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wateva
May 15th, 2011, 12:26 PM
:confused::confused::confused:
i have a friend who idolises caroline and he's annoying the hell out of me by playing like her. there's absolutely nothing to work with the ball!:fiery::fiery::fiery:
please advice! i'm on the verge of stopping play with him entirely!:fiery::fiery::fiery::fiery:

Kəv.
May 15th, 2011, 12:38 PM
Be a pusher yourself :lol:

wateva
May 15th, 2011, 02:52 PM
that's not my style. i do not gratification from people hitting errors, unlike my friend. the annoying thing is that he thinks he played well when almost all his points won were from my errors. :fiery:

Miracle Worker
May 15th, 2011, 03:09 PM
Instructional video - how to beat the pusher

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyDeBdtOHTY

melodynelson
May 15th, 2011, 03:34 PM
I try to follow those directions, and it is hard! I play on clay a lot, and my friend I play always hits balls flying high near corners with heavy spin, bouncing backwards. These videos do not tell you how to handle those. It is easier on my FH side but the backhand is just miserable, especially since I am one handed. I must always slice it, if I even can...

wateva
May 15th, 2011, 03:36 PM
the video is... useless. :lol:
the "pusher" is not even trying!
it says to rush the pusher but in the end, rushing = more errors for yourself! :o

Miracle Worker
May 15th, 2011, 03:37 PM
If you still have problems - you should watch how Kvitova def. Wozniacki year ago in Wimbledon or how Maria won her match in Rome.

So, don't even try play like pusher. First pusher will force you to play like he, and then he he will use his expierience in pushing. And believe me. Even pusher will be exhausted after running. So if you have to win, you can sacrifice first set to rushing pusher, and then destroy him in st 2 and 3.

wateva
May 15th, 2011, 03:42 PM
if i can consistently hit as big as them, i would be a pro now. :lol:

Randy H
May 15th, 2011, 04:38 PM
Take the ball early, and use the angles of the court.

Turnip
May 15th, 2011, 05:57 PM
that's not my style. i do not gratification from people hitting errors, unlike my friend. the annoying thing is that he thinks he played well when almost all his points won were from my errors. :fiery:

So, what should he think? Instead of thinking he plays well, he should think you play poorly?

As for advice, does he have a preference for his forehand or backhand? Avoid hitting to his preferred side if you can..

ce
May 15th, 2011, 07:03 PM
I try to construct points more, not just going for it all the time. It sometimes works, sometimes i make a lot of mistakes...

wateva
May 16th, 2011, 02:47 AM
So, what should he think? Instead of thinking he plays well, he should think you play poorly?

As for advice, does he have a preference for his forehand or backhand? Avoid hitting to his preferred side if you can..
it's more of his boastful manner which i cannot take. :o for eg. he likes to call his game a "caro-web". if i hit an error off his nothing balls, he'll say something hateful like "you got caught in my caro-web". while i'm like STFU inside. :lol:
his fh is the weaker side but whenever stretched wide, he'll give a super high ball with nothing on it and the rally has to start all over again. otherwise, he will do a junky squash shot which can lan anywhere on the court and gives a weird bounce. :mad:
actually, i know how to rush him with volleys but my volleys are just not good enough. in the end, i end up being lobbed. :o

Betten
May 16th, 2011, 09:19 AM
that's not my style. i do not gratification from people hitting errors, unlike my friend. the annoying thing is that he thinks he played well when almost all his points won were from my errors. :fiery:

Well, if he's beating you it means he's doing something better than you. Gloating about like he does is childish, but that doesn't change the fact that you can't handle his game. So the first thing to do is respect the way he plays: he realizes that most points are won not by hitting winners but by erros (and this is true on pretty much every level of the game) and you should give him credit for that.

Now for how to beat this type of player: I know they're incredibly annoying to play against if you depend on powerful groundstrokes. To confidently and accurately hit those big strokes you need rhythm, which is something a pusher isn't likely to give you. If you want to win against them you need to think. Some tips that might come in hand:

- keep your eyes on the ball. Pushers like to play with different kinds of spin, and you need to be prepared for that.
- don't try to overhit your shots, especially in the beginning. That slow, low ball is begging to be hit hard, but resist the temptation and keep the pace slow. Try to get a feel of how he likes to play the shot and what makes him itch. Is there something he doesn't like to do? Positions or shots he doesn't play? Use this information.
- use the moonball to push him to the back of the court. Most likely he will return with another high shot, but since you're the agressor there's a chance that it'll fall short. Volley or smash it, but be aware of the spin.
- most pushers like (and are prepared to) run a lot. Try to surprise them at times by foregoing that DTL-shot and continue to play crosscourt. Try to change the length of your strokes instead of just moving the ball from side to side.

