Pushers - what do they get out of the game?

Jake Speeed

Rookie
LOL they push the ball back waiting for an unforced error. Hence the name.
If they are "improving" then why are there no pushers at 5.0 and above? the curve of development (lol) of the pusher hits a sudden brick wall as soon as they meet opposition with reliable stroke mechanics, because they basically cannot play, and surrender the point with every shot to a player with reliable enough shots to simply say "thanks" and begin constructing a winner.
This thread gets done every month, and it is only ever midweek warrior pushers who engage in pilpul to defend to practice of what amounts to ego masturbation which is all pushing is, because there has to be something wrong with you deep down if you are prepared to waste precious hours of your life participating in a sport SIMPLY to win by default because the opposition still cannot play properly, exulting even over besting kids, and at the cost of your own development, and making everyone's evening miserable in the process.

I can beat pushers now pretty comfortably, but watching them beat people by just patting the ball back, in a spectacle that no one enjoys watching, and no one enjoys playing, fist pumping and being exulted when they beat 12 year olds, I came to the conclusion that there is something wrong with them, and that they have some genuine psychological issues around inadequacy, because a normal well adjusted human wouldn't go to such an effort.

But as much as I dislike them, they are a useful tool to develop your game, as they force you to develop reliable strokes, and learn to calmly construct a point.
A bunch to read but worth the trip! Basically "spot on." Kudos.

I came to the conclusion that there is something wrong with them, and that they have some genuine psychological issues around inadequacy, because a normal well adjusted human wouldn't go to such an effort.
I see you've been around, and congratulations on lifting your game beyond the "pusher."

I've noticed pushers do have a tendency to be less human. :)

I've meet many and played many pushers over many years. They generally stay away from players they feel will win.

Thanks for that delightful and informative read. (y)
 
100% agree, he won fair enough ... just seems a very unsatisfying way to win.
I have lost games 2, 1 and felt better after cos I played better, it was close last nigtht 7/5 but what is annoying was the nature of it ...
I remember about 10 years ago meeting a pusher and he was really frustrating, I kept playing him till I learned patience ... and then beat him 6/2 6/2 or similar (looked easy on paper but wasn't) ... played him again and result was similar, I got over it in my head and learned just to keep calm and could beat him - never played him again cos it was no fun and was satisfied that I had beaten him twice.

I am 42 now with a family, I have no time to play this new pusher again as it's no fun, i'd rather play faster attacking lads - even if they lash winners past me it's a lot more fun.
See, if you had written that originally I would have responded with more empathy. But, prima facie, it looked like another "I hate pushers" thread, of which we've seen many.

Your reasoning makes perfect sense and you have cred since you've successfully beaten a pusher in the past [unlike the complainers who never get around to it].

We all have limited time so make it enjoyable!
 

bitcoinoperated

Professional
They lmao at watching people like you beat yourself.

I'm answering your question honestly, I honestly could not enjoy the game like that. Winning some meaningless match to play this way isn't something I care about.
 

movdqa

Talk Tennis Guru
Just lost a really frustrating game to a pusher, had a good lead early on (we only played a set) and he just wore me down ..... everything hit back at a height and slow ....
so so mentally exhausting and frustrating, just waiting for me to make a mistake, which of course I do as I get so f*cking angry!!!

Thing is, how can they enjoy it themselves ?
Is it because it's the only tactic they have ??

I can't imagine a more lousy way to win, i'd rather lose 6/2 6/2 to some attacking player and be able to play well, then win 6/4 7/6 in some negative moon balling borefest!!
I hit for 35 minutes today against this style of play. Fine with me. Lots of high, soft balls mixed in with some hard, flat shots and topspin shots. I just focused on footwork and watching the ball and hit high toppers back mixed in with some slices. I generally hit the ball back to him though not all the time.

How do you enjoy it? Consider it a contest where you are trying to play your steadiest tennis with good footwork, form, preparation and watching the ball. That's the challenge - consistency and patience.

Checkout old matches between Vilas and Borg or Solomon and anyone else. If you can blow someone off the court - then by all means. But it's a good skill to be able to play a patient, consistent match as well.
 

