Every club has one of these, a player who moves very well, makes darn few errors, often hits the ball softly or with unusual form, but over and over again this is a player who wins, and more than that this is a player that most dread.
The term “pusher” is somehow derogatory, implying that perhaps anyone could “win” that way but most pretend they would not stoop to such tactics.
I believe just the opposite. These players understand that ours is a game of ERROR MANAGEMENT.
I am encouraging you (dear reader) to accept the challenge to improve your play against these players. And that improvement must be mental, it must be technical, and it must be tactical. And rather than avoiding this issue, I believe when you come to terms with your own ERROR MANAGEMENT, with understanding exactly whey they are so difficult, and when you learn how to WEIGHT AND WAIT your game will grow immeasurably.
I have two lessons from a series called 5 Keys to Compete Against the Pusher and want to share the following to encourage you to come to terms with perhaps the ultimate tennis challenge.
PS. At the 2013 ATP Masters final in London, Nadal needed to win two matches in round robin play to reclaim the Number One ranking. And in those two matches (which he won) Paul Annacone and Jimmy Arias (who are two of our best on air commentators) described Rafa’s play as pushing! They said he was PUSHING! Meaning he played the ball safely, rarely close to the lines, and was willing to out rally his opponents. Certainly Rafa’s brand of pushing may be hard to fathom, but nevertheless that was their description of his round robin play.
The two cardinal rules of tennis.
- Put the ball over the net.
- Always be ready for the opponent’s reply.
You could say, “Hold on Jim, what about topspin, what about conditioning, what about …..”
All true. But at the base level, you must put the ball over the net (ours is a game of hitting up) and you must be ready for the opponent’s reply.
The reasons pushers are so difficult is that they do put the ball up and over the net (if they miss they are more prone to hitting the ball long) but more importantly they are always in position ready for your shot.
Because, when hitting often more softly than you, they have more recovery time. Repeated – MORE RECOVERY TIME.
Big hitters, if slow afoot, are truly often out of position – where their shot reaches the opponent so quickly they have not fulling recovered.
Take as much time as necessary to make sense of this. Your first step is to clearly recognize this situation. Let me know what you think.
I wanted to publish these videos to give you a sense of the material within my 5 Keys series of products. In this series we go into more detail on how to compete against the pusher and much more.