Just like in a football game or at a timeout in a basketball game, you can plan a play before you start a point in a tennis match.
Your idea needs to be simple and you must understand that, in tennis, you may not have the ability to control all of the variables required to execute it. If you have a good wide serve to either side of the court, try serving wide and following it up with the next shot to the open side of the court. Be ready to move forward if you execute this well.
There are all kinds of variations you can try, such as mixing in a plan that starts with a down the middle serve and then a shot to the outside of the court. I would recommend using a short plan, two or three shots, and then play by instinct or habit if the point lasts longer than expected. Even if things don’t always go as you had planned, try to be persistent if you believe the play will work.
Having a point plan will make you more decisive and will likely result in better shots and fewer errors caused by indecision. Don’t be afraid to use your “play” over and over if it is working and keep designing the point according to your strengths.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) MyHamptonsPro (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Baron’s Cove Resort In Sag Harbor, NY, as well as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323