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Hardscrabble Scramble
November 1997 Article

Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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Pull Don't Push

Mike Whittington Photo
Mike Whittington

Many times in match situations I see aggressive players come up against opponents with more of a defensive or pushing type game. These aggressive players tend to lose focus on their own game plans and let their opponent control the point with deep baseline rallies. Hard hitters usually react by going for too much too soon - exactly what the counter punching pusher is hoping for. Others might have a tendency to start playing that same pushing game when that really is not their style.

A smart little tip that many players might find useful is to remember to pull not push. Its kind of like going through a door by trying to push when the sign says pull - you just can't go. You might consider hitting short balls on purpose to bring the pesky pusher into the net. This gets them out of their comfort zone and forces them to play more of your style. In addition, you will hopefully have room to lob over their head once they are in the net. You can try this in the middle of a rally or maybe on a return of serve but I would suggest doing it on shots when you are well inside the baseline. The key is to get this type of opponent to not play the style that bugs you the most!

So the next time you are playing Thomas Muster don't worry. Just relax, bring 'em to the net, and watch the fun begin. You can turn those pushing matches into fun matches if you remember to "pull not push."

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Hardscrabble Scramble Archive

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This column is copyrighted by Mike Whittington, all rights reserved.

At the time at which he wrote this column, Mike Whittington was a USPTA pro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, where he served as director of tennis at the Hardscrabble Country Club.


 

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