HuusHould

Professional
I remember in Vic Bradens tennis instructional "tennis 2000" he outlined his idea of the different tennis personalities. Pushers are comorbid masochist/sadists who derive a perverse satisfaction out of both players suffering.
 

zipplock

Hall of Fame
I dont have anything against pushers. However I also dont get how they can enjoy that type of tennis.
For me tennis is all about building points, opening the court, using your creativity and shot selection to outplay the opponent, using tricks like deopshots, pulling him to the net, using combinations... its almost like chess, a thinking and creative game.

So I really dont understand what the point is to not do any of that but just push the ball in play point after point after point after point..

The only thing that makes sense is that they dont really play for fun and enjoyment of tennis but their sole and main goal and purpose of playing is to win matches nothing else, doesnt matter how or if they enjoy or have fun doing it.
Occasionally I have junkball-pushed a junkball-pusher, throwing up super high lobs to make moonballs look tame. Then I am asked why I "stopped playing normal". Then I chuckle.
 

Vanhalen

Professional
I used to enjoy playing the tall s and v guy and smacking passing shots by him. Now in my older age, I enjoy making and watching people self implode with my nasty drop shots, lobs, soft shots....oh....I could go on.
 

Morch Us

Professional
This does get answered pretty much on every pusher thread. There are pushers at ALL levels, it is just that they don't match your definsiion of pusher, since you are for sure below 5.0 (otherwise you would not have claimed this), and you will see a 5.5 pusher as a non-pusher. But a 5.0 player would see him as a "pusher". It is ALL relative and subjective. And yes it is so frustrating at ANY level to lose to a pusher (since you feel like match was lost/stolen from your own hands by your own mistakes).

The terminology pusher exists just as an excuse to satisfy the ego when you lose to someone with less appealing strokes. The correct terminology is "defensive style player". They usually hit less number of winners and less number of unforced errors. Ball bashers also exist at all levels and they hit large number of winners and large number of unforced errors. Of course, based on match results, and how well they did that day, there will be some variance. Also some players do switch modes based on opponents.

why are there no pushers at 5.0 and above?
 
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LOL they push the ball back waiting for an unforced error. Hence the name.
If they are "improving" then why are there no pushers at 5.0 and above? the curve of development (lol) of the pusher hits a sudden brick wall as soon as they meet opposition with reliable stroke mechanics, because they basically cannot play, and surrender the point with every shot to a player with reliable enough shots to simply say "thanks" and begin constructing a winner.
This thread gets done every month, and it is only ever midweek warrior pushers who engage in pilpul to defend to practice of what amounts to ego masturbation which is all pushing is, because there has to be something wrong with you deep down if you are prepared to waste precious hours of your life participating in a sport SIMPLY to win by default because the opposition still cannot play properly, exulting even over besting kids, and at the cost of your own development, and making everyone's evening miserable in the process.

I can beat pushers now pretty comfortably, but watching them beat people by just patting the ball back, in a spectacle that no one enjoys watching, and no one enjoys playing, fist pumping and being exulted when they beat 12 year olds, I came to the conclusion that there is something wrong with them, and that they have some genuine psychological issues around inadequacy, because a normal well adjusted human wouldn't go to such an effort.

But as much as I dislike them, they are a useful tool to develop your game, as they force you to develop reliable strokes, and learn to calmly construct a point.
I don't think what you wrote correlates with what you quoted. Unless you wildly misinterpreted my post. What I said is that if you only work on getting your strokes to look prettier, don't be surprised when someone brings a more "tactical" approach to the table and you can't figure it out, because you have neglected a huge part of what this game is about. Simply put, if you walk out of that court focusing on how ugly the other guy played instead of why you couldn't win that one when you have theoretically better strokes, you are bound to never learn anything and lose every time.

To me there are different types of pushers. There are really good ones, who have solid mechanics but choose to just re-direct pace and play well placed, high percentage shots. The guy from your avatar could play that game when he needed to and was awesome at it (no, I don't consider Nalbandian a "pusher").

