It’s time we stop bashing “pushers”

jered

Rookie
I regularly play pushers and junk ballers on purpose. Preferably a level or more above me. That style of play is what most people default to in league below 4.5 so it makes sense to practice against it. I enjoy the challenge. Not being able to deal with them is a you problem, not a them problem.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I regularly play pushers and junk ballers on purpose.
I don't know enough guys with those playstyles to play them on purpose. Or at least when I play them socially they don't push. I feel stupid asking them, "Can you play that pushing style you only use in league?"
 

travlerajm

G.O.A.T.
I don't know enough guys with those playstyles to play them on purpose. Or at least when I play them socially they don't push. I feel stupid asking them, "Can you play that pushing style you only use in league?"
Aren’t you in my city? Or are you north of the border?
 

jered

Rookie
I don't know enough guys with those playstyles to play them on purpose. Or at least when I play them socially they don't push. I feel stupid asking them, "Can you play that pushing style you only use in league?"
Yeah, I didn't know those folks either but I just started asking guys who whooped my butt in league if they wanted to hit sometime. They mostly all do want to "play better" but, their definition of playing better centers around consistency and strategy and not stroke mechanics. As a person who obsesses over technical mastery, it's a good lesson that strategy and consistency are just as, if not more, important.
 

Kozzy

Semi-Pro
I'm sure this has already been said, but I totally understand bashing pushers - they can drive you nuts. But, I'm also aware that if I lose to a pusher, that means they are actually better than me at tennis. It is painful to admit that, but it also motivates me to play better, smarter tennis. It is kind of liberating to move beyond obsessing about technical prowess and into becoming a better tennis player. Onward and upward.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
I can retain a certain amount of respect for a "pusher" who is like a backboard but still has a variety of shots.

However, I cannot retain a shred of respect for a "lobber". One who simply hits a lob shot repetitively no matter what.
I hope those people break their legs and can never play again. :mad::p:laughing:
lmao...that's just wrong...lol If you at least respect all forms, you can normally figure out what it takes to beat them and that's what ultimately makes you yourself a great player. I think what it comes to is this. At the end of the day, more people have respect for someone that knocks the hell out of the ball rather than someone who actually constructs points or has a different approach...The basher's approach is to come out and win as quick as possible whereas the so called pusher is trying to keep you out there for as long as possible. I respect both and try to figure out as quick as possible which one you are so I can do the opposite or see if I'm better than you at whatever it is you are trying to do. My general rule is like the other baseball player which is to give you exactly the opposite of whatever it is you like to do. :) You want to be out there for 4 hours...I'm going to try and end points much earlier, but if you want to get it over with, I'm going to make sure we are ordering Pizza to be brought to the courts after the first set that lasts 1.5 hours.lol...and don't get me wrong...I'm not crazy about people that lob for no reason but I look forward to the challenge of making them stop. lol My favorite two lobbing matches where people tried to lob us to no end...I lost one 2 and 2 and it took 2.5 hours(mixed against Dr Lee and his wife in ATL) another I won a men's match in Mobile in a tourney) we won that like 5&5 and it took just as long as we couldn't put away the overheads that night but both matches we tried hitting the ball short and to the middle...the differnce was Lee and his wife could lob a ball that was left short in the court and we really didn't concentrate on leaving it short int he middle as at that time I didn't know to do that. By the time we played that men's match...I did and it worked almost to perfection...if we could've put away the overheads it would've been over much sooner than it was..but I enjoyed both...wife and I still laugh about that mix match. They won city that year at like A-1 and they didn't lose a match all season(Dr Lee and wife).
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Aren’t you in my city? Or are you north of the border?
Great white north. But I have played at the Seattle Tennis Club.

