How do you play against the 'pusher', the player that gets everything back? Discover some great strategies and tips.
Coach: Ashley Weinhold, current professional American tennis player.
Bio: Winner of Girls 18 National title in 2007. Highest singles WTA ranking was World Number 181 on October 10, 2011, and highest doubles rank was World Number 109 in June 2017. Achieved 17 doubles titles and 3 singles titles on the pro circuit and received six entries into the U.S. Open.
You're going to encounter so-called pushers all throughout your tennis life, the majority at a young age, but you'll still come across them later. Pushers are tricky for a lot of people, and they tend to make you beat yourself.
Hopefully, most times going into your match, you know beforehand a little bit about their game style. And if they're a pusher or not, one of the most important things is staying patient with yourself from start to finish. If you're someone who is usually very aggressive and offensive, then you're probably going to have to pick and choose when to go big on your shots. You may be used to short quick points, but with a pusher, you may have to play an extra few balls and earn it.
Generally, it's best to start matches with big targets and gradually spread the court once you start to get comfortable with going for more. One good strategy would be to look for balls, you can move into the court on and take out of the air as a swing volley, and make your way to the net to finish the point off. If you don't have a swing volley in your arsenal and struggle with pushers, then you should start practicing and developing it to have as an extra option down the road.
It would also be important to have good approach shots and solid volleys around the net. Even though you're playing a pusher you need to be focused on your own game and not so much worried about how your opponent is playing. Stay focused on your strengths and be patiently aggressive. When you get an opportunity to be offensive, go for it with smart targets, and always be prepared for another ball to come back.
The more you get to play against someone with this type of game style, the better you'll get at knowing how to beat them. Just remember to focus on yourself. Stay patient and continue to be positive throughout the entire match.