Many tennis players tend to "steer" the ball in the direction that they want it to go. This involves changing your swing so that it goes more towards your target.
Most of the work is done by your hands and your racquet. It is much better if you can use your shoulders to direct the ball. Try to position yourself so that the front shoulder is pointing in the direction you would like the ball to go. Your goal should be to hold that position right up to the point of contact.
When hitting crosscourt, it is okay to let your shoulders open up slightly early but be careful not to overdo this. When hitting down the line, try keeping your shoulders sideways a little longer than normal. Finally, if you are trying to hit the ball inside out, turn your shoulders past sideways and hold that position as long as possible.
All of these thoughts help your swing move in the direction of your target and require much less help from your hands and your racquet. Placing the ball will become much more accurate and consistent using your shoulders as the key.
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