Rafael Nadal ForehandA very common problem I see often on the court is that players are too upright when hitting their shots. This results in the racquet having to compensate and can lead to errors. Part of the problem is caused by lack of distance between the feet. When you put more distance between your feet your legs will be more inclined to bend. Obviously there’s a limit to how much distance but somewhat greater than shoulder width apart is a good starting point.

Federer backhandOn ground strokes you don’t want to stay down through the entire shot so you have to drop and lift. To do this at the appropriate time you simply key the bounce of the ball. When the ball bounces on your side you lower yourself and when you hit and finish your shot you lift up. You won’t always be able to do this (e.g. deep, high bouncing balls or very short balls and very wide balls) but it works beautifully for pretty much everything else.

On low volleys, whenever possible, you’ll always play them better when you get distance between your feet. The lifting part here is more about recovering for the next shot than an integral part of the volley itself.

The best way to practice dropping and lifting is during cooperative rallying with a partner or on a ball machine. Drop down on the bounce while putting distance between your feet and lift up as you hit and finish. Once you get your body and racquet in sync with the flight of ball you’ll notice a positive difference in the way it feels and your shot making will certainly improve.