There is no one "best" way to play tennis.
Some players win by keeping the ball in play and running down as many shots as possible.
Others have big weapons like their serve or forehand, and can use those shots to get their opponent in trouble or win the point.
There are players who are capable of mixing up their shots, hitting some very powerful balls, but also throwing in a high looping shot or a slice to change up the pace and draw errors from the opponent.
Serving and return of serve specialists use the first shot to either win the point or take control, not really allowing the other player to execute their game plan.
The point is, you have to come up with a style and plan that fits your skill set. Players can always get better at hitting the ball and adding things to their game, but most already have the shots they need to be successful if they are able to find the right strategy.
Look for the right combination of consistency and aggressiveness in your play and stick with this idea as much as possible. If you like the points that last three or four hits, don't try to out steady your opponent and run around chasing balls down. If you are good at keeping the ball going, don't try to end the point early with a risky big shot.
Evaluate your strengths and weaknesses in your hitting and put together a simple plan for as many points as possible in your matches, to help find your best game.
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.