The moment before your opponent hits the ball, you should do a little jump, with your feet slightly wider than your shoulders. This movement, gives you the “bounce” effect that means you can move faster to the ball.
In fact, it is a form of plyometrics, which is the idea of compressing the muscles in one movement to allow them to release at greater power than from a static position. That’s why plyometrics is so good for you and what is the most common plyometrics training? Yes, that’s right, skipping. Perfect for boxers and squash players.
Once your heels touch the ground, it takes more time to get moving than if you were bouncing.
The timing of the jump is crucial because if you do it too early all benefit is lost and you will probably be slower.
If you do it too late, you will be in the air when the ball is moving and by the time you land, you will be a little late.
The key is to start to jump JUST before you think the ball is about to be hit BUT don’t jump too high. You are just doing a little bounce to make sure you are ready to pounce once you know where the ball is going.
Like everything worth working for, you will need to practice until it feels comfortable.
If you can, watch some professionals matches on YouTube and focus on this aspect of their movement. Especially, Nicole David, who moves so beautifully.
Lastly, notice what happens when a player hits the ball off the back wall and the opponent at the front. He or she often waits….and waits….and waits before hitting the ball.