I have students ask me all the time, "What am I doing wrong"?
Although there can be some benefit to figuring out why you missed a shot in tennis, it is much more helpful to emphasize what you are trying to do. Reminding yourself to start the “getting ready” process by turning your shoulders, or focusing on following through close to your opposite shoulder, can result in the type of shot that you are trying to hit.
It is important to use just one or two thoughts prior to executing the shot. These thoughts need to be positive and helpful. I usually focus on getting ready and watching the ball all the way through the point of contact. Analyzing your mistakes just prior to hitting a shot or playing a point is likely to result in more problems on the next shot. If you are trying to hit crosscourt, remind yourself to get ready early, make contact well out in front, and get your racquet, arms, and shoulders all moving together during the swing.
Coach yourself by staying with what you want to do and reminding yourself of how you will do it, and keeping your thoughts simple and positive with no thoughts about what just went wrong during the last point. Always look forward to the next shot, next point, and next task.
Keep your focus on what you want to do.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323