The kid part I've never seen, but I would agree that an adult psyching out kids has issues.
 

Morch Us

Professional
Contrary to the argument, pushers depend heavily on this creative chess game to play their matches. A lot more than any other style of play. Strategy is their main weapon. They do notice a lot more than their opponent on who is doing what to whom, and is very situational aware. Of course how much awareness/strategy depends on level of play. If you are doubtful, just have an open conversation with a pusher when you play him next time. If he is open, he will clearly tell you what he is trying to do strategically, and he probably know your weaknesses better than you.

its almost like chess, a thinking and creative game.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
You guys are giving pushers too much credit, like they have some sort of above average "awareness/strategy" or creativeness.

Pushers simply vanquish once you could hit the ball semi-well and semi-consistent. That is, if you could hit 5, 7 or 10 shots fairly well to construct the point over half of the time. Leave the other half of the time for random luck, random craps which no one can control.

Pushing is easy and can be very addictive, like you're in a trance. It's simple playing and thinking. Run, hit, run hit. Hit where the opponent is not at or simply hit. Don't miss. This would destroy the lot of you that overthink the game and get ahead of your capability and screw up.
 

r2473

G.O.A.T.
You guys are giving pushers too much credit, like they have some sort of above average "awareness/strategy" or creativeness.

Pushers simply vanquish once you could hit the ball semi-well and semi-consistent. That is, if you could hit 5, 7 or 10 shots fairly well to construct the point over half of the time. Leave the other half of the time for random luck, random craps which no one can control.

Pushing is easy and can be very addictive, like you're in a trance. It's simple playing and thinking. Run, hit, run hit. Hit where the opponent is not at or simply hit. Don't miss. This would destroy the lot of you that overthink the game and get ahead of your capability and screw up.
Could you beat green shirt guy?
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
@r2473

This is the style that I dread. They're fast and their balls are fast and going to sidelines and corners.


GSG's style is user92626-friendly!






How come they're all rated 4.5 but seem vastly different? Or do you think their levels are the same and result can be a toss up? GSG vs those guys above.
 

Kenten123

New User
Just lost a really frustrating game to a pusher, had a good lead early on (we only played a set) and he just wore me down ..... everything hit back at a height and slow ....
so so mentally exhausting and frustrating, just waiting for me to make a mistake, which of course I do as I get so f*cking angry!!!

Thing is, how can they enjoy it themselves ?
Is it because it's the only tactic they have ??

I can't imagine a more lousy way to win, i'd rather lose 6/2 6/2 to some attacking player and be able to play well, then win 6/4 7/6 in some negative moon balling borefest!!
Tennis is a sport. I don't enjoy playing pushers but at the end of the day who cares how you win. Change your attitude, coming from playing a plethora of other sports I only see pushers as just another opponent. Relish the challenge of playing a playstyle that you struggle with and find a way to win. Just my two cents.
 
How come they're all rated 4.5 but seem vastly different? Or do you think their levels are the same and result can be a toss up? GSG vs those guys above.
Because any NTRP will have variation in skill as well as style.

It would *seem* that either Mark or Scott would have the stroke execution to pummel the type of shot that is GSG's bread and butter. However, both Mark and Scott aren't your garden variety 4.5, from the way I see it. Mark even mentioned that Scott was 5.0 not that long ago.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
I find it more satisfying than trying to wind the opponent up and waiting for him to make mistakes ... oh yeah he was under arm serving aswell ... that pissed me right off ...
The problem is you are upset that the pusher’s fun style is giving him wins over your fun style. So you are trying to tear him down by saying that he really can’t be having fun playing that way. Isn’t that arrogance on your part, even though you might not be realizing it?

Is wins/losses that important or even relevant in the grand scheme of things? So you learn to beat the pushers at your level and advance to the next. Then what? Unless you are an elite player there will be tons of players better than you. Enjoy the game and enjoy that you are doing it your way
 
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blablavla

Legend
Yes, but they usually can't progress further then 3.5 while you plan long term :)

Besides it's mor fun to live by the sword and die by the sword!
those who hit pace-less moonballs? perhaps.
but pushing is all relative.
look in the ATP top 100, you'll find quite some pushers there
 

Jake Speeed

Rookie
The internet has destroyed tennis instruction.

