This seems like a minor detail, but it’s very important and can make or break your next shot.
Many players do not assume the correct ready position when they are waiting to hit the ball. The racquet should be directly in front of you with the racquet head above the height of your hands. If you have a two-handed backhand, both hands should be together on the grip. Most players have their dominant hand in the forehand grip position and the other hand in the backhand grip position. Your feet should be on the ground with your weight slightly on the balls of your feet. Try to keep your knees slightly bent and your balance neutral so you can react in any direction that the ball may end up.
Using a split-step just before the opponent swings at the ball will help with your balance. Try to get into the ready position just before your opponent strikes the ball. Hit your shot and return to that position again before your opponent's next shot. Do not let your racquet head drop or let your racquet drift towards your forehand or backhand side before your opponent hits.
Keep repeating these ideas and you will be amazed at how much better your reaction to the opponent's shot will be.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) and MyHamptonsPro based in Sag Harbor, NY (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Tennis Professional at Ventana Canyon Golf and Racquet Club in Tucson, AZ. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at email@example.com or call 865-300-7323