| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


I have discussed this several times in different ways when presenting my tips. Hitting the ball and actually playing a point are two very different things. Hitting the ball well helps you play the point better. However, just randomly hitting the ball against a good player will not be very effective.

I recommend focusing on serving, returning serve, and hitting a lot of crosscourt groundstrokes (or volleys) at the beginning of the point. Most players tend to play their shots to the opening on the court. The good players actually play their shots to an area that will be easiest for them to hit their shot well.

I am a firm believer that it is more important to focus on your own game rather than adjusting everything according to your opponent's strengths and weaknesses. If you have a great crosscourt forehand, hit it crosscourt most of the time even if your opponent has a good shot on that side. Knowing your strengths and weaknesses can help you play the points with a better chance of success. Targeting your opponent's weaknesses is also a good play, but do this only after you have established your own game plan with your best shots and strategies.

Remind yourself of one basic technique idea and one basic strategy idea before you play the point. Even if you have no aspirations of playing at a competitive level, learning how to play points during a match will help you enjoy the game more and definitely solidify your ability to hit the tennis ball.


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 info@annaconetennis.com or call 865-300-7323