People, not what I would call "real tennis instructors" needing "showmanship" and new creative "terminology" used for the benefit of getting a "one up" on their internet competition. 15 minutes of fame? But this dribble can be profitable. There are many viewers, aren't there?

Pointless phrases and terms, not to mention "gimmicks" that are really not needed in the "tennis instruction universe" but are used, as I said, strictly for "showmanship." They compete for uniqueness or to offer something different or a best way.

These "bits," in my personal view, create more problems.

I said this in one of my first Posts, that,

"Everyone is an Expert." Not everyone is an Expert unfortunately, but you can dream on. No crime in that because it's up to the "reader" to decide if what they read is "valid." Really?

We see players with valid issues putting up videos and asking for help. Anybody, someone who has never been on a tennis court or ever hit a tennis ball, can go on line, look a bit, listen a bit, and have enough information to reply to a player's request for help. A ten minute Expert.

This is a really bad thing.
 

GuyClinch

Legend
The internet has destroyed tennis instruction.

People, not what I would call "real tennis instructors" needing "showmanship" and new creative "terminology" used for the benefit of getting a "one up" on their internet competition. 15 minutes of fame? But this dribble can be profitable. There are many viewers, aren't there?

Pointless phrases and terms, not to mention "gimmicks" that are really not needed in the "tennis instruction universe" but are used, as I said, strictly for "showmanship." They compete for uniqueness or to offer something different or a best way.

These "bits," in my personal view, create more problems.

I said this in one of my first Posts, that,

"Everyone is an Expert." Not everyone is an Expert unfortunately, but you can dream on. No crime in that because it's up to the "reader" to decide if what they read is "valid." Really?

We see players with valid issues putting up videos and asking for help. Anybody, someone who has never been on a tennis court or ever hit a tennis ball, can go on line, look a bit, listen a bit, and have enough information to reply to a player's request for help. A ten minute Expert.


This is a really bad thing.
Going to have disagree with you there. Youtube alone has given players thousands of hours of teaching information for free - from professional teachers. Now is this forum a great resource? Well only in that it can link back to cool youtube videos and such. But that doesn't invalidate the entire internet.. Internet is built for sharing information. And there are things you can learn about tennis. So its very useful for most players.

And this is true for cooking, golf etc etc.
 
People, not what I would call "real tennis instructors" needing "showmanship" and new creative "terminology" used for the benefit of getting a "one up" on their internet competition.
I agree with that--I find TV commentators adding to the confusion of terminology by using jargon and terms from other sports and laying them onto tennis. Paul Annecone is one I find guilty of this and also Brad Gilbert comes to mind. They sprinkle in jargon not normally associated with tennis in their TV commentary. If I were new to tennis I wouldn't know what they were talking about. It's as if they feel tennis is not worthy of having it's own vocabulary and they have to make associations to "real" sports like football, baseball and basketball. I respect Annecone and Gilbert's knowledge of and achievements in tennis but would appreciate it if they would stick to tennis terminology and not jargon it up with terms from other sports--if I were new to tennis it would just confuse me.
 

Blitzball

Professional
Attitude + Aptitude determine Altitude.

If you go into a match against a pusher and quickly lose your temperament and start mentally cursing the pusher, it's your attitude that needs to be checked. It shows you currently lack the mental resilience to be patient and willing to suffer against a challenging type of player.

Also, we get frustrated with pushers because they are reflecting our own shortcomings in our game or inability to figure out how to make the right adjustment. Drop-shotting out of desperation, not out of proper tactic. Going for bombs on first serve and only making 1 out of 10.. Maybe it's our lack of fitness. Usually it's a combination.

In advice, learn to embrace the challenge. Suffering is integral especially in tennis given its individualistic nature. Patience complements this. But the bulk of the work of beating pushers starts with how you practice. Try to rally 100 balls in a row. But don't only rally--put yourself in pressure situations like tiebreaks. Practice putting away shots. Placing the ball smart, like hitting behind players instead of only to the open court. Hitting your spots on serves. Etc. Champs are made in the off-season. Good luck.
 

