Players tend to think that having more time will help them hit a better shot. Many players actually let the ball drop from close to an optimum position before making contact.
I believe that too much time can cause many problems for players. Timing, indecision, and having to hit the ball up to clear the net are just a few. When hitting groundstrokes, most shots should be hit when the ball is close to the peak of the bounce. If the ball is going to bounce above shoulder height, it is better to try to hit it on the way up rather than going way back and waiting for it to come down.
It is also a good idea to hit your volleys at a higher point if the ball is going to drop. Use your feet to go towards the ball and make contact out in front. Try hitting your serve at the peak of the toss instead of letting it drop. This may mean tossing it slightly lower (only as high as the middle of the strings when your arm is extended), and getting the racquet to the ball with a more continuous motion.
All of these ideas will make you more decisive and will also get the ball back to your opponent sooner than they expected. Hit the ball before it drops whenever possible to improve your footwork and make contact in the optimum hitting zone more often.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis, www.annaconetennis.com and MyHamptonsPro, www.myhamptonspro.com in East Hampton, NY . Steve is also a tennis professional at Ventana Golf and Country Club in Tucson, AZ. In addition, Steve and Miguel Coelho have introduced the JET (Junior Elite Tennis) program at the Tucson Jewish Community Center for high level players ages 8-18. Please contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org