I have often stated how difficult competitive tennis is. There are so many different aspects for a player to focus on. Basically, tennis is a game of repetition. Players are trying to produce shots that are effective, and then, repeat them over and over.
As players get better, the opponent often adjusts to their shots, making them less effective. Our instincts are to come up with some type of alternative like a slice, a faster shot, a shot with more or less spin, etc. There is some value to this since it will make it more difficult for the opponent to anticipate what is coming.
However, it is more important to be consistent than to have all kinds of different shots coming off of your racquet. Stick with your regular shots as much as possible. If the opponent seems to be anticipating your crosscourt forehand, just hit one ball down the line early in the point. Go back to your regular pattern (crosscourt) and throw in the variety once in a while.
It is not necessary (and often not wise) to try to change up your shots too often. A shot hit well, even though your opponent may be looking for it, will be more effective than a change-up that is not hit well. In addition, changing the shot often disrupts your own timing so unforced errors tend to pile up.
Try to choose consistency over variety and just throw in the change up once in a while.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org