As a tennis professional and coach, I have given my students many specific ideas designed to improve the chances of a positive outcome in their matches. I'm sure your pro or coach has given you the "get your first serve in" advice. Another common idea a coach may communicate is to limit your unforced errors.
There are numerous additional examples like these that are based on the statistics showing how the outcome of a point is affected by certain shots that are made or not made, and by the trends shown in a large number of matches. I have read and heard a lot of coaches say that just because approximately 75 percent of points end before four hits have been made, this does not mean we should spend more time on practicing the beginning of the point. I just don't understand how this makes sense. Is it a coincidence that the best statistical servers and returners of serve are also the best players in the world? In addition, I believe that these statistics are even more important at the levels below the professional level. The points are shorter, and the basic ideas like getting your first serve in, getting the first few balls in play, etc., have a bigger impact on the players who are not as good.
Take a look at Craig O'Shannessy's Brain Game Tennis (www.braingametennis.com) products. There are lots of free statistical coaching aids, as well as many more in depth products that can really make a difference in your practices and your matches.
Statistics matter and we should practice and train so we can improve our statistical results in a match situation and have more overall success on the court.
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 email@example.com or call 865-300-7323