As a person who obsesses over technical mastery, it's a good lesson that strategy and consistency are just as, if not more, important.
Agreed. Although I have to say the only pure pusher I've lost to, beat me with speed rather than consistency and strategy. Kid 30 years my junior, high level soccer player, got to everything and just lofted it back. Tried my usual go to strategy of going to the BH, coming into net and volleying CC. He even got to those. At that point I knew it was going to be a long day at the office. Lost singles in a tie breaker but destroyed him in doubles.

If you at least respect all forms, you can normally figure out what it takes to beat them and that's what ultimately makes you yourself a great player. I think what it comes to is this.
I think that once you've been playing the sport long enough you've seen most everything and have a plan for it. At that point you kind of gravitate to styles you find more fun. I know my attack plan for lob queens and pushers. If my partner also can handle them, we rarely lose to that style.

But its not the same type of game as matches where people are firing returns low over the net, net guys are poaching and feinting, volley wars are happening, you're being challenged by dippers and drives. I get more juiced for those high action matches. Lob fests and error fests are not going to get much adrenalin going, for me at least.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Great white north. But I have played at the Seattle Tennis Club.



Agreed. Although I have to say the only pure pusher I've lost to, beat me with speed rather than consistency and strategy. Kid 30 years my junior, high level soccer player, got to everything and just lofted it back. Tried my usual go to strategy of going to the BH, coming into net and volleying CC. He even got to those. At that point I knew it was going to be a long day at the office. Lost singles in a tie breaker but destroyed him in doubles.



I think that once you've been playing the sport long enough you've seen most everything and have a plan for it. At that point you kind of gravitate to styles you find more fun. I know my attack plan for lob queens and pushers. If my partner also can handle them, we rarely lose to that style.

But its not the same type of game as matches where people are firing returns low over the net, net guys are poaching and feinting, volley wars are happening, you're being challenged by dippers and drives. I get more juiced for those high action matches. Lob fests and error fests are not going to get much adrenalin going, for me at least.
I agree...:) 100 percent. :)
 

sredna42

Hall of Fame
For those complaining that they have trouble having patience while playing pushers who moonball and hit ten easy shots in a row, what do you think will happen if you meet a player who can hit ten good shots in a row with pace/spin/depth? It will be a quick slaughter that will be laughable to watch for any spectators. So, are you saying that you will prefer a 6-0, 6-1 beat down that is over in an hour against a good player with shot-tolerance versus playing a 2-hour tough match with longer rallies against a pusher? The reality is that you are saying that you want to play only other bashers who can hit 2 or 3 hard shots in a row before making an error just like you. If you can’t take control of a long point against a soft-hitting pusher, don’t have any delusions that you can outlast a good player who is equally consistent and can hit hard and deep.

For those complaining about lobs, it means that you hit easy shots that can be lobbed easily which usually means that the level is 4.0 or below. The reason you see more lobs in lower-level tennis is because it is easy to lob those shots and in addition, it is effective because most players at those levels have bad overheads and no confidence to want to hit smashes repeatedly. In contrast, it is very hard to consistently lob deep the hard, heavy shots of advanced players effectively and the first player to throw up a lob usually loses control of the point pattern as most good players have good overheads and love hitting them. In advanced rec/college/pro tennis, you don’t see lobbing used as an offensive strategy and players lob only as a last resort on defense. Lob returns are used more in doubles sometimes at advanced levels, but again mostly against 2nd serves and as a change of pace rather than as a base strategy.

Advanced players don‘t have to make rules about what playing styles they will invite to play socially against - they will invite anyone who is competitive against them and that itself is restrictive as competitive 4.5+ players can be hard to find.

I guess what I am saying is that pushers and constant lobbers who can't hit good shots are pretty much extinct at higher levels of tennis - they are different from defensive counterpunchers who exist at all levels. So, advanced players have disdain for anyone who complains about pushers and lobbers because it usually means that the complainer plays at a low level.
Agreed, but I don't think higher level players feel disdain for people complaining, as they're pretty genuine when venting their frustration, but what can they do? You can offer advice but can't play for them.

