I have stated many times that if there were one way to do anything in tennis, all of the players would look the same. They do not. For instance, many of the players who have great forehands look very different when hitting their shots. Closed stance, open stance, western, semi-western, or eastern grips, follow throughs, the amount of spin, and many other things vary from player to player.
There are obviously a lot of things that these players have in common as far as technique goes. Hitting the ball early and solid, keeping the swing the same or similar on each shot, watching the ball all the way through the contact point, getting your position to be the same on as many shots as possible, and keeping consistent thoughts each time you hit your shots, are all qualities of a good player.
My idea when working with a pure beginner is to give them the basic fundamentals (shoulder turn, take a couple of steps, and nice long, smooth swing) on their groundstrokes and then let them develop some of their own natural movements. If I am working with a player who has been playing for a time, I will observe how they hit the ball, point out the good things that they do, and then if needed, try to give suggestions or make small adjustments to improve what the player already does.
I truly believe that most players will end up with good technique as long as their basics (grip, swing pattern, and footwork) are not far away from what is considered textbook. It is very common for tennis professionals to "pick a stroke apart" and overanalyze to the detriment of the player. I go back to my main philosophy when trying to teach and coach technique and fundamentals in tennis-keep things simple and consistent and the results will come.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com throughout the Hamptons, NY. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center (Tucson, AZ) for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at email@example.com