The obvious reason junk ballers are so much better at match play than you are

FiddlerDog

Professional
is they are constantly playing tennis.
Unlike most rec players.

Matches, to be precise.
100% matches.

You never just rally with a junker. You play a match. Always.
Junk ballers can't hit polite easy topspin shots that are convenient for their delusional rallyBot partner.

While rallyBots practice FH and BH, exclusively, the junker practices his entire game every time he steps onto the court.
Serve, serve return, volley, approach, FH, BH, overhead, dropshot, slice. In a word, actual tennis.
Junkers are the opposite of folks who casually rally from the baseline for 2 hours, which has nothing to do with actual tennis.

As they say in poker, If you can't spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.
Anyone who insults the junker as "fake tennis" does not know what real tennis is.
The junker is the real tennis player. That's why he always beats you.

@GSG may confirm. I bet he never does "let's just hit". He only plays matches.
 

socallefty

Legend
Your previous name captured your philosophy more succinctly - TTPS or Time to Play Sets.

You post in many other threads about the value of being coached or doing drills. Yet, you periodically post this kind of post about how it is impossible to beat pushers/junkballers who don’t practice much. Do you have multiple personalities inside you or do you post differently after losing a match to a pusher?

PS: Players struggle against junkballers and pushers if they are not good enough to put away short balls, no pace balls, play the net or struggle against low balls. This comprises the bulk of low level players who don’t have a consistent topspin swing that generates enough pace to bother other low level rec players. They also don’t develop any point building strategy on how to open up gaps on a court or take away time from their opponent. If they develop that along with some putaway power or net play that is consistent against weak balls, they won’t struggle as much against junkballers - unless they meet a junkballer who is above their level.
 
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HuusHould

Professional
I play a guy who can't hit a ball that's easy to return, he seemingly can't sustain a warm up rally of more than a few shots, thinks warming up and drilling are boring, he looks like an easybeat and he's easily the best matchplayer of the people I hit with. He's an aggressive junkballer. Actually that's a bit unfair on another guy I hit with who has a really vicious kick serve and an aggressive eastern grip fh who's about 35/65 percent in matches v the junkballer. I'm about 10/90 in sets and have won a one off set or best of 5 super tiebreaks against him here and there. You have to go way back for a win over 3 sets haha

He's a fantastic heavy slicer of the ball and one of the best drop shotters you'll come across, when he does go over the ball it's super penetrating with little spin. If you have a mediocre kick serve and predictably kick it to his bh, he'll run around it and hit a winner 9 times out of 10. He has a slight roll or aggressive fade fh that are indecipherable until the last minute. His first serve is very difficult to pick and the second ball cramps you until he kicks it and has you reaching for a bh. The shape he gets on a high slice is lethal (bh esp). He has a dead flat Borg bh dtl. So if you run around your bh and don't do enough with it, or if you roll a bh x court attempting to open up the court he'll hit this one (its about 75/25 hit miss, but it's a cannon)

The guy that has success against him has an eastern grip fh that can take and generate pace and he hits it well running around the ball, on the run or stationary. The height and bite he gets on his kick serve makes it nearly impossible to force him to hit a bh on his first ball after the serve. He's solid at the net.
 
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matterer

New User
The guys who lose to junkballers are always those guys with those awful no pace topspin shots. They all aim 5 feet over the net every shot because they're all convinced topspin=moonballs and depth without pace will eventually bother someone. Only time these guys aim low over the net is from their knees, but aim for the stratosphere from the chest for some reason.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
I do agree with the OP's suggestion that there tennis player types. I've identified 3 groups: Those that are happy just "hitting", those that are only happy playing matches and those that like a mix of drills and match play.

The "just hitting" folks often have nicer strokes than the "matches only" folks but often both of these types lose to the middle ground players that both practice and play matches.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Junkers can be tough.
Knew a few who played for money, local court stuff.
Couple guys even went on to USTA 4.5, mid pack.
One guy drop overheads so 2nd bounce was well inside the service box.
Strokes don't win....the player wins.
 

