Confidence is a big factor when you are playing a match. We have all seen players at the professional level suddenly have problems making a specific shot after an error. Often, the serve seems to be the most common trouble area. However, your forehand, backhand, volley or overhead can all succumb to the lack of confidence that occurs when missing.
The best players can often overcome this issue by continuing to hit the shot like they normally do, but with one or two adjustments. Hitting to a bigger target (middle of the court or middle of the service box) may be all you need to do to execute the shot successfully. Adding a little height over the net or increasing the amount of spin can also help. The tendency is to slow the shot down, which can make it very difficult to time the contact point correctly, as well as increasing the chances of your swing changing.
My advice is to keep hitting your shot the way you usually do and follow one of the adjustments I mentioned. This will give you more consistent results and allow your body to make subtle corrections that will give you a great chance to make the shot.
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