Hope you'll have more success next time! :wavey:

HowardH
May 16th, 2011, 10:03 AM
You need to find a way that works for you, with your game. Pros and very strong amateurs can beat pushers simply by virtue of their power and big games, or excellent netplay, or strong serving/returning which takes the pusher out of their game from the beginning of the rally, but it seems like you need something different.

You say that you have problems with him resetting the rally after you pull him wide. And as you say, you aren't comfortable rushing him with volleys/swing volleys to prevent that reset. So my analysis of the situation is: you don't have the ability (currently) to consistently hit very big, aggressive groundies that will eventually open the court and extract the weak short ball from the pusher, leading to a winner. You don't have the power and precision to hit a winner off the lobbed "reset" ball. You also don't have the ability to finish him at the net. Lastly, you probably don't have the ability to outpush him.

A very tough situation indeed, since you cannot use the most common strategies applied by stronger players to beat pushers. (Apart from the last one- outpushing a pusher is a lower level strategy).

Here's what I suggest. You have to try to force him to play in a way that differs from his preferred Caro-web strategy. You want to try to turn the match into a faster-paced one. Focus on hitting firm, hard, flattish shots repeatedly into the court. Your aim is to be as consistent as possible with these relatively fast and low shots. At club level, the shot probably doesn't have to be too deep- just beyond the service line should be okay, deeper is great if you can do it consistently. You are not really trying to open the court. Hit hard repeated shots into the weaker wing, some to the stronger wing as well. You can still hit corners when you feel in position, but you don't have to do it very often.

By not aiming to open the court your consistency will increase. You are hoping that by hitting hard and low and not opening the angles too much you can draw him into hitting harder and lower as well. He will hopefully tend to reset the point less. If you get a shorter ball you can hit it quickly through the court and try to rush him for time. If an opportunity present itself you can still hit winners. But overall you are trying to make him misjudge or mistime the ball, to force an error from him. You should be trying to turn the point into a battle of "who can keep up rallying at this pace for longer". If you are the better ballstriker, you should have a good chance of forcing an error out of him in this way.

Essentially, you are trying to lure him into using your pace and hitting fast balls back and forth with you. By keeping the ball low you are trying to make him hit lower. And you are banking on winning that kind of faster paced rally. He should miss more than before and you will also have more pace to work with if you see an opening.

In order for him to beat you when you play this way, he could do one of two things:
a) hit fast rally shots with you more consistently than you
or b) open the court first himself.

If he's good at doing these things he's probably just better than you. Otherwise, this strategy is worth a shot.

The plus thing about this strategy is that if you are able to lure him into using your pace you will enjoy the match more regardless of whether you win or lose, because he won't be pushing anymore. You don't need to hit the balls up the centre: you can try to establish a fast cc rally.

It's possible that he might be good at absorbing the flat shots and slowing his shots down. This is quite tricky for most club players, but maybe he has this skill. Generally most players cannot absorb the pace from a flatter shot without giving up a short ball, which you can then attack.

One thing to remember: you aren't trying to hit so hard that you make errors. Actually, you are trying to hit at a hard but comfortable pace for yourself, so that you remain consistent. If the balls start coming back too fast you can always slow it down a little, but still keep it low and reasonably quick. You aren't even really trying to stay "on top" of the rally. You are essentially trying to find a rally speed which makes it tough for him to slow the ball down and at which you are the more consistent player. The reason you don't want to use too many angles is because, unless you have a lot of power, by the time he tracks down your angled shots the ball will have slowed down quite a lot. Instead, you want the ball travelling through his contact zone quickly all the time.

Good luck in trying to draw him into your game!

P.S. If you try this strategy, please PM me and let me know how it goes!

croat123
May 16th, 2011, 01:07 PM
for me it was always about keeping it together mentally and going for the percentages. imo, the worst thing you can do is try to adapt your game style. when i played juniors i was a pretty big hitter and i when i'd play a pusher/grinder i'd just go shot by shot and try to block everything else out

HowardH
May 16th, 2011, 03:27 PM
for me it was always about keeping it together mentally and going for the percentages. imo, the worst thing you can do is try to adapt your game style. when i played juniors i was a pretty big hitter and i when i'd play a pusher/grinder i'd just go shot by shot and try to block everything else out

Fair enough. But as you say, you played juniors (i.e. you no doubt are a fully developed player on a technical front) and you hit pretty big. Therefore your normal game should be enough to eventually beat a pusher, assuming you didn't lose your cool mentally. If the opponent throws up a "reset" lob you can probably hammer a big fh to gain the advantage. If the opponent hits a squash slice defence, you can adjust to the odd bounce and hit a good shot which should be awkward for your opponent. If you get to the net you can probably finish the point. Going for percentages, for you, means finding the right balance between aggressiveness and patience that allows you to attack for say 6 or 7 shots in order to finish the point.

