You can look at football, basketball or even baseball and softball. It doesn't matter, There is one thing that all opponents are trying to do to each other in order to win. This one factor will most likely be the difference between winning and losing. That factor is to take away time. If it's the quarterback getting pressured by the defense, or the shot clock running low, the biggest factor that will impact the game is the ability to create time to execute the athletic move needed to win. I personally found this out when I moved to Colorado. High altitude tennis is a much faster game and I immediately had a hard time adjusting based on the simple fact that time was taken away from me. So how do you get more time? Let's look at a few methods to help.
#1 Prepare Faster
Without a proper backswing you cannot accelerate effectively into the ball. To figure out if you are preparing fast enough, try this simple test. Wherever you are on the court and no matter what the situation is, when your opponent hits the ball in the net you should already have your racquet turned to the side the ball was going to come to. The best way to check this is on the return of serve. When the serve goes in the net, are you already loaded (see video below on what loaded means) and ready to return the ball? This will allow you to keep the contact point of your swing in front of you.
#2 Start Your Swing Earlier
Many times we have good intentions to hitting the ball early but we misjudge the amount of time it takes to get our racquet back and then moving forward (hence "C" swing). The best way to work on this issue is to hit mini tennis. Hit from the service line and start taking big looping backswings and full swings but when you hit it, the ball needs to go in the service box. To do this you need to have a slow, smooth swing so that you can meet the ball out in front of you. The only way to do that is to start your swing earlier than you're used to. This takes practice but once you feel the contact point well in front of you with a fluid swing you will know you're doing it right.
The fastest players on the court are not necessarily the fastest off the court. Meaning the fastest tennis players can anticipate where their opponent is hitting so they have a head start to the ball. If you do not look for patterns of where your opponent is hitting the ball, you will most likely struggle with getting prepared fast enough to have an effective swing. Next time you play, try to watch your opponent's body posture to see if you can pick up on where they will be hitting next.
Want to hit the ball harder? Try thinking about how all sports, including tennis is related. Check out this video for more info.