LeeD

Bionic Poster
Knew a former Phillippines Davis Cup player, mid 70's, who could still play at high 4.0.
He barely moved 2 steps, but could cover your 3rd drop shot onwards....and make you run completely off the court with short angles and spin.
 

yessir

Rookie
Your previous name captured your philosophy more succinctly - TTPS or Time to Play Sets.

You post in many other threads about the value of being coached or doing drills. Yet, you periodically post this kind of post about how it is impossible to beat pushers/junkballers who don’t practice much. Do you have multiple personalities inside you or do you post differently after losing a match to a pusher?

PS: Players struggle against junkballers and pushers if they are not good enough to put away short balls, no pace balls, play the net or struggle against low balls. This comprises the bulk of low level players who don’t have a consistent topspin swing that generates enough pace to bother other low level rec players. They also don’t develop any point building strategy on how to open up gaps on a court or take away time from their opponent. If they develop that along with some putaway power or net play that is consistent against weak balls, they won’t struggle as much against junkballers - unless they meet a junkballer who is above their level.
Νο , I believe that despite the hard training he does , he always seem to lose from junkballers. So now he idolizes them in order to not feel bad for himself.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
I think it's more about the replicability of the technique and the higher margin of their shots. An underspin hack is much easier to perform and replicate than a topspin groundstroke. It's much easier to keep the ball in by opening up your racquet face and just dinking than brushing up the ball which requires better timing, contact and a narrower range of racquet angles. Same goes for a smash.

So to me what the junkballer or hacker is exploiting is always your inability to replicate a technique with a steeper learning curve, so at lower levels with the same amount of hours put in he almost always wins because your technique is just not as reliable.

But the returns diminish for the junkballer once both reach a certain level of mastery. Once the topspinner can reliably put most shots away the junkballer's technique and game plan don't work anymore no matter how many more hours he puts in.
 

jz000

Rookie
The key is power n slice backhand.
They can do nothing against a heavy 70mph forehand. It's up to you to end the point.
They can do nothing against a deep low slice, except slice it back. Because they have no power strokes. Just go in and volley.

We aggressive players play just as much, but take longer to learn and succeed.
And probably deteriorate after 50-60s, and will also resort to junk balling/SnV.
 

ZZdark

New User
With junk ballers you have to end the point early and play deep to the corners looking to finish points at the net. They dink you with no pace and shoot the lob when you're at the net/no/man's land to put you in tough positions.


You must play aggressive (not painting lines but hitting deep topspin) and keep up your footwork. If you can successfully navigate the middle area of the court you can hit better angles. Mastering the backhand slice also does wonders for their moonball backhands.


I admit I have troubles with them too but the only way to win is to stay aggressive and go for your shots with 80-85 percent pace. Once YOU start pushing it's game over because they feed off of that and you're in THEIR court.
 

WildVolley

Legend
The awful truth is that most players who only play matches, probably the majority of adult recreational players, aren't very good.

I find that matches are great at emphasizing the holes and weaknesses in my game, but they aren't great for fixing the weaknesses. I can get more repetitions of my weak shot in ten minutes of cooperative practice than in three hours of match play.

I believe that the professionals, who play matches, do drills, and play practice sets, have discovered the best way to hone skills. With busy adults, the practice part normally gets dropped for sets. Nothing wrong with that. But it isn't enough for rapid improvement in my experience.
 

Fintft

Legend
With junk ballers you have to end the point early and play deep to the corners looking to finish points at the net. They dink you with no pace and shoot the lob when you're at the net/no/man's land to put you in tough positions.


You must play aggressive (not painting lines but hitting deep topspin) and keep up your footwork. If you can successfully navigate the middle area of the court you can hit better angles. Mastering the backhand slice also does wonders for their moonball backhands.


I admit I have troubles with them too but the only way to win is to stay aggressive and go for your shots with 80-85 percent pace. Once YOU start pushing it's game over because they feed off of that and you're in THEIR court.
I like your post.
 

zaph

Professional
Junkballers win because they suck players into awkward positions they don't want to be in. Playing an attacking shot off a short ball with allot of backspin at the net is not easy and once the junkballer has their opponent up the court, hitting a weak approach shot. They have them where they want them.

However trying to prevent a junker junking is not easy, at least for a rec player. I play in a league division which is pretty much 100% junkballers. My natural game is to push from the baseline and I quickly learnt that was suicide against these sort of players. So i have been playing very aggressively.

