots forces u into playing agressive, moonballs wont cut it for the majority of surfaces..
This is where the disconnect is, people have wildly different definitions of the term even.
To me a pusher does NOT have great variety, angles, or placement even. They do not put much spin on the ball (maybe a floaty slice, for sure not a biting one), and they do not place shots, even low-paced ones, near the lines often. Their shots aren't designed to take you out of position or to be in a specific location that you don't like even, they are just designed to get safely back in the court (hence the term PUSH).
To me the the quoted definition from roman is just much too broad, if that is the definition then really there's only 2 types of players, power players and pushers (or maybe 3 with S&Ver). Tennis is much more nuanced than that. A. Radwanska is not a pusher. Chang was/is not a pusher.
Of course, for many the real purpose of the term is to have something negative to call that guy s/he just lost to so they can somehow still feel superior.
I found this thread (from 2005), which has a definition of "pusher" in it that I agree with:
Well, I think there are several categories of pushers also..
The get it back at any cost, to the high deep floating ball, to finally the guy that hits it hard and deep with a truck load of topspin and just waits for the one poor return from your opponent..
Tennis is really war of attrition with good pushers..
Sorry, but pushers like this don't exist at 4.0+, even at 3.5 players with no control over placement/spin are very unusual. Your definition just describes someone who may be athletic, but basically a beginner tennis player, like 3.0 level and below.
That definition may be a bit extreme (I might had minimal crossourt or DTL directional control, but still seldom close to the lines), but the point remains that anyone who is putting heavy spin or pinpoint placement on their shots is *not* merely pushing the ball, imo.
I used to be really impatient, rushing my shots. But now I'm tending more and more to play the average pusher's sitters as I would play balls in drop feed practice. As my fitness improves, so does my patience (and everything else) and pushers provide a great practice setting for both testing and improving my patience, concentration, focus, movement, foot placement, stroke preparation and execution, and recovery.
There are a few archetypal rec level pushers in my league who have really ugly mechanics, but manage to get LOTS of balls back and win matches. I'm looking forward to playing them. God bless the pusher.
I completely agree. It seems like most pushers employ a bunch of bush league mental tactics to through you off. It's fun and satisfying to beat them after they pull that crap though. I had this crazy guy run off the court mid-game when I was serving for the match one time. He didn't come back until about 15 minutes later.
The biggest thing that helped me with pushers was to be aggressive. No, not going for winners on the line, but take away their time. Own the baseline, push them back.
Try drawing them in to see if they can volley. If they can't, enjoy more passing shots than you've ever hit in your life, but if they can, you really just have to focus on taking away every precious millisecond you can without sending yourself into unforced error after unforced error.
Thanks for posting that. That is the real definition. Many on this board misuse the word. To them pusher means someone who doesn't come out of their shoes when they hit a FH and doesn't make enough UEs for them to win the match.
Once you lose and in denial you see what you want to see. Your opponent is always ugly, wrong and doesn't deserve the win.
you mean you hate it when they beat you all the time?
I agree with you that the problem is in the wide range of definitions for "pusher". I also think there is something of a range in skill levels even with the ranks of "pushers". To be a pusher you must have some degree of consistency in getting the ball back or else you are simply a bad player. A beginning player who can do nothing more than get the ball back is not, by definition, a pusher---just a beginning player with very limited shot-making skills.
I do believe there is one constant where pushers are concerned and it is really the only one. Pushers seek to win by playing not to lose; they don't try to win points, they try to extend rallies as long as possible and wait for their opponents to lose them. That's it. If that is your approach to playing matches, you are a pusher. If it isn't, you are not, regardless of your skill level. Some lower-level players may seem to be pushers, but in reality are simply lacking the ability to execute aggressive shots. The true pusher is not defined only by the shots he makes but also by his approach to the game, his mindset. The pusher's mantra is, "I will try to win the match by not losing the match."
On another note, some on here have said players like Chang, Radwanska, and Wozniacki are pusher, while others have ridiculed putting this label on those players. In one sense, though, you could argue that it depends on the level of competition at which they are playing. If Radwanska or Chang were to play a 4.5 player, nobody would call their shots pushing. They only appear so in comparison to the bigger hitters they are playing.
If you are Chang and can't compete with the aggressive play of a Sampras or an Agassi, you would be a fool to try to. You play to your strength, so when he faced a player like that he relied on his very consistent game to keep him in the match and give him a chance to win.
