| By Steve Annacone
Photo courtesy of Getty Images


Over the years, I have seen many examples of players over analyzing what they need to do against a specific player. They "scout" the player, figure out the opponent's strengths and weaknesses, and then come up with a game plan.

My philosophy for most players is to focus on what you want to do based on your own game, and then focus on the ball. In most cases, if a player executes their strategy and uses their strengths well, the opponent is going to be the player who has to make adjustments to what is going on. The goal should be to make the opponent uncomfortable and force them to try to do things outside of their normal game. I am not in favor of a player basing their game plan on who they are playing. There are times when you must make adjustments to make it more difficult for your opponent by exploiting their weaknesses and avoiding their strengths, but it is more important to do what you do well and try to maximize your own game.

Focusing just on the ball and not the person you are playing is a great way to do this. Watch the ball and react using your normal shots and strategy. Try to take the opponent out of the equation by making them deal with your best game. This will give you a great chance to play your best and put yourself in a position to win the match, even against a very good player.


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 info@annaconetennis.com