JCF

Rookie
What a can of bloody worms I have opened.
For f*cks sake ! I know I lost, I accept that, the man who beat me is the master of tennis he is 100000x my better OK ?

Stop saying I'm on here butthurt cos I lost against a pusher - lads I'm well used to losing, I love losing if I play my best, I never give up and at the end of the day I play the game to keep fit and do my best to win.

I show my opponent respect, shake hands (well tap racquets now :) ) at the end and move on.

My point was ..... I would think that it's not FUN FOR THEM - to win this way, I was looking back at my history (I keep a personal excel) and have done the same myself, I have played cave man tennis as I like to call it to win games and hated it ... I have far more enjoyed games where I lose but we both play good attacking fast tennis ...
But hey maybe they like it , fair enough, some idiots here have said how they like "Jackass" as a source of amusement - sad.

And calling my stupid ??? wtf, yeah that user knows ... whats your problem ? why attack me ?
 

JCF

Rookie
Attitude + Aptitude determine Altitude.

If you go into a match against a pusher and quickly lose your temperament and start mentally cursing the pusher, it's your attitude that needs to be checked. It shows you currently lack the mental resilience to be patient and willing to suffer against a challenging type of player.

Also, we get frustrated with pushers because they are reflecting our own shortcomings in our game or inability to figure out how to make the right adjustment. Drop-shotting out of desperation, not out of proper tactic. Going for bombs on first serve and only making 1 out of 10.. Maybe it's our lack of fitness. Usually it's a combination.

In advice, learn to embrace the challenge. Suffering is integral especially in tennis given its individualistic nature. Patience complements this. But the bulk of the work of beating pushers starts with how you practice. Try to rally 100 balls in a row. But don't only rally--put yourself in pressure situations like tiebreaks. Practice putting away shots. Placing the ball smart, like hitting behind players instead of only to the open court. Hitting your spots on serves. Etc. Champs are made in the off-season. Good luck.
I never mentally curse the pusher, If anything I curse myself for missing easy balls that I would put away easily under other circumstances....

I'm out of practice a bit, I'll build up and challenge him again.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
My point was ..... I would think that it's not FUN FOR THEM - to win this way,
But that’s the point many are making. How do you judge what fun is for the other guy? Maybe making less errors and letting his opponent self destruct is his idea of fun?

You might not understand his mentality just as he might be puzzled by yours and other self styled “play it the right way” guys who self destruct when someone does not supply them pace or put the ball in their hitting zones.

You say that you show respect for your opponent by tapping racquets. Real respect is shown by not coming on the internet and mocking someone’s style of play or questioning whether they are really having fun, after they have beaten you.
 
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GuyClinch

Legend
What a can of bloody worms I have opened.
For f*cks sake ! I know I lost, I accept that, the man who beat me is the master of tennis he is 100000x my better OK ?

Stop saying I'm on here butthurt cos I lost against a pusher - lads I'm well used to losing, I love losing if I play my best, I never give up and at the end of the day I play the game to keep fit and do my best to win.

I show my opponent respect, shake hands (well tap racquets now :) ) at the end and move on.

My point was ..... I would think that it's not FUN FOR THEM - to win this way, I was looking back at my history (I keep a personal excel) and have done the same myself, I have played cave man tennis as I like to call it to win games and hated it ... I have far more enjoyed games where I lose but we both play good attacking fast tennis ...
But hey maybe they like it , fair enough, some idiots here have said how they like "Jackass" as a source of amusement - sad.

And calling my stupid ??? wtf, yeah that user knows ... whats your problem ? why attack me ?
Lot's of players find winning fun. I also agree with the sentiment that pushers are smart players. Pushers are not playing outside their skill level and maximizing their chances of winning.
On any incoming ball you have some kind of decision tree to decide which shot to hit. Pushers choose the decision that nets the most likely chance of winning the point with their skill level.

