Coaching tip of the week: Heavy and No-Spin Pushes
(By Larry Hodges)
A good, quick, well-placed, heavy, low, deep push is valuable at all levels, even the world-class level. So develop all aspects of that shot, especially against backspin or no-spin serves. But there’s another weapon that many forget, and that’s the no-spin push.
Against your heavier push, many opponents will simply drop their racket and spin more, and you’ll face a non-stop series of aggressive loops. But one way to really break this up is to throw a “heavy” no-spin push at them. A heavy no-spin push is a push where you fake great backspin, but put little spin on the ball. (This is the same as a heavy no-spin serve, where you fake spin but little spin on the ball.) The opponent, who is so used to lifting against your heavy backspins, will likely drop his shoulder and lift, and the ball will sail off the end. Note that while a “no-spin” serve is exactly that, a “no-spin” push usually has a small amount of backspin, though not always.
But the real weapon here is that it not only wins the point, but now the opponent will likely hesitate each time, not sure if the ball is heavy backspin or not. And so he’ll not only make mistakes against the no-spin pushes, but against the heavier ones he had no trouble with earlier.
How do you do a heavy no-spin push? Just do a conventional heavy push, except don’t graze the ball much, and more importantly, snap the wrist after contact. For heavy backspin, of course, you snap the wrist into the ball to create all that backspin. Develop a heavy backspin push as a top priority, both because it alone is effective, and because a no-spin push isn’t that effective if you don’t also have a heavy one.