It's true too, that pushers don't exist in high levels, because surrendering control of the point with every shot is just suicide against players with strong developed strokes and overheads. One half arsed paddle forehand back to the service line, and it is over. The 5.0 will just crush that ball, or just take control and run them from pillar to post before putting it away.
 
Anybody ever seen competitive "pusher" volleyball? I mean one team just taps the ball over everytime rather than setting it and spiking it? No..you know why...?? because it's boring and nobody wants to play that way
That's not the reason. Beginners play that way because they haven't learned how to pass/set/spike.

Pushing wins in tennis because putting the ball away can be difficult. The defender also gets one bounce.

In VB, people learn fairly quickly how to spike and even if it's not a great spike, it's impossible to cover the entire court, even with 6 players. It's just a lot easier to hit a winner in VB than in tennis, even at the intermediate levels.

You don't see pushing in VB because it doesn't pay.
 
This kind of reminds me of the people that complain about people lobbing in doubles because they are too sorry to drop back and hit an overhead. It makes no sense.
It makes perfect sense to me: the complainer has a weakness and the opponent is exposing that weakness. No one likes having their weaknesses exposed so to soothe the ego, the opponent must be denigrated.

Now, I understand @Dartagnan64's point about what styles he prefers. I'm looking at it from a competitive standpoint which means I have to be ready for any style. If I wanted to have a good hit, I would not want a moonballer. But if I faced that moonballer in a match, I would not moan and complain about his style.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
If you have trouble beating pusher, here is a video to teach you, the simple strategy to beat them is to have footwork and not be lazy.

But if you still have trouble, then you should get a proper coach.


So anyone who complain there are pusher at different level just simply mistaken because at higher level, this slow lob strategy wouldn't work at all.
 
If you have trouble beating pusher, here is a video to teach you, the simple strategy to beat them is to have footwork and not be lazy.
Seems to me the biggest problem is overhitting and making tons of errors, not bad footwork [although that's probably a contributor]. Hitting winners from around the BL, even if inside the BL, is not that easy but people mistakenly perceive that it is and thus fall into the pusher's trap.

I think adjusting one's mentality is critical: he's not going for winners or any higher-risk shots so he can't hurt me. I have to be patient, go aggressively for big targets, and close in where appropriate. Don't try to win the point in one shot.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I think adjusting one's mentality is critical: he's not going for winners or any higher-risk shots so he can't hurt me. I have to be patient, go aggressively for big targets, and close in where appropriate. Don't try to win the point in one shot.
That's the recipe. I usually add the caveat that you go more at their weaker wing to get the short ball. Hit cautiously to their FH, Hit back aggressively to their BH, come in, finish the point with an angled volley. If they start lobbing then only come in to the service line and hit overheads. That's my usual strategy at least.

But it means you do have to develop some skills moreso than the pusher does. At that point you are probably a higher level than them if you can hit to corners aggressively, hit mid court volleys and overheads and volley away balls.

Pushers tend to gravitate to the top half of their level and stay there because the strategy to beat them usually requires more skill than is typically present at that level. If they somehow get rated up, they fall right back down as they can't beat the higher level players who've mastered beating them before. They don't have the versatility and shot making to adjust.
 

pencilcheck

Professional
Seems to me the biggest problem is overhitting and making tons of errors, not bad footwork [although that's probably a contributor]. Hitting winners from around the BL, even if inside the BL, is not that easy but people mistakenly perceive that it is and thus fall into the pusher's trap.

I think adjusting one's mentality is critical: he's not going for winners or any higher-risk shots so he can't hurt me. I have to be patient, go aggressively for big targets, and close in where appropriate. Don't try to win the point in one shot.
In my opinion, if that is the problem, then those people should focus more on consistent control of pace with drills instead of trying to learn too many things like topspin, winner, etc because it is way beyond their level.

In other words, their level is too low to even attempt the tips from the video I posted, they should work on their fundamentals.

