Watch the ball come off of your opponent's racquet, turn your shoulders for a forehand or a backhand, and get your feet moving to the ball.
Try to make contact just out in front of your body and once you finish the shot, get ready for the ball to come back.
There are several reasons to hit the ball early. Hitting the majority of your shots in the early direction will help you eliminate many of your errors. The ball will usually go in a crosscourt direction giving you more distance between the point of contact and the landing area. This will also create an angled shot which will make your opponent run more.
Hitting early also gives you a better line of vision to see the ball at impact. This idea will take away time from your opponent as well and likely make them feel rushed, forcing more errors on their end.
Make hitting the ball early your "go to" idea and you will see some great results.
Steve Annacone, an USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (www.annaconetennis.com). For details on lessons and camps in Sag Harbor and throughout the Hamptons this summer contact firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com