Without the right technique and mindset playing somebody that just gets everything back with little or no pace (pusher) can be the most frustrating thing ever.
So what’s needed to successfully dispatch with this annoying opponent?
It all starts with technique, but from there you MUST have mental confidence in your abilities on the court. Especially during those “do or die” moments during a match.
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I completely agree that repetition builds confidence.
But regarding "faking confidence" without having the repetition and experience, I believe that can be done and it can shorten the amount of repetition needed to gain confidence and the ability to relax.
It's done with the mental skills from the book "the inner game of tennis."
imagine switching from a 2hbh to a 1hbh. while first practicing, you're going to be tight. and you may need 1000 reps to master the stroke.
but using mental skills such as relaxing your body and face and not criticizing yourself after mistakes, you may only need 750 reps to master the stroke.
Ultimately, like you said, it comes down to tons of repetition to gain confidence. Using "the inner games" mental skills without repetitions won't do anything. which is basically "faking confidence"
All I'm saying is the amount of repetition needed to gain confidence can be shortened using mental skills.
In his autobiography, Nadal makes the statement "The secret lies in being able to do what you know you can do when you most need it." I think Nadal is referring to the "match confidence" concept that Ian addressed in the podcast.
Nadal also gives insight to his in-match mindset. He says, "I'm making calculations all the time as I play, trying to judge the best tactic considering how I am feeling at a given moment, my sense of the opponent's morale, and how the score is going."
Food for thought…
I greatly enjoyed listening to this new episode. Ian you hit the nail on the head when you said that many rec players can have lengthy fluid swing but they lose that whenever they go for speed. This happens to me a lot when I practice drills with my 5.0 partner. When the pace picks up on say a deep cross court drill, my swing falls apart, I get tight and I even don't set up properly anymore. Even though this episode is geared towards beating pushers, there's a ton of valuable information here especially with the development of fast confident swings through repetition while accepting the fast that it's not an overnight process. I will surely do more drills geared towards this purpose. Thanks Ian!
Excellent, great to hear that this episode was helpful, Joe.
I've listened to various "pusher" podcasts and videos, and I have yet to find one that covers the pusher in doubles, particularly that one backcourt player who constantly keeps the ball high and deep so that it stays away from my partner at the net. Since it's doubles, I can't really move the ball around and I can't keep up with the consistency needed to keep the ball in or away from the opposing net player for a whole match. What are some strategies to get past this?
Try practicing the overhead slice off the bounce, which will stay low and be hard for your opponent to control. This will require them to hit up and give you and your net partner an opportunity for a put-away volley. The other option is to take it off the bounce with a top spin ground stroke, but they will just likely lob you if you try to come in. Try the overhead slice after the ball bounces.
That shot can definitely be helpful!