I think mini tennis would help a ton, because that's mostly where most people will be hitting with the pusher -- within the baseline
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
"Pushers are the gatekeepers of 4.0." - @NYTA
Yea, but the lower end of 4.5 don't want to see them I can promise you that. lol I'm sure top level 5.0's say that about 4.5's.lol It's all relevant. At the end of the day...as was pointed out earlier. If you are playing a tourney, you'd better be ready for anything because guys that have wheels(speed) are going to put that up against your great serve and backhand and if you don't have patience...walllaahhhh you're out of the tournament....now on the other hand...I also understand if you are going out on a Saturday and you want to play some rec tennis...you may not want to be dropping back hitting overheads from no man's land but as long as you know the difference and are aware of it...you should be good.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
...now on the other hand...I also understand if you are going out on a Saturday and you want to play some rec tennis...you may not want to be dropping back hitting overheads from no man's land but as long as you know the difference and are aware of it...you should be good.
The most fun I have on the tennis court is hitting service aces or hitting overheads. I can never understand why so many players with decent ground strokes suck so badly at hitting overheads and have no confidence to hit them hard.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
The most fun I have on the tennis court is hitting service aces or hitting overheads. I can never understand why so many players with decent ground strokes suck so badly at hitting overheads and have no confidence to hit them hard.
Well...from my stand point...I'm one of those. lol Before my legs got injured I was known for running guys into the hospital...I could hit it all day backhand and forehand and wasn't pushing them either.....lol but truth is 99 percent of the guys had better serves. :) I'd beat them off the ground. I've heard the serve is the hardest shot to master in Tennis...it certainly has been for me but the truth is I've never or rarely taken a basket of balls and went out and tried to really learn. I could out run and out hit so that's what I did. I lost some matches because of it but I won a lot more because of my endurance...and I'll never be what I was obviously, but I'm okay with just beating up on the 50 + guys now. I'll be 52 in about another week. I may change my mind and go and get a better serve but right now...I'm just glad my legs are getting better.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
The most fun I have on the tennis court is hitting service aces or hitting overheads. I can never understand why so many players with decent ground strokes suck so badly at hitting overheads and have no confidence to hit them hard.
Well my reasons are two-fold: Amblyopia and Shoulder Surgery. It's not as easy to hit overheads when you don't have strong binocular vision. It's hard to swing hard when your shoulder's been reconstructed. Not everyone is blessed with the same tools.

Well...from my stand point...I'm one of those. lol Before my legs got injured I was known for running guys into the hospital...I could hit it all day backhand and forehand and wasn't pushing them either.....lol but truth is 99 percent of the guys had better serves. :) I'd beat them off the ground. I've heard the serve is the hardest shot to master in Tennis...it certainly has been for me but the truth is I've never or rarely taken a basket of balls and went out and tried to really learn. I could out run and out hit so that's what I did. I lost some matches because of it but I won a lot more because of my endurance...and I'll never be what I was obviously, but I'm okay with just beating up on the 50 + guys now. I'll be 52 in about another week. I may change my mind and go and get a better serve but right now...I'm just glad my legs are getting better.
Yeah I was a run around the court guy too. But age eventually caught up. Definitely lost some juice in the legs although guys say "You are pretty quick for your age". I'm not anywhere near as fast as the 20 year olds anymore.

There are two routes to take as time wears on. Get better at shotmaking and serving or play more doubles. When I watch the Masters players in tournaments, there are no more bunty jack rabbits. Only the shotmakers and strong servers are winning tournaments in their 70's.
 

