Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by Kaptain Karl, Dec 5, 2005.
Anyone want to try to classify the top 10 men and women into these categories?
I might give it a shot later.
Personally, I am a blaster, but if my power game isn't clicking I go baseline machine, but I also throw in some spin doctor junk and can counter-punch effectively if I'm on the defensive.
So not all-court but somewhat well-rounded.
Would someone with a smaller figure be limited to certain playing styles? I just cannot see someone 5'7" blasting away with an opponent over 6'. Extra steps and arm length are also taken into consideration for court coverage.
Should us smaller guys resort to getting our PhD in Spin? Spin Doctor sounds very appealing after reading this post.
sureshs defines not only the Eighth Wonder of The World but also the Seventh Playing Style of Modern Tennis!
1. the angry pusher who believes in conspiracies
2. the fanboy that really only cares about his gear
3. the tormented nut that hits against the wall for hours mumbling to him/herself
4. the college player who did not find a job yet but will spend some free time destroying you
5. the perma-injured, always with a ready excuse
6. The people with better strokes that keep losing to inferior players.
I think those guys become #3
Why bring up Rafa in every thread?
You rang? lol
Today I learned for sure that I am a counter-puncher. I'd never thought about this before, and lately I've had a creeping suspicion that that's what I am.
Some of the blaster stuff rings true, but I'm growing out of it. Fantastic read, this thread :thumbup:
what style do u think Federer is
Ah! The DARK ART of categorising styles of tennis play. I've mulled over this for many a decade and have come to the following conclusion.
Does the player play to WIN? Or does the player play to HAVE FUN?
The player that plays to WIN can be categorised into one universal style. That style will be familiar to fans of Rafa. It is that every tennis match is a problem looking for a solution. The player that finds the solution and plays accordingly to solve the problem wins the match.
The player that plays to HAVE FUN will be categorised by anyone and everyone (including the player them-self) and think that is important. But is it really? I think not ... others may disagree and that's fine too.
(Indeed, winning is often fun, but not all the time. And losing often doesn't matter if you are having fun, but not all the time.)
I thought there were six steps. You only listed three.
“There are no pushers in the pro ranks. None. The Pusher tops out at the 4.0 level.”
Good players make a lot of balls.
It’s hard to beat a decent junior player. Why? They get to the ball and they make the shot, over and over. They often don’t hit very hard, and they almost never have an overpowering serve. But they compete well because of their consistency. Are they pushers? Well, what happens to these players? They soon get taller and stronger, and start hitting all their shots harder. But they don’t lost the instinct to hit the shot in. You no longer play them, because now they are really good players and they are simply out of your league.
What happens if an accomplished player plays someone from a slightly lower level? Even if the accomplished player has had a lay-off and hasn’t played much for a while? The better player usually wins 6-0, 6-1 or 6-2. The levels are close, but the scores are usually one-sided. Why? Because the better player has an instinct for consistency, so the lower player isn’t able to string together four points in each game; even when the lower player is serving.
Because of the tennis scoring system, games are long enough that consistency wins out. And the game is the unit of victory. It isn’t really like boxing, as some people say. Hitting the occasional knockout punch doesn’t lead to victory. Let’s say you can hit a hard forehand and get it in 50% of the time. What is the probability of making four in a row? 6.25 % .
Try this sometime, and see if your game improves: try to make every serve return. Make a mental note of the ones you miss, and why. I think this “tip” can improve the results of almost any player, more than worrying about how many bends are in your arm, whether you pat the dog, or whether you need to change your type of string…( the better the player, the less they change equipment. Pros rarely make a change. Why is this? You would think at their high level of competition, they would benefit from every slight advantage. But they stick with what they are used to, because their priority is consistency.)
And if you focus on making every shot, you can forget about bad line calls, the demeanour of your opponent, your own nerves, and all the other stuff that doesn’t matter. Players will hit winners by you, and it won’t bother you anymore. When you concentrate on making the balls you have a chance at, tennis becomes more enjoyable, and you start beating more opponents.
