You hit a shot, then stand there to watch your ball travel into
your opponent's court. I wonder what's going through your mind as
you just stand there. Maybe something like, "gee what a nice shot,"
or "Oh! that shot's going out," or "hey, I got it over the net," or
"that's not where I intended the ball to go!"
I have done numerous drills, articles, and even an audiotape, on the
art of getting ready IMMEDIATELY after hitting a shot. Guess what?
It's tough!!! Not many players do it correctly with any consistency.
So, here is another quick tip on the subject.
What you should be thinking the instant the ball hits your strings is
NOT WHAT YOU HAVE DONE WITH THE BALL, BUT WHAT YOUR OPPONENT IS GOING
TO DO WITH THE BALL. As soon as the ball hits your strings you should
be moving back into ready position BEFORE you know whether your ball
is in or out, up or down, over or under, or wherever, and you should
begin thinking about your opponent's shot. You must shift your mind
off YOU (I know how difficult this is :) and your side of the court
and onto your opponent's side of the court.
If you are still having trouble getting ready INSTANTLY, try this and
see if it helps. The next time you hit a ball, IMMEDIATELY focus
OUTWARDLY to your opponent's court. Most players hit the ball and
stay focused INWARDLY. Even when the ball is in their opponent's
court they are still thinking inwardly about what they have done! You
must learn to focus outwardly on what your opponent is going to do.
When the ball hits your strings your shot is OVER and your priority
must shift IMMEDIATELY to your opponent's shot.
It's not over until it's over!