leech

Rookie
The most fun I have on the tennis court is hitting service aces or hitting overheads. I can never understand why so many players with decent ground strokes suck so badly at hitting overheads and have no confidence to hit them hard.
A match where player trade aces doesn't sound very fun to me at all. I can't stand watching Isner or Karlovic matches...give me defense and point construction any day!
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
A match where player trade aces doesn't sound very fun to me at all. I can't stand watching Isner or Karlovic matches...give me defense and point construction any day!
Yeah, to me that's no longer tennis and definitely not how the forefathers of the game imagined it. Tennis is best when both double faults and aces are unusual and both players are equal in speed and shotmaking. Then you get some really fun matches.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
A match where player trade aces doesn't sound very fun to me at all. I can't stand watching Isner or Karlovic matches...give me defense and point construction any day!
I said hitting aces myself in rec matches - not watching pros trade aces. I don’t like watching ATP servebots, but dream of being one at the rec level or at least hitting a few aces on big points.
 

hwtaft

New User
Seems to me the biggest problem is overhitting and making tons of errors, not bad footwork [although that's probably a contributor]. Hitting winners from around the BL, even if inside the BL, is not that easy but people mistakenly perceive that it is and thus fall into the pusher's trap.

I think adjusting one's mentality is critical: he's not going for winners or any higher-risk shots so he can't hurt me. I have to be patient, go aggressively for big targets, and close in where appropriate. Don't try to win the point in one shot.
I think this is the biggest change I had to make when playing pushers. When I knew they couldn't hit winners on me I would get too conservative. That would then give them openings for them to put me in bad positions to where they had the advantage.

Now I hit aggressive shots to bigger targets and keep them on the defensive. Sure, I don't hit every shot deep. But the fact you're keeping them on the defense means they're not really ready to attack a shot you leave short.
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
Well my reasons are two-fold: Amblyopia and Shoulder Surgery. It's not as easy to hit overheads when you don't have strong binocular vision. It's hard to swing hard when your shoulder's been reconstructed. Not everyone is blessed with the same tools.



Yeah I was a run around the court guy too. But age eventually caught up. Definitely lost some juice in the legs although guys say "You are pretty quick for your age". I'm not anywhere near as fast as the 20 year olds anymore.

There are two routes to take as time wears on. Get better at shotmaking and serving or play more doubles. When I watch the Masters players in tournaments, there are no more bunty jack rabbits. Only the shotmakers and strong servers are winning tournaments in their 70's.
Well...it's not too late. :) Don't remember how old you said you are, but I'd think we can get a better serve and just learn where not to serve...for instance, I serve a lot down the T on both sides...takes away the angles and many especially the younger ones that try to attact try to hit clean winners and they miss it it on both sides by say 2 inches...lol The angles are gone and many don't realize what's going on. That's another small defense I learned about serving. I don't have the fire power to be kicking people off the court and if you aim for the back hand on a weak second...many will just run around it and kill it off to your backhand side(assuming you are serving in the ad court and you are right handed.) have you all in the doubles alley reaching trying to slice it back.lol . I'm still fast enough where no matter how hard you hit it...it's two steps to the left or right most of the time if you serve down the T. I'm so glad I my hips and quads were not killing me this week when I played singles for the first time in almost a year...I didn't know what to do...so now I'm going to work and get the legs stronger...stop eating bunch of bs and get my **** together. Time to go back out and start ripping some matches up. I just don't have it in me to stop playin singles yet. lol
 

chatt_town

Hall of Fame
If you have trouble beating pusher, here is a video to teach you, the simple strategy to beat them is to have footwork and not be lazy.

But if you still have trouble, then you should get a proper coach.


