It is human nature to try to figure out what went wrong when you miss a shot on the tennis court. Most of us would be better off approaching things a different way.
The first step is to identify if the miss was caused by the opponent hitting a good shot. If this is the case, it is best just to move on and remind yourself of a couple of basics: keeping your eye on the ball and continuing to be ready for the ball to come back.
If you feel your error was unforced, rather than figuring out the cause, try to come up with one thing that will help you make the shot the next time. Some examples might be hitting the shot crosscourt instead of down the line; hitting more spin on the ball; hitting the ball more to the middle of the court; or just emphasizing the basic "watch the ball and be ready" ideas. This concept seems obvious but it is hard not to analyze all of the things that go wrong on the court.
If the focus is on what you did wrong, it takes away from your ability to play the shot or the point better next time. Help your body and mind work together by keeping things simple and focusing on your next opportunity, rather than dwelling on what has already happened.
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 email@example.com