Because the speed of the ball has increased on the tennis court these days, it is a natural reflex to back up and give yourself more time.
I would recommend starting a step or two further back, and then gradually moving forward as the point gets longer. It’s a huge advantage to hit the ball from inside the baseline since your shot will get back to the opponent much sooner, taking away time. Hitting from closer in also allows you to cut off the angles on the wide balls and forces the opponent to use very deep shots to try to push you back. In addition, you are less likely to hit the ball into the net, and the balls struck from inside the baseline can be hit at sharper angles with less risk of an error.
It does take better preparation and quick reactions to execute this idea. Keep your focus on the ball and try to immediately recognize whether your next shot is a forehand or a backhand. The closer in position will allow you to take less steps to the ball and save you a lot of running as the match progresses.
Challenge yourself to use your position to put the pressure on your opponent, control more of the points, and save a lot of steps over the course of the match.
Steve Annacone, USPTA Elite Pro, is the Director of Annacone Tennis (http://www.annaconetennis.com) MyHamptonsPro (http://www. myhamptonspro.com) and Baron’s Cove Resort In Sag Harbor, NY, as well as Volunteer Assistant Coach for the University of Arizona Women’s team. For details on lessons, clinics, or coaching, contact Steve at email@example.com or call 865-300-7323