Has it worked? Nah, I have won 2 out of 5. Lost the last match 6-7 3-6. Trying to hit through these players is no easy feat, I can do it some of the time but sustaining it over 3 sets is beyond me. At least doing it consistently.
 

ubercat

Professional
You need a lot of patience. I m what I call an aggressive junkballer. I have a big serve and FH when I choose to use it. And I m old so I junk because it's easier on the body. I play a regular dubs. One of the guys has big TS shots. He s good has an all court game but he loves to hit those. The pattern of Sunday was he would hit hard to my BH and step in looking for the shortball. I would slice or moonball back deep. On the third one he would hulk out often while he was having to move back and smash the net or hit out. I know that guy thinks he s better. Against a good junker you have to enjoy the challenge and settle in for a long day at the office.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
is they are constantly playing tennis.
Unlike most rec players.

Matches, to be precise.
100% matches.

You never just rally with a junker. You play a match. Always.
Junk ballers can't hit polite easy topspin shots that are convenient for their delusional rallyBot partner.

While rallyBots practice FH and BH, exclusively, the junker practices his entire game every time he steps onto the court.
Serve, serve return, volley, approach, FH, BH, overhead, dropshot, slice. In a word, actual tennis.
Junkers are the opposite of folks who casually rally from the baseline for 2 hours, which has nothing to do with actual tennis.

As they say in poker, If you can't spot the sucker in your first half hour at the table, then you ARE the sucker.
Anyone who insults the junker as "fake tennis" does not know what real tennis is.
The junker is the real tennis player. That's why he always beats you.

@GSG may confirm. I bet he never does "let's just hit". He only plays matches.
100%, I think the best training is match play. If you wanna get a new shot technique go hit on the wall, you can get thousands of reps in faster than friendly rallying
 

HuusHould

Professional
The guys who lose to junkballers are always those guys with those awful no pace topspin shots. They all aim 5 feet over the net every shot because they're all convinced topspin=moonballs and depth without pace will eventually bother someone. Only time these guys aim low over the net is from their knees, but aim for the stratosphere from the chest for some reason.
This sounds like a good description of my game haha. Or at least that's the way I started out, when Moya, Ferrerro and Hewitt where at the top of the rankings or thereabouts, this seemed to be the prevailing school of thought. On the synthetic grass that I play on it's a great way to ensure you get hit off the court by your more aggressive opponent. I've gradually tried to change, but once you get used to that conservative mindset, it's difficult to change.
 

HuusHould

Professional
Against a good junker you have to enjoy the challenge and settle in for a long day at the office.
A good junkballer is the player no-one wants to play in the first round. Eg a Santoro or a Hsieh. (Although I guess the same could be be said of the player with big weapons or possibly even the accomplished counterpuncher.)
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
I think it's more about the replicability of the technique and the higher margin of their shots. An underspin hack is much easier to perform and replicate than a topspin groundstroke. It's much easier to keep the ball in by opening up your racquet face and just dinking than brushing up the ball which requires better timing, contact and a narrower range of racquet angles. Same goes for a smash.

So to me what the junkballer or hacker is exploiting is always your inability to replicate a technique with a steeper learning curve, so at lower levels with the same amount of hours put in he almost always wins because your technique is just not as reliable.

But the returns diminish for the junkballer once both reach a certain level of mastery. Once the topspinner can reliably put most shots away the junkballer's technique and game plan don't work anymore no matter how many more hours he puts in.
Agree with 99% of your answer.

The only disagreement I have is that not playing topspin is not junkball. Someone who plays a more old school flatter style with slice on the bh could be a heckuva player who can beat good topspin players. I don’t consider those players as junkball players.

On this forum junkball has come to be synonymous with anyone not playing topspin when IMO it should be more used for players just hitting weird shots that seem to work consistently for them.
 

Clay lover

Hall of Fame
Agree with 99% of your answer.

The only disagreement I have is that not playing topspin is not junkball. Someone who plays a more old school flatter style with slice on the bh could be a heckuva player who can beat good topspin players. I don’t consider those players as junkball players.

