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How do you play a pusher (a player that hits a lot of balls
back, usually with no pace) when you are not as consistent?
Playing a pusher can be frustrating, but you should know
that the pusher wins often because he or she is playing
tennis with the correct principles. Consistency wins! Even
if you hit a lot of winners, you must be consistent.
Since you are not as consistent as the pusher you will have
to change your tactics and explore other options. Below are
a couple of different options you can explore.
Will you still lose with some of these tactics? Maybe, maybe
not, but at least you gave yourself the best opportunity to
succeed under the conditions. A true Tennis Warrior mentality!
What you learn from the experience will be useful the next time
you play that same type of player.
- Try to be a little bit more patient when rallying from
the baseline. Do not go for too much too soon!
- Wait for the first relatively short ball and head for
the net. Not just once, but over and over and over and
over and over again. Be relentless! Explore different
placements with your approach shot - to their forehand,
to their backhand, down the middle, etc. Pushers do not
hit hard so if you can create enough pressure you will
have many opportunities at the net. If you can also
serve and volley, give that a try.
- You can not volley well? Then stay on the baseline, hit
some short balls, and bring the pusher up to the net.
See how well he or she can volley and hit overheads.
- The key is to not just stay back and rally with a pusher.
You must break it up and keep pressure on them by exploring
different options. Of course, this may require you to take
more chances and fail more often, but you have been reading
the excellent instruction articles from TennisServer.com for
months and you are prepared!
- In short, you must take control and attempt to dictate the
terms to the pusher. You may even have to rally a little bit,
pick a short ball, and go for a winner. If you do not
dictate the terms you will just rally back and forth, get
some exercise, and lose.
- Become a pusher yourself. At least the consistent part of
their game! Adding a little patience to ones game will do
wonders for anyone.
Mental Toughness is the accumulation of valuable information to
be utilized at the proper time. To beat a pusher you must
constantly accumulate enough on-court knowledge to play them
intelligently and offset their strength (a never ending flow of
balls coming at you).
Tennis Warrior Archive
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This column is copyrighted by Tom Veneziano, all rights
Tom is a tennis pro teaching
at the Piney Point Racquet Club in Houston, Texas. Tom
has taught thousands of players to think like a pro with
his Tennis Warrior System.
In Tom Veneziano's book "The Truth about Winning!", tennis players
learn in a step-by-step fashion the thinking the pros have
mastered to win! Tom takes you Step-by-step from basic mental
toughness to advanced mental toughness. All skill levels can learn
from this unique book from beginner to professional. No need to
change your strokes just your thinking.
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