There are many different ways to get your shot to go where you want it to go on the tennis court. The position that you set up in is the most reliable. This will make you swing in the direction of your target. However, the best players use the contact point on the ball to help get the direction they are looking for.
This is done by trying to get your strings to make contact with the ball directly in line with the target. This means that you should hit the ball on the left hand side to hit it to the right, and the right hand side to hit it to the left. To hit the ball straight ahead, hit it exactly on the back side—neither right or left.
You can move your contact point more or less to either side depending on how far in that direction you are trying to hit the ball. The effect is that you will be lining up the racquet face with the desired spot that you are sending the ball.
Remember that there are other factors such as shoulder position, timing, spin, and the direction that you swing. My recommendation is to use several of these together to get the desired shot direction.
Using the "pick a spot on the ball" idea will help the direction and also make you watch the ball even closer, which is always a great area of concentration.
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