Why you should push

zaph

Professional
Pushers have a bad rep, mainly because they make players look bad while beating them. The standard criticism of pushers, is they endlessly prod the ball with bad technique and somehow unfairly beat "better players". You sometimes see players like that but in my experience, the majority of players who are labelled as pushers are simply players who hit within themselves and safely, some even have pretty conventional technique.

For me pushing is really just a different mindset, it is about taking an honest look at your game and realising you're not Federer, Djokovic or any other top pro. That you can't crack winners from all over the court. It is about being honest about your limitations and playing within your ability.

The goal of a pusher is to not give their opponent any free points, to avoid committing any unforced errors. Pushers do this by learning which shots they can make the majority of the time and which are low percentage shots and only playing the higher percentage ones.

Now to me that doesn't sound like a deadend or limiting a player's game. That sounds like the foundations of a tennis player, foundations to which power and more aggressive play can be added to later.

So that is why I think low level players should learn how to push and I think the real deadend to development is to attempt a power game before you have the ability to play that way, in the hope that it will one day magically start working.
 
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3loudboys

Legend
I think the term pusher is derogatory to that style of play. It’s become a label to look down on. Defensive base liner, counterpuncher, retriever? - I’m not sure but I agree that this style needs more respect and a good foundation to build upon.
 

zaph

Professional
I think the term pusher is derogatory to that style of play. It’s become a label to look down on. Defensive base liner, counterpuncher, retriever? - I’m not sure but I agree that this style needs more respect and a good foundation to build upon.
Yes that is kind of my point, I don't see how you can build a tennis game without having that steady foundation.

Take the top 1000 players in the world, I bet if you asked them to rally with each other and get 100 shots in a row in, they could do it. They have steadiness available when they need it.

The problem is too many rec players want to transition to a power a game without building the foundations that allow them to play that game effectively.
 

5263

G.O.A.T.
Yes that is kind of my point, I don't see how you can build a tennis game without having that steady foundation.

Take the top 1000 players in the world, I bet if you asked them to rally with each other and get 100 shots in a row in, they could do it. They have steadiness available when they need it.

The problem is too many rec players want to transition to a power a game without building the foundations that allow them to play that game effectively.
Imo the term is over used and often misused against players who lack much power and make a lot of shots. Yes, you should build a steady foundation and likely can avoid being labeled a pusher if you can hit bigger shots when you have earned the right positioning in the court and in the point to use big power. If you can play smart and steady until you earn moment to go big....and then go big with success, then you won't likely be considered a pusher.
 

vex

Hall of Fame
I think you need to do both. You need to drill and practice aggressive hitting outside your comfort zone to improve/build your offensive groundstrokes. If you skip this step and just defend with what you have, you literally will never improve. Pushing without skill improvement has a very low ceiling, you’ll lose to anyone with basic accurate groundstrokes and the ability to hit overheads and volleys. So pushing alone is a dead end. So on the balance if your starting out I’d spend much less time on match play and much more time drilling. You do need match experience and you need to learn to play defense and hit within your limits but if you are pushing without solid forehand mechanics you’re generally just wasting your own time.

but OP is correct in that every good tennis player incorporates pushing into thier game, albeit at higher levels of play it doesn’t look like pushing it looks like consistency and defense.

you ride up the ranks by hitting ever improving groundstrokes without over hitting and increasing your UFEs. It’s really that simple.
 

nyta2

Professional
regardless of how you accomplish it (stroke, push, bunt, lob, etc...)... hitting a ball high out of opponents strikezone, and deep to push them back and give me more time,.... works at every level.
anyone using "pusher" to describe a game, is just mad they are not getting a comfortable ball to hit (go hire a hitting pro!), and likely their net game sucks too.
 

JCF

Rookie
I have changed my opinion on pushers, I used to arrogantly assume I should always beat them, in fact I started a thread on the topic of pushers here a few months back and there was some rude awakenings for me.

If a pusher beats you - they beat you because on the day they were better!!! deal with it.

You need to improve your game to get good enough to beat them, play the pushers, practice with the pushers, LEARN to push when it's necessary !!

Since then my game and mental attitude has improved dramatically, I am easily beating guys I would have crumbled to months ago, I just remain calm and get more balls back, thats how you beat a pusher, stay calm, play the ball back, don't try and blast early winners.

Let the games build up and then when you are more relaxed and flowing start lashing those on the line winners.....


