Tactics for backhand and forehand drivers against the push

Ask the coachCategory: Tactics & match-playTactics for backhand and forehand drivers against the push
Leon asked 9 months ago

It was an impressive training drill video watching Craig Bryant open up with forehand topspin against the push.

However, many older players like myself, are either not good at topspin or don’t like using it in our matches.

Therefore, when it’s a pushing rally in a match situation, what general tactics can a good forehand and a good backhand driver use to create a point whereby one can end up using a forehand or backhand drive to help win the point, from that pushing rally? These type of players want an alternative tactic to do evil attacking pushes to beat a pusher, that doesn’t involve topspin.

Also, is there any chance of a video training drill being made from a pushing rally to eventually being able to use a forehand or backhand drive?

1 Answers
Tom Lodziak Staff answered 9 months ago

You will always be more limited in your attacking options if you cannot topspin. If your opponent keeps pushing low and with decent backspin, then you won’t have many (or any) opportunities to use your drives.
You can try picking off any looser pushes – those ones which pop up a little, with only light backspin – but really, you’ll get stuck playing pushing rallies most of the time. Against this sort of opponent, you might want to serve topspin more often, to make it hard for him/her to keep pushing low and increasing the chances you can use your drive shots.
But ultimately, you will benefit hugely from learning to topspin a backspin ball. Then it doesn’t matter how often your opponent pushes – and how heavy the backspin – you will always have an attacking option. And your age is no obstacle here. I have taught players in their 60s, 70s and 80s how to do forehand and backhand topspins. It’s possible to do at any age. This would be a much better use of your time, instead of doing a drill where your try to push, then drive.