This is why people get frustrated with pushers - say you get some weak mid court ball. A hitter is going to try to put that ball a way - usually with an angle. But the problem is if he is low level he might miss it 40% of the time and make it 60%. Pusher just says I can hit that back 95% of the time and since there is a 15% chance you will bungle it anyway - I will just do that.

I think a great many pushers take joy in playing in an intelligent way given their skill set. It's like making lemonades out of lemons. I suspect the green shirt guy could fix his technique and play high level 5.0 tennis. But he finds great enjoyment in beating 4.5s with his choice of shots that maximize his current skill level.

I once saw this local squash player who was trying tennis. He was a excellent squash player - so when he played tennis he naturally just sliced everything back forehand and backhand. It was quite effective. A guy like that is trying to maximize his chances.. Can't really blame them - and I bet its alot of fun.
 

Morch Us

Professional
@JCF please know that these kind of comments creates an assumption that you don't respect your opponents style of play, and so the fierce comments in the thread may have to do with the assumption that you are looking down on the fun and achievement of your opponent.

It is of cource fun for them. Why would they continue playing if it is not. You really have to ask them why they enjoy it, and you may get some good insight.
There is a good possibility that your opponent might be having the same doubt, that how you actually enjoy playing it this way, just hitting every second ball to net and outside the court, rather than having some long enjoyable rallies (so that you spend less time picking up random balls). In the end it anyway looks like you did not enjoy the match playing that way.


I would think that it's not FUN FOR THEM
 
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user92626

G.O.A.T.
@JCF please know that these kind of comments creates an assumption that you don't respect your opponents style of play, and so the fierce comments in the thread may have to do with the assumption that you are looking down on the fun and achievement of your opponent.

It is of cource fun for them. Why would they continue playing if it is not. You really have to ask them why they enjoy it, and you may get some good insight.
There is a good possibility that your opponent might be having the same doubt, that how you actually enjoy playing it this way, just hitting every second ball to net and outside the court, rather than having some long enjoyable rallies (so that you spend less time picking up random balls). In the end it anyway looks like you did not enjoy the match playing that way.

Most pushers has to do a lot of hard work, lot of retriving, and really passinate. So it is so cruel even to assume that they are not in it for fun and enjoyment. Of course there are annoying tennis players at any style of play. If you think your opponent is annoying, you should stop playing with them, completely up to you. But going around and looking down on others is not the way to go.
I don't think JCF is capable of such self reflection. Otherwise he wouldn't have asked about pushers.


You know that there's people out there that do not, cannot look inward. They always look outward and blame others. Never take responsibility for their own mistakes, failures.
 
Non-pusher beaten by pusher still thinking he/she is superior ... that is the most amazing thing to me.
To be fair, he didn't say he thought he was superior. He was questioning what pushers got out of the game. Although one might read that in between the lines but that's subjective.
 
Self destruction when things go wrong is very common. Cursing at yourself doesn’t help your situation on the court. I’d suggest you give the inner game of tennis a good read. Lots of stuff there on playing with a quiet mind.
 
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JCF

Rookie
I don't think JCF is capable of such self reflection. Otherwise he wouldn't have asked about pushers.


You know that there's people out there that do not, cannot look inward. They always look outward and blame others. Never take responsibility for their own mistakes, failures.
Where am I blaming him ?

You've been particularly aggressive on this thread, on the attack from the start !
Tell us about yourself, are you a 5.5 player yourself or what ?

And are you this obnoxious and rude in real life ?

or maybe you don't get out much ...
keyboard warrior I imagine ....
 
Where did I say I was superior ?

Back it up ..
I think we read between the lines and assumed this was like so many other threads where questioning the opponent went hand-in-hand with trying to feel superior in order to protect the ego.

I initially assumed that too but changed my views when you added some more relevant info.

But it will be tough convincing some.
 

socallefty

Hall of Fame
I should just recycle these old posts when someone complains about pushers like clockwork every two weeks.