On this forum junkball has come to be synonymous with anyone not playing topspin when IMO it should be more used for players just hitting weird shots that seem to work consistently for them.
Oh yes definitely agree. Junkballers should be people who try "weird" shots like constant lobs, short slices, dropshots etc.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
With junk ballers you have to end the point early and play deep to the corners looking to finish points at the net. They dink you with no pace and shoot the lob when you're at the net/no/man's land to put you in tough positions.


You must play aggressive (not painting lines but hitting deep topspin) and keep up your footwork. If you can successfully navigate the middle area of the court you can hit better angles. Mastering the backhand slice also does wonders for their moonball backhands.


I admit I have troubles with them too but the only way to win is to stay aggressive and go for your shots with 80-85 percent pace. Once YOU start pushing it's game over because they feed off of that and you're in THEIR court.
This sounds good but unless you are really good at hitting aggressive shots a good pusher will beat this style most of the time. You are saying to use the strategy that a good pusher is looking for, they want you to go for big shots and play aggressively. If not at a high level this strategy will come up as a loss most of the time.
 

StringSnapper

Hall of Fame
This sounds good but unless you are really good at hitting aggressive shots a good pusher will beat this style most of the time. You are saying to use the strategy that a good pusher is looking for, they want you to go for big shots and play aggressively. If not at a high level this strategy will come up as a loss most of the time.
I feel like why would the game plan change right? Hit deep, wait for a short ball and then pounce

If the opponent wins they were better on the day
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
I feel like why would the game plan change right? Hit deep, wait for a short ball and then pounce

If the opponent wins they were better on the day
This is a good way to go after a very consistent player. But guys that think they are going to blast them off the court and finish points quickly are playing right into what a pusher wants them to do, again it can be done but you have to be very good at hitting aggressive shots and have a good net game to finish the points at the net.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
What's a junk baller?
Somebody that hits with a variety of spins, bounce heights and depths to win matches. Rather than opening court to produce a winning opportunity, they make the opponent screw up giving them difficult balls to hit.

Used to be a baseball term for a pitcher that didn't have a good fastball so he threw a mixture of curveballs, sliders, off speed pitches to get the batters to swing and miss rather than blowing fastballs right past them.
 

70sStrokes

New User
You don’t have to hit every shot big to beat a junkballer but you do have to be able to set up a pattern that you can do time after time at the net and be in shape. If you get to the net behind a well placed shot and can volley halfway decent and can get back for a overhead you don’t have to hit a Federer volley to beat one of these players. The thing is the junker is doing things he can repeat so you have to do the same. A lot of players don’t practice a good slice backhand.
 

user92626

G.O.A.T.
I do agree with the OP's suggestion that there tennis player types. I've identified 3 groups: Those that are happy just "hitting", those that are only happy playing matches and those that like a mix of drills and match play.

The "just hitting" folks often have nicer strokes than the "matches only" folks but often both of these types lose to the middle ground players that both practice and play matches.
There's this guy at our site that your 3 groups don't include him. He'd fit into the 4th group: only happy and pick certain people to play matches with. He was shady AF, calling line balls for both sides to get his way. Naturally he ran into issue with me and been avoiding playing with me since. LOL. I just cannot tolerate blatant BS no matter how many times I remind myself that this is just a stupid rec game!!!! :giggle: :)
 

S&V-not_dead_yet

Talk Tennis Guru
This is what is most intetesting to me. Fiddler was/is TTPS?

THAT clears up some of Fiddler's posts and threads. If true, thank you for pointing that out socal.

"Not sure the point of the post unless it's to take up where TTPS left off by making extreme statements to see how people react."
 

ZZdark

New User
This sounds good but unless you are really good at hitting aggressive shots a good pusher will beat this style most of the time. You are saying to use the strategy that a good pusher is looking for, they want you to go for big shots and play aggressively. If not at a high level this strategy will come up as a loss most of the time.


What's your strategy? Serve and Volley? Start pushing and hope the pusher makes a mistake?


At 4.0/4.5 level which is where I am Serve and Volley is probably more of a liability than what I suggested. Pushers thrive on a 4.0 S/V and just lob you right back. You cannot outpush a pusher. That's sinking to their level and they'll beat you with experience.