So anyone who complain there are pusher at different level just simply mistaken because at higher level, this slow lob strategy wouldn't work at all.
I absolutely agree with 100 percent of this, The only thing I'd say to this is about 20 percent of the tennis population will be able to execute that for several reasons...some of the young ones just don't have the patience especially if they played any kind of college tennis...and the other is they are just simply out of shape and aren't in the shape this teacher appears to be in. I can see a guy now carrying 50 or 75 extra pounds...moving his feet for the better part of two hours. lol I love the beginning where he talks about profiling...I do it as soon as we walk out and start hitting...or warming up...and I know many like to play possum but it rarely works with me. :) I'll figure out in the first 3 games what you are good at and what you are not good at...I may not can get to what you are bad at, but I'll at least try to have it figured out. lol That's a great video though.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
Well...it's not too late. :) Don't remember how old you said you are, but I'd think we can get a better serve and just learn where not to serve...for instance, I serve a lot down the T on both sides...takes away the angles and many especially the younger ones that try to attact try to hit clean winners and they miss it it on both sides by say 2 inches...lol The angles are gone and many don't realize what's going on.
Well I'm 55 and have learned the serve placement trick a long time ago since it works so well in doubles. First 4 serves down the T, next two serves out wide, then hit at the BH's until the service game is over. That's my normal routine in serious matches.
 

Johnny505

Rookie
Played against one yesterday, even the warm up was painful, he couldn't hit shots deep enough and the balls bounce twice before reaching me on the baseline. Life is too short.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
We had a local club tournament with both a singles side and a doubles side. I played dubs with a thin, older gentleman with short, continental strokes with pinpoint accuracy and excellent consistency, and also a solid net game. He doesn’t play leagues, but I would estimate a strong 4.0. We got crushed by a 4.5 pair who usually play USTA together. Next up for our 4.5 opponents was a teaching pro who recently finished playing at an unranked D1 school and his 3.5 dad. The kid nearly carried the entire match and he and his dad lost in 2 tiebreakers.

What’s the point of this story? Before his doubles match, the D1 kid played my partner in singles and lost pretty big. He just had no idea how to deal with that style, especially on a slow gritty surface where he couldn’t just power his opponent off the court. “That’s not even tennis!” he griped after his defeat. My partner just kept the ball low, relatively slow, and angled away from the kid and the kid kept losing patience and making errors.
 
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chatt_town

Hall of Fame
I regularly play pushers and junk ballers on purpose. Preferably a level or more above me. That style of play is what most people default to in league below 4.5 so it makes sense to practice against it. I enjoy the challenge. Not being able to deal with them is a you problem, not a them problem.

exactly. Tennis people have more excuses than you can shake a stick at. This is the worst though. "He didn't hit the ball to me that I wanted to hit back". I wonder how long a major leaguers baseball career wouldve lasted if they came in the dugout after striking out and said to the coach...."he was throwing all these balls that were curving and knuckling and didn't know how to throw a fastball *ock high so I couldn't hit it". lol TW needs to link this thread up with my "excuse thread" from a few years ago where we listed some of our favorite excuses for losing. lol
 

pencilcheck

Professional
We had a local club tournament with both a singles side and a doubles side. I played dubs with a thin, older gentleman with short, continental strokes with pinpoint accuracy and excellent consistency, and also a solid net game. He doesn’t play leagues, but I would estimate a strong 4.0. We got crushed by a 4.5 pair who usually play USTA together. Next up for our 4.5 opponents was a teaching pro who recently finished playing at an unranked D1 school and his 3.5 dad. The kid nearly carried the entire match and he and his dad lost in 2 tiebreakers.

What’s the point of this story? Before his doubles match, the D1 kid played my partner in singles and lost pretty big. He just had no idea how to deal with that style, especially on a slow gritty surface where he couldn’t just power his opponent off the court. “That’s not even tennis!” he griped after his defeat. My partner just kept the ball low, relatively slow, and angled away from the kid and the kid kept losing patience and making errors.
That D1 sounds like a bluff rather than being real D1.
 

time_fly

Hall of Fame
Not sure what is the conversion to NTRP is but based on my memory that is roughly a strong 4.5 right? if so that is like D3.
I’m not sure if it has dropped since he left college since obviously he hasn’t played any college matches in a while. But in any event, it doesn’t work like that. College athletic conferences aren’t leagues that you have work up through; he played in a D1 program, but not one of the big elite tennis programs obviously. He was good enough to almost singlehandedly beat a regular USTA 4.5 Court 1 pairing while carrying his 3.5 dad.
 
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