If a player is better than you, then they will beat you whatever their style is. If they serve or return much better or are more consistent than you and you don't have enough weapons to force errors, you will lose more than you win against that opponent. If an opponent is better mentally and strategically and figures out what point patterns work well against you, what serve locations cause you issues, what return position bothers you etc, and you can’t do the same, you will likely lose at all levels.

At lower levels, many players make errors on the run, make errors off low balls and don't have the ability to generate their own pace consistently off slow balls without making a lot of errors. If you don't have good footwork and good top-spin, you will make a lot of errors into the net when you are made to move, when you return low slices and when you are given low-pace balls against a fast opponent who forces you to hit good, deep shots into the corners to end points. Also, lower level players cannot place their serves accurately to take advantage of weaknesses, cannot punish slow serves and do not hit overheads well or volley well - so, they are susceptible to chipped returns, make return errors off fluffball serves and hate lobbers. This is why lower level players struggle against pushers/hackers/junk ballers/lobbers who can exploit these weaknesses and get frustrated. The truth is that their game is full of weaknesses that can be exploited due to lack of technique and footwork primarily and the only opponent they can beat is someone who makes unforced errors more rapidly than they do.

Advanced players at 4.5 and above don’t get frustrated by playing against this junker/pusher style if the other player‘s level is not better than theirs. They can figure out what serves, returns and point patterns bother the opponent and have enough tools to execute a successful game plan. If they still get beaten, they usually accept that the other player was better and don’t go home complaining about the style of the opponent - they know that their weapons plus shot tolerance and mental strength was not good enough on that day. When you play a junkballer/counterpuncher at a higher level, you just have to accept that it will be a longer match with long points and you have to be comfortable finishing points at the net to beat that style of play. If you are a pure baseliner, you will likely have a more difficult struggle even at higher levels.

It is frustrating to play an opponent who is better and who can exploit any weaknesses you have - does it matter if the opponent blows you off the court or if they slice and dice you to death? It is not enjoyable to be beaten soundly by anyone who can force errors from you and who makes it difficult to get errors from them or hit winners against them. If Federer breadsticks or bagels a player, I do not think it will be any less frustrating than being bagelled by Djokovic or Nadal or Gilles Simon or Santoro.

I think advanced players accept more easily that an opponent was better than them when they get beaten soundly as usually they are aware of what point patterns, serve locations etc, caused them issues during the match. They might not have been able to do anything about it, but they know how they got beat by the better player. At lower levels, players don’t even know what their many weaknesses are and what the opponent is doing to exploit them and they are more likely to complain about the opponent‘s style of play, the fact that they had a bad day and a myriad other excuses. If you ask an advanced player why they lost a match, they cane usually explain what happened strategically or on some big points. If you ask a lower-level player, they will usually attribute it to something they did or their own level of play on that day and rarely give credit to their opponent - if they do, it is only to complain about their opponent‘s style of play.

This is part of the learning process in tennis to become a good player. The better you get, you stop complaining about styles of play and you just identify the opponent‘s style of play early in a match and problem-solve to try to beat them. Of course, you accept that some style matchups will cause you more issues than others. Federer couldn’t beat Nadal consistently for a long time and everyone said it is just because it is a bad style matchup (lefty spinny FH to 1H BH) even though Federer had a great record against all other lefthanders. Federer moved to a bigger racquet, improved his BH technique and started hitting his BH more on the rise (like Djokovic with his two-hander) against Nadal and he has been unbeaten outside of clay against him for the last few years even though he is older and slower. It tells you that it is not about bad stylistic matchups, but about level of play and even the greatest players have to sometimes improve their technique and strategy to beat other good opponents. This is true at lower levels too and a recreational player should first try to analyze why they cannot generate pace off slow balls, why they make errors on low balls or when they are made to hit on the run, why they cannot hit great returns off easy serves, why they cannot locate their serves to their opponent‘s weakness, why they cannot put away overheads etc. Then, if they take lessons and improve their technique and footwork, they will start relishing playing opponents who hit slow, serve slow, lob a lot etc.
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.


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 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 because it usually means that the complainer plays at a low level.
I think I’m starting to crack the code of the TTW lingo to describe the three categories of rec players at each level.