What I suggest is the lesser of the 3 evils. You really have no advice other than it's not going to work in your posts.


Staying aggressive means hitting your shots to control the pace of the match. I never said blast them off the court and painting lines. I said stay aggressive and go deep to the corners and finish with the volley. Have to navigate the midrange.
 

ZZdark

New User
This is a good way to go after a very consistent player. But guys that think they are going to blast them off the court and finish points quickly are playing right into what a pusher wants them to do, again it can be done but you have to be very good at hitting aggressive shots and have a good net game to finish the points at the net.

100% criticism 0% advice
 

ZZdark

New User
You need a lot of patience. I m what I call an aggressive junkballer. I have a big serve and FH when I choose to use it. And I m old so I junk because it's easier on the body. I play a regular dubs. One of the guys has big TS shots. He s good has an all court game but he loves to hit those. The pattern of Sunday was he would hit hard to my BH and step in looking for the shortball. I would slice or moonball back deep. On the third one he would hulk out often while he was having to move back and smash the net or hit out. I know that guy thinks he s better. Against a good junker you have to enjoy the challenge and settle in for a long day at the office.

This is prob the best advice on this topic.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
100% criticism 0% advice
Settle down I’m just stating what I have witnessed many times. Generally the guy that try’s to blast the pusher off the court ends up losing. My advise is to have patience and play the points out until you get a higher % shot to attack. Also it definitely helps if you have good approach shots and know how to finish at the net.

Unless the pusher is a level below you or you are on fire that day trying to quickly blast the pusher off the court will result in a loss most of the time.
 

tlm

G.O.A.T.
What's your strategy? Serve and Volley? Start pushing and hope the pusher makes a mistake?


At 4.0/4.5 level which is where I am Serve and Volley is probably more of a liability than what I suggested. Pushers thrive on a 4.0 S/V and just lob you right back. You cannot outpush a pusher. That's sinking to their level and they'll beat you with experience.


What I suggest is the lesser of the 3 evils. You really have no advice other than it's not going to work in your posts.


Staying aggressive means hitting your shots to control the pace of the match. I never said blast them off the court and painting lines. I said stay aggressive and go deep to the corners and finish with the volley. Have to navigate the midrange.
I agree with this strategy.
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
At 4.0/4.5 level which is where I am Serve and Volley is probably more of a liability than what I suggested. Pushers thrive on a 4.0 S/V and just lob you right back. You cannot outpush a pusher. That's sinking to their level and they'll beat you with experience.
It depends on the pusher. I can push back all day against many pushers as their ball doesn't threaten me and it's a nothingburger to just hit it back. Then it's simply a war of patience and I feel comfortable with that game of chicken.

Problem arise when you play a pusher that merely pushes to win but has other shots in his armamentarium. Then if he grows impatient he'll start using those shots and it may turn out he's just a better all round player than you.

There are the "defense wins" pushers that push because they know you'll blow up in a myraid of errors and the "I have no other game" pushers that push because they are limited in their game and this is their only route to victory.
 

Frank Silbermann

Professional
Brent Abel and Jeff Jacklich had a series on YouTube called Gold Ball Hunting, i.e., for people wanting to approach the top in their (advanced) age category. Their philosophy at their high level is:

1. To hit within yourself, i.e. shots you can make ten times in a row.
2. NOT to worry about putting the ball beyond your opponent's reach. They claim that's impossible to guarantee because, no matter how good a shot you hit, if they guess where you're going they can start before you hit it and get their in time to return it.
3. Instead, allow the opponent to touch the ball, but try to hit shots that consistently put him under some stress or pressure.

To me, this is advanced pushing. Because, at low levels, this is what the pusher is doing.

1. He's hitting weak shots up the middle because those are the shots he can make ten times in a row.
2. He's not trying to hit the ball past you.
3. Because you, the low-level player cannot count on making any shot four times in a row, ANY shot he hits that goes in is putting you under stress and pressure.

My conclusion is that all successful tennis players are either playing vastly inferior opponents, or they're doing what constitutes pushing relative to their level of play.

Even Federer and Nadal hit most balls way softer than the maximum of which they are capable.
 
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