However, the OP doesn't seem to have the same technical advantages as you. His normal game, even if he stays calm, doesn't seem to be enough to win. Which is why I, and other posters, have suggested some alternative strategies. Without watching the match it is a little difficult to tell if this is just mental, but from the OP's posts it seems to be linked to technical difficulties with attacking high balls and no-pace balls, adjusting to the bounce from junk balls, and finishing at net.

If I summarise the ideas that other posters have suggested, we have:
Try to beat him by playing like a pusher. This will work if the pusher is merely covering up a tendency to be inaccurate by playing very safe, and therefore only works at lower levels. Many lower level pushers actually do play that way simply because they lack the accuracy to play other ways. This might be a feasible strategy for the OP, depending on how well he can play pusher style himself, but he has said that he does not want to play this way. You also need great patience and endurance to outlast a pusher like this.


The FYB video suggests ways of using aggressive play and creativity to rush and outposition the pusher. I.e. the video presumes that you have the tools to put away a pusher, and that you merely need to move well and look for the openings. This works if you are a strong modern player- you simply need to be focused and see any openings that pop up. If you have good attacking groundies and good forecourt skills there are always many ways of finishing a point against a pusher. You just need to make sure you don't get lulled into their rhythm, but instead continue to play your aggressive game. Rushing the pusher is how pros beat them- they dominate them and give them no time. They take balls out of the air and swing volley, they take balls early, they smack away high balls, they don't give the pusher any "safety zone". I.e. calculated risks defeats totally safe shots. However, the OP has mentioned that he struggles to finish the point at net, he mentions that if he tries to rush the opponent he makes more errors, and he also mentions that there is "nothing to work with on the ball" which suggests that he struggles to hit a big shot off a nothing ball. So these very aggressive and creative strategies, which are good for up and coming juniors etc, are probably not a good fit for the OP.

I like to play pushers this way, but I'm not the OP. For an aggressive player, pushers are just practice for opening the court and hitting winners. But you need to be a certain kind of player to win that way.


The taking the ball early and using angles suggestions fall in the same category. They are good ideas to defeat pushers, but they require a certain set of skills that perhaps the OP does not have yet. (Maybe he will acquire these skills in time.) Taking the high balls and volleying or smashing them falls prey to the same problem- these are high level skills, unless you are a natural net player. Searching patiently for a little weakness in the opponent is a common way of winning for good juniors or amateurs, but requires you to have a lot of on-court insight which not everyone has. If the OP had this kind of insight he would probably already have defeated his friend when he tried to push.


I liked Ms Q's idea of not going into DTL (into the open court) so much and hitting back cc more often. She also mentions that you need to keep your own rhythm. My idea extrapolates on that.


I think instead of opening the court up and being frustrated by moonballs or slices which reset the point, the OP should try to draw the opponent into a hitting battle: i.e. try to make him not play like a pusher. But how do you do that?

If I were the OP, I would hit the ball reasonably flat (a little topspin is ok), rhythmically, fairly low over the net, not trying to hit a winner. This should be a safe shot, providing you pick the right amount of pace, which should be quite firm but well within your own safety zone.

If you pick the right amount of pace and keep the height low enough, you can lure the opponent (well, if he's a club player without a huge amount of wrist movement in his shots) into using your pace and hitting a similar low ball back to you. So he won't be playing like a pusher anymore. Then it just comes down to a hitting battle, somewhat like a practice rally. Which I think the OP will enjoy much more. He will have more pace to use himself.

I suggest not using too many angles because the OP finds the looped reset ball and the squash slice defence annoying to handle, and angles will induce these shots. Instead I think he should try to give his friend enough pace to use, and when it comes back with nice pace, he could use this pace himself to hit a harder deeper ball that hopefully causes his opponent to mistime the ball.


Naturally staying calm is still a big part of playing a pusher, at any level. They thrive on the opponent becoming frustrated. It's definitely hard to play a pusher if a) you aren't good at attacking high or soft balls, b) you don't finish well at net, and c) you aren't good at taking the ball early to rush the opponent. So I think that hitting firmly enough that the opponent (hopefully) has almost no choice but to hit a firm shot back is a good idea. The key is to make sure the ball is travelling through the opponent's strike zone with speed and also staying reasonably low. It's hard to loop against that shot. That's also why I think the OP should hit more balls close to the opponent to start the rally- when you hit too far from them the ball slows down by the time they run it down and they can then lob easily. He should try to make the match a hitting battle rather than a running battle. If his firm hitting induces a short ball, then he could try for a winner of course.