When Patrick Rafter won the US open in 1998, he made 5 unforced errors in the final. John Isner and Ivo Karlovic are in the top ten in first serve percentage. Are these players a type of pusher, since they lead in consistency?
Consistency wins at all levels. Maybe all successful players have a little pusher in them? There are soft pushers and hard pushers, and then there are players who get beat.
I followed Borg for a long time and while I understand that many would think he was a heavy-topspin baseliner, the truth is that Borg was more an All Court player. He could certainly volley very well. You don't win 5 consecutive Wimbeldon Finals in the late 1970s if you can't volley
If you analyse a lot of the big matches Borg played, Yes! he did play with a lot of topspin, but many of his ground-strokes landed mid-court around the Service line area. (Very different to Nadal, who was landing most of his 2 feet inside the Baseline.). Borg relied on topspin to generate very high bouncing balls on his opponents side of the court. The idea being to grind down the opponent rather than to push him far behind the baseline. Borg's style would not succeed in the modern era because the modern racquet tech would allow those shorter balls to be smacked away for winners.
It's easily forgotten that Borg was an incredible athlete. He had no peer in that regard. He is probably the greatest mover around the court of all time. And that was his main strength. At his peak, he could run down everything and he could outrun pretty much all of his opponents. In the current era, Djokovic is similar to Borg in that regard. But modern tennis tech. diminishes the movement advantage. (I dare say that if we were still using Wooden racquets, Djokovic would be even more successful than he is.). Borg's high fitness levels also played an important part in the Mental Edge he had. If you are fit and still relatively fresh deep in the 5th set of a tight match, you think a lot better, your decision making is a lot better, and your chances of success are a lot greater.
A lot of people view Borg as the supreme Baseliner because most people watching tennis prior to Borg coming onto the scene were used to watching Grass court matches. Wimbledon was always traditionally the really big game in Tennis. Grass was the dominant surface of the sport. Most were familiar with the Serve-Volley style of play. All of sudden, a blondish Swede appears on the scene and starts winning a lot of matches from the back of the court. It's little wonder that so many tried to label him the way they did. Interestingly, the "Base-liner" label was probably better suited to guys like Connors. He played from the back of the court a lot more than Borg ever did.
This maybe crazy, but is NADAL a pusher? I mean he hits BIG spin and HIGH Loops....attrition is his game...
Great post! And I agree 100%. Just a month ago, I totally changed my mentality for the game. Before that, I was always focusing on technique, results, striving to hit harder etc. Well, then I took a couple of videos in a row. Instead of analysing my hitting form (like I had previously done) on the vids, I analysed all the typical reasons why I missed a shot. I tried to get rid of those errors the next time I played, and it was surprisingly easy to do! I paid zero attention to form, zero attention to what opponent was doing. All focus was on avoiding the things that made me typically miss shots. And if I missed a shot, I tried to figure if I did the same error as on the video. Well, guess what: I'm on a 10 match winning streak, and some match videos actually prove that I outhit opponents also on winners compartment. Simply: I've become a much better player, just by changing my mentality and nothing else!
Indeed, consistency and avoiding (unforced) errors is 90% what this game and its point system is all about. Avoiding errors doesn't mean pushing, it doesn't mean not hitting winners. What it simply means is tons of court coverage and percentage play, and that ain't bunting. But I'll be honest: Now I hit only like 0-5 topspin backhands in the 1h ladder matches. I either runaround the BHs, or hit slice, because videos proved how often I missed topspin BHs! Well, I still haven't faced an opponent who could've consistently punished me with hitting slice only on BH. One opponent tried S&V, but stopped as I was able to slice returns into the feet. Another opponent rushed the net, but I was hitting DTL slice passes easily. So no reason to change a winning formula if your goal is to win.
Thanks Torpan. I like the way you think. Percentage play ain't bunting.
I believe that when you enter a competitive match, you walk on court with the shots you own, and you have to try to utilize them as best as possible.
There is always a question of how hard to hit, how aggressive to be. I find for myself the best thing to focus on is making each shot; and I don't bunt either. My best shot is my serve and I constantly probe, rushing the net, chipping and charging, sometimes too much...but even at net, you are in an aggressive but still defensive position. Meaning, a good volley can be a conservative or reactive shot, setting up a point-ending shot.
