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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:26 AM   #1
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How to play against pushers?


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!
please advice! i'm on the verge of stopping play with him entirely!
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Old May 15th, 2011, 11:38 AM   #2
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Re: How to play against pushers?

Be a pusher yourself
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Old May 15th, 2011, 01:52 PM   #3
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Re: How to play against pushers?

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.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:09 PM   #4
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Re: How to play against pushers?

Instructional video - how to beat the pusher

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AyDeBdtOHTY
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:34 PM   #5
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Re: How to play against pushers?

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...
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:36 PM   #6
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Re: How to play against pushers?

the video is... useless.
the "pusher" is not even trying!
it says to rush the pusher but in the end, rushing = more errors for yourself!
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:37 PM   #7
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Re: How to play against pushers?

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.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 02:42 PM   #8
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Re: How to play against pushers?

if i can consistently hit as big as them, i would be a pro now.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 03:38 PM   #9
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Re: How to play against pushers?

Take the ball early, and use the angles of the court.
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Old May 15th, 2011, 04:57 PM   #10
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Re: How to play against pushers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wateva View Post
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.
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..
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Old May 15th, 2011, 06:03 PM   #11
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Re: How to play against pushers?

I try to construct points more, not just going for it all the time. It sometimes works, sometimes i make a lot of mistakes...
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Old May 16th, 2011, 01:47 AM   #12
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Re: How to play against pushers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Turnip View Post
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. 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.
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.
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.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 08:19 AM   #13
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Re: How to play against pushers?

Quote:
Originally Posted by wateva View Post
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.
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!
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Old May 16th, 2011, 09:03 AM   #14
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Re: How to play against pushers?

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!

Last edited by HowardH : May 16th, 2011 at 09:35 AM.
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Old May 16th, 2011, 12:07 PM   #15
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Re: How to play against pushers?

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
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