"If you do not have the time to do it right, when will you have the time to do it over?"
- Coach John Wooden
There is three major components to consider and learn when playing tennis and those are: Form, Footwork & Timing (FFT). Here i will try to help you understand better why those three components are so important.
First, if you are going to capture, drive and follow the ball, you have to move your racket in a very specific, preset way. This is what we call form and it is absolutely essential at being successful when playing tennis. You often hear coaches talking about the "shape" of your stroke. Well that "shape" is important because it will help you produce a good shot. If the shape is not correct than it leads to a poor contact with the ball.
Second, in order for you to have the ball contact the racket successfully you are going to have to move yourself around so that the ball actually "hits" the stroke rather than change the stroke to "hit" the ball. (As a coach is see that often, that's a major No, No !! ) So, move your feet !!!
Lastly, once i start moving correctly, to line up my stroke in the path of the ball, then it's all about the timing. There is two parts of it: you have the timing to connect with the ball & the timing to apply the effect you seek (it could be spin, speed or placement).
If i had to break those three components into percentages of importance, i would say playing tennis well is about 60% form, 35% footwork and 5% timing.
As i first start teach beginner or intermediate level players i tend to focus more on improving their form. As i work with more advanced players i spend a lot of time on footwork. After that there is elite players (college, pro, 5.0 and up) and what separates them from anyone else is their timing.
Hope you find this information useful and can help you work on your FFT !
See you soon !