"Do the simple right, then do the simple better, then simply be the best at doing the simple. The pros do the simple so well you think it's complicated!" This is a simple concept that seems to elude most players.
Players want to learn intricate mechanics, techniques, strategies and tactics that will magically improve their game. But they fail to execute many simple techniques and strategies that would advance their game far beyond their expectations!
Getting ready quickly after you have hit your shot and focusing on your opponent's next shot is one such technique. I have gone over this technique many, many times but its importance bears repeating as often as possible. Speed on the tennis courts depends on this technique.
If you would like to increase your speed, you must learn to get ready for your opponent's return immediately after each and every shot you hit. Sounds logical and easy enough, but I spend months and years training players to "get ready NOW!" Most players waste time judging the quality of their shot before they get ready for the return shot. They are slowing down their game tremendously, yet they have no idea they are even doing it. Because players are not aware that they are guilty of this infraction, the toughest obstacle to overcome in mastering this concept is the player themselves. Most players believe they are getting ready quickly, but they are not! Are you?
Executing this 'get ready quick' technique is more mental than physical. When you are focused on whether or not you made the shot after you hit it, you are thinking incorrectly. Instead, you should immediately take your mind off your shot and onto what your opponent is going to do with his or her shot.
This thought process occurs as you are simultaneously straddling back into ready position. I call this technique "the Vision Straddle." You are watching to see what your opponent is going to do as you are straddling back into ready position. Not an easy task for most players who have trained themselves to stand back and marvel at the magnificence of their shot!
Or if their excellent shots do not make them stand there and stare, the bad shots certainly will! Often when players hit a bad shot, even though the shot lands in the court they stop and judge the poor quality of the shot instead of getting ready for the next shot.
In my tennis clinics I often yell, "Get ready! Get ready!" when I see players completely stop during a point. Because they did not hit the ball according to their mental blueprint, they have momentarily drifted off to wonderland. The point goes on, and they ultimately lose the point.
How are you supposed to get ready for the next shot when your focus is on the quality of your shot and not on getting ready for your opponent's next attack? Thousands and thousands of points are lost daily because of this misdirection of focus. Although this mental blunder is occurring right in the middle of the point, "the next shot is more important than the last mistake" certainly applies!
Getting ready quickly is all about how you think and NOT some exceptional physical athletic feat. You can increase your speed on the court significantly if you are willing to change your thinking.
If I were you, I would hit the courts with a friend to practice the Vision Straddle technique. NO ADMIRING your great shots and NO ADMONISHING your bad shots... just get ready NOW!