I know this sounds pretty crazy, but you should not be trying to think while you are playing a point in a tennis match.
This idea goes against what our mind is telling us as well as what it is trying to do. We will usually have the tendency to try to work things out in our head during the exchange of shots in a point. Unfortunately, this will have a negative impact on all of the practice and training we have done, and it may cause us to make errors due to indecision.
It is much better to just play the point once it starts. Before the point, choose one technique idea and one strategy idea to remind yourself how you would like to hit the ball and play the point. After the point is over, assess what has just happened and repeat the one technique, one strategy idea. You may have to make some adjustments based on what the last point was like, but still try to keep things simple.
On the changeovers you can have a little more detail in your own self-coaching, but overall, try not to over analyze. Letting your body react automatically and instinctively gives you the best chance to execute your shot and play the point the way you want to. In order to do this, we need to have less going on in our head.
Don't think during the point!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.