BOOOM!!!!
 

sureshs

Bionic Poster
As part of the preparation for every shot, ask yourself these questions:

What would GSG have done?
What would GSG want me to do?
How can I improve my life by knowing GSG?
 

Dartagnan64

G.O.A.T.
regardless of how you accomplish it (stroke, push, bunt, lob, etc...)... hitting a ball high out of opponents strikezone, and deep to push them back and give me more time,.... works at every level.
This. Depth is the key to my game. I'm not going to overpower many folks but I will keep them back. Eventually I'll get a short ball I can be aggressive with. But until then I'll just keep you well behind the baseline.
 

cha cha

New User
I know people who have pushed themselves (pun intended) to a level of psychosis, where they are literally terrified of hitting any shot faster than 40 km/h. They warm up at a decent pace yet regress to my grandmother's speed of shot immediately upon commencing point play. That is unhealthy.

Nothing wrong with basing your game around defence though.
We have a legendary guy in my league who uses exclusively lobs. Both wings, all landing within a metre from the baseline. At 5.0 level, this guy has lost like 3 matches in 10 years.
 

SystemicAnomaly

Talk Tennis Guru
@zaph
I think the term pusher is derogatory to that style of play. It’s become a label to look down on. Defensive base liner, counterpuncher, retriever? - I’m not sure but I agree that this style needs more respect and a good foundation to build upon.
The style needs some good PR ppl. You guys up to the task? You need to overcome the bad rep that pushers have gotten from Steppenwolf and others

Pay heed to the message after 1:10
 
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zipplock

Hall of Fame
I know people who have pushed themselves (pun intended) to a level of psychosis, where they are literally terrified of hitting any shot faster than 40 km/h. They warm up at a decent pace yet regress to my grandmother's speed of shot immediately upon commencing point play. That is unhealthy.

Nothing wrong with basing your game around defence though.
We have a legendary guy in my league who uses exclusively lobs. Both wings, all landing within a metre from the baseline. At 5.0 level, this guy has lost like 3 matches in 10 years.
Does he lob from the net?
 

Curious

Legend
Now to me that doesn't sound like a deadend or limiting a player's game. That sounds like the foundations of a tennis player, foundations to which power and more aggressive play can be added to later.

So that is why I think low level players should learn how to push and I think the real deadend to development is to attempt a power game before you have the ability to play that way, in the hope that it will one day magically start working.
I thought the blue shirt guy is a great example for your argument. Looks to be very aware of his limits, puts placement over power, never gives free points. And almost every stroke of his ( especially the serve ) looks “underdeveloped “.



 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
I thought the blue shirt guy is a great example for your argument. Looks to be very aware of his limits, puts placement over power, never gives free points. And almost every stroke of his ( especially the serve ) looks “underdeveloped “
I don’t agree with the underdeveloped strokes part. The rear of your post is spot on.
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Ok maybe not the forehand but look at the technique of that backhand drive and slice. I’m not even mentioning the serve.
Meant to say rest of your post is spot on

I don’t see an issue with his strokes. He is not dinking. Even on the bh side he is hitting it deep. Clearly he is favoring consistency from that side while waiting to dictate the point with his fh.

Serve too. He is not tapping it in. It’s a good consistent 2nd serve. Someone who can hit the fh like that clearly would know how to hit a faster serve but looks like he chose to be consistent with the things he is not great at. Not a bad decision.

I like the way he plays.
 

Curious

Legend
Meant to say rest of your post is spot on

I don’t see an issue with his strokes. He is not dinking. Even on the bh side he is hitting it deep. Clearly he is favoring consistency from that side while waiting to dictate the point with his fh.

Serve too. He is not tapping it in. It’s a good consistent 2nd serve. Someone who can hit the fh like that clearly would know how to hit a faster serve but looks like he chose to be consistent with the things he is not great at. Not a bad decision.

I like the way he plays.
Do you think he can go up to the next level with that serve and backhand?
 

mcs1970

Hall of Fame
Do you think he can go up to the next level with that serve and backhand?
IMO there is much obsession with many lower level rec players on going to the next level. Not enough on hitting with depth and playing with consistency.

if you see when his opponent is closer to the camera that his shots have good depth from both wings.

His movement does not seem great and that would be a bigger hindrance on going to the next level. However I doubt he cares. To me this looks like a guy who has made peace with what he is, his ceiling as a rec player, and is playing good strokes without dinking. Shot tolerance is pretty high too More rec players should first aim for the way this guy is playing.
 
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