Tennis can be a very complicated game. Over the years I have been trying to simplify my coaching and instruction so that the execution during an actual point is more likely to be successful.
When serving, think one, two and three: one is the starting position, two is the toss and the racquet moving to the head and shoulder area, and three is the contact of the racquet and the ball. Focus on getting the toss in the same area each time and developing a good rhythm, which is the reason for the counting.
When returning serve, think shoulder turn, one or two steps, and early contact point. Focus on watching the ball from the server's hand all the way to the contact point on your racquet.
When hitting groundstrokes think shoulder turn, two, three, four steps, and then use the same swing with a good follow through every time. When at the net and volleying, think shoulder turn, very little racquet movement, and hit the ball in the early direction.
Overall basic thought should be to hit three or four regular shots on as many points as possible during the match and watch the ball all the way from the beginning to the end of the point. Using these basic thoughts over and over again will increase your chance for success and help simplify the game.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call 865-300-7323