How To Beat A Pusher In Tennis? 

How-To-Beat-A-Pusher-In-Tennis

Pushes are one of the most frustrating things that you have to deal with when playing tennis. The middle of the court is where a pusher wants you to be, because their strengths are baseline play and consistency.

A pushers strategy now against advanced players is simply to give them room on the baseline so they can hit deep, heavy balls into the open court.

This is what makes pushing so frustrating for advanced players because pushers simply get back everything you hit at them and usually do not make unforced errors. 

So how do you beat a pusher? Firstly, understand that they are going to get back most if not all of your shots. Their game plan consists of hitting the ball deep and heavy into the open court, therefore you have to be prepared to hit a lot of balls that land short in their court.

This can be difficult because pushers normally play at the baseline or behind it giving them a height advantage over you. 

What is a Pusher? 

A pusher is a player who has developed great consistency from the baseline and has a big first serve. Their movement around the court is quite slow, but they eventually get to balls that land short in their court through pure hustle.

Pushers normally play at the baseline or slightly behind it giving them time to set up for a deep ball. Advanced pushers usually have great topspin groundstrokes that they can drive down the line or into the open court, but also have a solid backhand slice. 

Pushing is arguably one of the easiest styles of play to deal with in tennis.  The hard part is overcoming the frustration that comes with it. Pushers can be frustrating to play against because they are consistently in control of the point and you have to hit a lot of balls short, which slows down the pace of the game. 

Types Of Pushers 

There are three types of pushers in tennis. 

1. The first is your traditional style pusher who uses a big serve and consistent groundstrokes to get back most if not all balls hit at them. These type of pushers normally have great topspin on their forehand which gives them power while pushing into the open court or down the line. 

2. The second type of pusher is the counter puncher, who will sit back behind the baseline and wait for you to hit a short ball before coming forward with a heavy topspin groundstroke right at your feet. This type of pusher is normally more tactical and consist with their shots compared to the first type of pusher. 

Weaknesses of A Pusher 

The weaknesses of a pusher is being aggressive with your groundstrokes and taking the ball early. A pusher’s strategy revolves around hitting heavy balls so they don’t have to do much running around the court. 

So, you need to keep them on their toes by coming into the net or going aggressive off both wings. 

Pushers love to be in control of the point, but you need to get them out of position by hitting angles and coming into the net. 

Then they will start making unforced errors or miss short balls giving you an opportunity to move forward. 

One common mistake that pushers do is being too predictable in where they hit their shots. 

If you are in a defensive position, it is easier for you to anticipate where they are going to hit their shots. So, try mixing up your game and hitting some aggressive balls coming into the net or using your angles to wrong foot them. 

6 Ways to Beat a Pusher in Tennis 

1. Breaking the Window 

The first way to beat a pusher is by breaking the window or hitting angles. 

A lot of beginners think that they need to hit balls deep into the open court, but this will only put you in defensive positions for an easy ball. 

You need to try and play angles or short crosscourt balls when your opponent is at the net. 

Try to hit some balls down the line, then out wide through their forehand and backhand until they are out of position. 

3. Redeeming the Weak Second Serve 

The second way to beat a pusher and gain control of the point is by redeeming their weak second serve. 

Pushers normally have big serves so most returners will not take them on unless they are in trouble or struggling with their first serve percentage, which generally does not happen often.

A player coming forward has the advantage of hitting the ball earlier, but it is normally hard to get a free point on their serve because of how big it is. 

You need to hit heavy and deep returns on their second serves and try and get them off balance by making them cover more ground than normal. 

If you return wide or down the middle with pace, this will give you time to get into better positions for your own groundstrokes. 

4. Backhand Slice Short Crosscourt 

One way to break a pusher’s rhythm and movement is by hitting heavy backhand slices crosscourt. 

Pushers tend to stay on the baseline and most of their shots will come from this area, so playing short backhands down the line may be difficult for them because they are normally slower than your regular player. 

Hitting a good slice with a lot of backspin on it will make your opponent stretch for the ball and buy you some time to move up. 

This is similar to the first point, but this time you are going crosscourt rather than down the line. 

If they don’t move their feet or try to take the ball early, then there is a huge chance of you going up with this ball and gaining control of the point. 

Changing Directions Constantly 

The fourth way to beat a pusher is by changing directions constantly. 

You can do this with either hitting the ball deep and coming in, or hitting up the line bouncing it back crosscourt (if your opponent moves right). 

Doing this will make them run around more than normal, which gives you time to re-position yourself so you can hit up the line or crosscourt yourself. 

This will prevent your opponent from being able to be aggressive because they are constantly on their toes trying to cover more court than normal. 

Using Drop Shots More Often 

Pushers get so used to pushing back balls from the baseline that they get lazy when you start hitting shorter angles and drop shots. 

If your opponent is at the net, try taking a small swing at the ball and keep it low or go for a good drop shot that is on the rise. 

5. Hit Heavy Groundstrokes 

To beat a pusher, you need to hit heavy groundstrokes which make your opponent run around the court and cover more ground than normal. 

Pushers usually come forward from behind the baseline hitting 

6. Angle Approach Shots 

The last way to beat a pusher is by angling your shots into their body or sidelines. 

Pushers are normally weaker at the net and will usually stay back waiting for easy balls to hit, but by forcing them to come up with your heavy groundstrokes you are helping yourself more than you realise. 

Using an angled shot with pace will prevent the pusher from being able to get their racquet on it and buy you more time to move up. 

Don’t Fall For His Style of Play 

If you are playing someone who is constantly moving forward, then the key to beating them is by hitting heavy groundstrokes and changing directions often. 

Players who like coming to the net will be more susceptible to angles and drop shots, so this is another good way of getting a free point when they come in. 

Is Novak Djokovic a pusher? 

Novak Djokovic is one of the best returners in the world. 

He uses all the points mentioned above to get free points on his opponents serve and you will often see him step up to take returns up the line or crosscourt early in rallies.

Some consider him a pusher because of his baseline play, but I think that this is unfair because he has an all-round game and it makes watching him entertaining.

mentioned above. The main goal for any tennis player is to win games or sets and Djokovic is no different. 

Why do tennis players hate pushers? 

Tennis players hate playing pushers because they make you run around the court for hours without getting a chance to finish off the point. 

Pushers come from behind the baseline and take time away from your side of the court, making you hit each shot as hard as possible so they don’t have an opportunity to push it back at you. 

Pushers never give you any free points and push the issue of winning every point of an extended rally, so it can be very exhausting out there. 

What are pusher’s main strengths? 

Pusher’s main strength is their ability to keep the ball deep in your court without allowing you to get into position. 

A pusher also makes you run around for balls that go deep and then pulls you out wide to the forehand, making it difficult for you to cover both corners of your side. 

Most pushers have a great defensive game and they rely on keeping points as short as possible and pushing their opponent around to tire them out. 

Final Thoughts 

If you are playing someone who is constantly moving forward, then the key to beating them is by hitting heavy groundstrokes and changing directions often. 

Players who like coming to the net will be more susceptible to angles and drop shots, so this is another good way of getting a free point when they come in.  

To beat a pusher, you need to hit heavy groundstrokes which make your opponent run around the court and cover more ground than normal. 

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