The Witch-king
May 16th, 2011, 06:10 PM
give up

Uranium
May 16th, 2011, 06:19 PM
You have to be patient. That is the most important thing. Mix it up. Throw lobs, slices, slow paced balls at them. They may struggle with that and make errors. Just be patient. Play the pushing game until you get a ball you like and pound it for a winner. Come to net. Just mix it up and give them different looks, while you look for the perfect moment to be aggressive to take the point. Controlled aggression.

Certinfy
May 16th, 2011, 07:32 PM
It's ATP but watch a replay of Berdych vs Murray from RG last year, perfect example of how to school one in the slowest conditions you'll ever see in a tennis match.

Moveyourfeet
May 17th, 2011, 05:48 AM
Learning how to beat pushers is a rite of passage to higher levels of tennis play. I could write a book on the subject.
The most important thing to know is you will NOT overpower a pusher. Not at recreational level. At that level, you don't have consistently controlled power to have a favourable winners:error ratio.

You have to be patient, consistent and play your strength to your opponent weakness. There is no one way to beat a pusher as there is no standard pusher. They all come in different varieties but the one thing they will all do is allow you to play your game. They will not overpower you or rob you of time to set up for your shots.
The match is in your hands. Each loss to a pusher lets you know what you need to work on. If I were you, I would keep playing your friend until you beat him of your own merit. He will make you a better player.

ArturoAce.
May 17th, 2011, 06:36 AM
Come to net and force them to hit a winner or a lob. This only works if you can volley, though. :lol:

wateva
May 17th, 2011, 10:08 AM
wow! thanks everyone for the advice! (esp. howardh) definitely will try out something different next time. :)

Randy H
May 18th, 2011, 03:09 AM
Take the ball early, and use the angles of the court.

Just to elaborate a little more on this - The key is to find ways to take time away from your opponent, and to find the openings in the court. You don't need pure power to do this, you just have to be a little creative and willing to try different things.

Most pushers love a big hitter who will try and blast winners corner to corner until they self destruct with errors. How can you break the court open? Use the angles of the court to your advantage. Hit a couple of hard deep shots to get them behind the baseline, and then throw in some angles (especially to the backhand side where it's harder to throw up a moonball stretched out of position).

Another option is to test their ability mid court. A lot of people don't know what to do with a ball that lands around the service line. Either you hit the winner outright, or you either risk being passed, lobbed, or come up with a volley. Dare him to be the one to come up with some aggressive shots in "no man's land".

Don't focus on power, focus on court position and placement :) You don't have to crush a volley, drop it short and force them to have to hit up on the ball which will give you more sitters for the volleys while they are out of their comfort zone.

myfriendadrian
Jun 14th, 2011, 01:52 PM
I feel your pain! ;)

What about bringing him into the net by hitting short-ish balls? If he is a genuine pusher, then he may not be comfortable attacking at all (so you're sort of turning the tables on him)...

On the other hand, if he can push and attack well, then sounds like he's a pretty good player and won't be that easy! :)

kuroishijin
Jun 15th, 2011, 05:45 PM
Just keep mixing deep, down the line balls with sharp angels and when is occasion there go for clean, fast and powerful winners. Keep also low balls as much as possible so that he can not read what is coming :devil:... if you can manage such style every pusher will be dead tired with trying to retrieve all those bombs back.
PS. but precondition is that you are are also in good form, with good moving and that you like to dominate court.

Ferg
Jun 15th, 2011, 07:46 PM
Controlled hitting. Keep them running everywhere, eventually you'll find the angle or he'll be pushed too far out to get back in time. Not hard to risk hitting errors, but go for a foot or two inside either line and use a few dropshots to see how comfortable they are at the net. If they arent then its clear to keep using that tactic.

Spring Pools
Jun 16th, 2011, 02:34 AM
If you still have problems - you should watch how Kvitova def. Wozniacki year ago in Wimbledon or how Maria won her match in Rome.

So, don't even try play like pusher. First pusher will force you to play like he, and then he he will use his expierience in pushing. And believe me. Even pusher will be exhausted after running. So if you have to win, you can sacrifice first set to rushing pusher, and then destroy him in st 2 and 3.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QYYZiaKZy04
Is this what you're talking about?

Adrian.
Jun 17th, 2011, 03:28 PM
give up

:hysteric::rolls:

10sMan
Jun 23rd, 2011, 03:11 AM
I was a pusher all my college carrier and the way to beat me was short cross court deep down the line. You want to make player move backwards getting a balance on the backfoot and that will increase a chance to give you nice approach shot opportunity or a mistake. Also the key is to be comfortable at the net. Have somebody to drill you 15 min every day just volleys and overheads. You have to learn to love the net (which doesnt mean you need to be at the net every time, maybe once every 2-3 games and you are good to go)