1. Hits hard, loses a lot and turns into an error-machine in any serious match - ‘Ball-basher‘ or ‘aggressive baseliner‘ or ’heavy ground-stoker’ or ‘Serious tennis player‘. Seems to describe many TTW posters.
2. Does not hit hard or hits at pace appropriate for level, wins a lot and is consistent - ‘Pusher’
3. Hits hard, wins a lot and is consistent - ‘Sand-bagger’

The first category of player plays with a RF97 or a precisely-matched 360 SW racquet that will help him to improve his game eventually (presumably before his hair turns gray or he goes bald) unlike the ‘mugs’ winning most of their matches with lightweight ‘granny sticks’ that will prevent them from ever improving to the next level.

The second category of player is always described as devilishly fast and does not understand the spirit of how ’true tennis’ should be played. He might be a junker, hacker, moonballer or be able to hit good top-spin only down the middle and can hit 20-25 shots in a rally without missing even though he is always described as having 3.5 level strokes - somehow ‘pushers’ always have magical shot-tolerance powers irrespective of their low level even though they are presumably defending on every ball against the heavy topspin, textbook swing, high-pace balls being hit by our ’serious tennis’ playing poster. Opponent always claims he has no strategy except to wait for their errors - although spectators notice that he can actually locate his serve anywhere within the box, hits short slices/dropshots/lobs and makes his opponent constantly hit shots on the move or draws them to the net and then passes/lobs them.

The third category of player has no business playing at a particular level even though he might have had a computer ranking at that level for a decade and the USTA has never deemed him worthy of being bumped up. He is a sandbagger because ‘I say so‘ - I mean how else could he easily beat me when he is hitting too hard to be a ‘pusher’?

Tongue firmly in cheek:happydevil:
 

Morch Us

Professional
@travlerajm I think you are talking about 4.5+ pushers. 3.5 or below pushers does feel a bit out of place at net. At that level you will often see players running back to baseline after hitting shots from around service line. If you see that then you know it is probably a good strategy to invite them to net and pass.
In my experience, most pushers have good hands at net. They just don’t need to use them often.
 
@JCF.... It’s very frustrating, I do understand. Best thing you can do in this situation is force them to net & blast the ball as hard as you can directly at their body.
I wanted to say give them the Shapavolov/referee treatment also. Started typing it yesterday, but lost my nerve. Glad you had the cojones. It’s perfectly within the rules too. Eyepatches are cool. The guy would thank him later.
 

tonylg

Hall of Fame
Retreating to the baseline after moving forward to return weak Djoko-drops worked ok for Andy Murray in the 2012 US Open Final.
I'm not saying being a one dimensional defensive baseline bot is the wrong choice under current playing conditions. The results clearly prove otherwise.
 

zaph

Professional
Just lost a really frustrating game to a pusher, had a good lead early on (we only played a set) and he just wore me down ..... everything hit back at a height and slow ....
so so mentally exhausting and frustrating, just waiting for me to make a mistake, which of course I do as I get so f*cking angry!!!

Thing is, how can they enjoy it themselves ?
Is it because it's the only tactic they have ??

I can't imagine a more lousy way to win, i'd rather lose 6/2 6/2 to some attacking player and be able to play well, then win 6/4 7/6 in some negative moon balling borefest!!
You sound like a guy I play sometimes. He is great at handling pace, can hit a big forehand and spends all his time practicing against players that feed him pace. Guess what I give him? An endless series of moonballs and loopy serves. Which he obligingly blasts long and into the net. I will stop doing it when he learns how to deal with a moonball properly.

I can hit the ball hard when I want to but I have to admit I do enjoy pushing and slow balling people to death. For a start it isn't as easy as it looks, you have to work hard to run everything down and it is satisfying to somehow manage to block or squash shot a huge shot back that your opponent was certain would be a winner. I once manage to run down a forehand that my opponent had hit at such an angle I had to retrieve it off the next court. The look on his face as it somehow landed just over the net and he lost the point was priceless.

If you us pushers to stop, play better.
 
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