Same is true for Radwanska or Wozniacki when they play Serena or Maria. What they are doing, however, is NOT pushing. They are not simply trying to extend points. Give them an opening and they will finish the point. They just don't have the monster power game to play the more aggressive style and go for broke every point. They rely on their consistency and patience. They are waiting for an opening, not trying to create one like aggressive players do.
Pushers avoid taking risks and play not to lose. To me, that's the one constant factor with all of them.
I think I am posting too much. LOL.
You must not have played too tennis!!!!! Your view is very limited. You don't realize that there are more than one way to win. If you only need to do something very comfortably while your opponent keeps destroying themselves, you're a fool to change your strategy.
whatever you or anyone says, win, not lose, whatever, that's just language. Instead of focusing on reality, you are all preoccupied with labels and terms.
Sorry but I can't make head or tail of what you are writing here. :-?
Don't worry. Keep having fun.
Someone decided to post after a beer pong competition.
Hehe. Didn't know I sounded that crazy. It was very late last night. Oh well .
i just wanna add my experience in a match yesterday.
first time i met a total pusher.
i managed to win 6-2 6-4 but it was the hardest match physically, i have ever played. my habit of sticking to the baseline caused this.
i degraded myself to trading moonballs for "hours".
i probably looked like Michael Chang at the 5th set at RG.
i had to fight physically to just hold on, and really had a tough time surviving this.
i can only say this- i am a 4.0 estimated level player, 4.5 at a good day maybe.
my game had degraded to a 3.5 (as his) because of the loss of energy, causing me to just keeping the ball in.
solution: if i was thinking more practically, my best plan was to slice short and confront the net. he had a hard time dealing with SHORT SLICES but i was too concentrated in holding on.
each time i made a good SHORT slice, he struggled to get it and mostly hit the net.
so in this case, if i had a more controllable short slice, and more confidence in the net, with a clear gameplan, i could have saved myself a LOT of wasted energy, easily taking control of this.
mind you, i was 1-3 at the 2nd set and somehow turned it around.
No offense, but it's difficult for me to imagine you're 4.0-4.5 and can't beat a 3.5 pusher or even super consistent player.
Like you, I most play baseline and all I have to do is hit a lot of crosscourt and dtl shots and the ball eventually goes out of their hand. Plus, I don't see how I (my strategy) "waste" more energy than a pusher. He hits more to the center, ie me having to cover less, and hits slower, ie me not having to rush. Rinse and repeat.
well he managed to hit a lot of angle shots. not hard but my stamina is pathetic atm so my energy went down quickly, while he was in tip top shape. when i did make him run i manged to do what you say.
also take into account i don't have a lot of formal match experience so obviously my nerves and gameplan are downgraded.
Imagine what Serena feels like. Ugh.
Short slice might work if you have that shot, but otherwise just keep patiently pounding deep loopy shots to the pusher's backhand. You will sooner rather than later be rewarded with a nice midcourt sitter to put away.
Same thing. It might work if he has the put away shot.
If he can't put away a midcourt sitter then he is not a 4.0/4.5 as he said in one of his posts.
I actually do believe most 4.0s have problems with 3.5 pushers. 4.0s don't have consistent strokes and a lot of times, I see them play down to the pusher's level.
4.5s should however not have any issues.
Honestly, never understood people who say they are 4.0/4.5 . The gap is huge, much much bigger than 3.5 to 4.0.
I agree. I think the difference between levels increases as you go up the scale. Getting from 2.5 to 3.0 is easy, but getting from 4.0 to 4.5 is a much bigger step. It's like running or swimming races, at first you're able to knock several seconds off your times as you improve but as you move up the ladder being able to take even fractions of a second off gets harder and harder. And those fractions of a second make the difference between first place and 50th. It's the same in tennis. Improving gets harder as you move up, it is not a constant.
Pushers are norm at 3.5/4.0 levels. If you got to 4.0 then you already had great success beating most 3.5 level players, so I don't think 4.0s have problems with 3.5 pushers. However, lot of 4.0s have problems with 4.0 pushers
you guys don't live in Israel, when there are no ratings systems whatsoever. i do my best to learn how to rate myself with lots of reading through here, watching videos, and objectively try to put myself at a decent place so i could participate in the dialogs here.
please don't go into the level discussion. i know it's problematic.
as i said, i'm probably a good 4.0, that at some days scratching 4.5. i don't have a lot of official match experience, therefore atm it downgrades my game a lot.
i was just trying to add some real world match experience to the conversation. try to take it upwards and not making me feel like some idiot who doesn't know what he's doing.
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