Slicing the backhand, running around the forehand...I think you are on the right track. Hundreds of years of tennis tradition can't be wrong...
I meant running around the backhand...
Then the person with better strokes is an inferior match player.
I read somewhere that, for all players ranked ~500 and numerically above (which means all rec players, even very serious ones), that unforced errors are the primary predictor for the outcome of a match. Tennis scoring rewards consistency.
I still blast away, even knowing this, but I am learning
I am a counter puncher !!!
The again How is called a player who rush to the net on both service and return games as primary game plan?
You forgot this:
6. the guy who wears the shorts with no ****ing pockets
Undoubtedly the all courter, since he has no preset style but prefers to change up his strategy depending on his opponent.
The only player that elicits from Federer the exact same strategy is Nadal, and that strategy is "shank the backhand and lose meekly", which is a shame because he's capable of far more than that.
Nowadays though, it seems that Rafa is beating Fed-error even in this department. This guy Nadal is tenacious and never knows when to give up, geez...
Nice explanations on styles of play, however classifying pros as this style or that I disagree with, this classification fits unclassified players mostly, tennis Pros use the style that wins points and when it does not they change there style on the fly, there is also Moonballers-Chris Everett used this very successfully.
Actually, the top Professional Tennis players use the style that helps their opponents to lose points.
There is a subtle difference between winning a point and not losing it
Are you thinking of Tracy Austin? Chrissie wasn't a moonballer. She was just rock solid from the baseline.
Very glad to see your old post, very interesting. Wonder if it's possible to classify
the other 3 styles: Baseline, All Court, and Attach the Net, based on NTPR rating?
Seems to me that All Court players are 5 and 5+, Baseline and Attach the Net can
be lower to 4.0. Not sure if this make sense.
Wow you described my style to a T, OP.
I will always come back to this thread to re-read the post and the comments.
This is such a great post, Captain Karl! Those pesky pushers ARE everywhere... and they ARE such nice people. Drives me crazy, lol!
Anyway, I discovered a few months ago how to finally beat the "champion" pusher at my club. Let's call him "George" to protect the innocent .
He's a solid 3.5 and just like Captain Karl described, everything came back with little/no pace, depth, or spin.
I've played "George" at least 30 times, and had won MAYBE 5 times. But this last Wednesday I think I had a revelation... anyone reading this who struggles with beating pushers may find this interesting. There are 3 things that helped me...
1. I watched a few youtube videos and one of the guys said to try playing in front of the baseline... seems weird, but if you think about it, "George" never pushes the ball much past the service line.
2. Instead of trying to hit the ball very HARD... I focused a lot more on using angles to pull him out of the center of the court. I realized that George has a really tough time when he's on the run. Generally overtime I pulled him wide, he pushed the ball into the middle of the court... and I could ping pong him back to the other side of the court.
3. Once I got him REALLY far out of position... I just snuck in and never had to hit a particularly great volley (which is good because my volleys aren't that great yet).
This tactic really befuddled George. And I beat him 6-2, 6-2 Wednesday. It'll be very interesting to see how he adapts, if at all for the next time we play. It was just so satisfying to finally "figure it out" (at least I Hope I have).
I'd love to hear if any of you have tried these things, and if you have any other tips on beating the "George's" of the world. lol
Stumbled across this posting and great job by Captain Karl. He could with this posting update wikipedia on this particular topic. Pushers have great conditioning and love to run side to side so moving them with sharp angles isn't a very high percentage shot. I know a lot of players who hate playing them and don't respect their game but one can learn quite a bit from them. Playing pushers require patience and keeping a good health perspective and having a dropshot would help greatly. I find pushers don't know what to do when you pull them into the net.
You are basically Murray... Now as long as you don't act like him I'm fine with you, but as soon as you start acting like that cracker I'm going to start hating.
Murray's old plan was and still is to get into a slow rally and then blast a winner off his backhand or forehand. Either that or he is waiting for a passing shot.
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