Recently I had an epiphany. It wasn’t anything that wasn’t obvious, but it was something that underlined a primary difference between hackers and pros – or more generally, between lower-level and higher-level players. And that is the habit of balance.
While practicing with a student, I hit a net ball to the right-handed student’s forehand side. The student immediately reached for the ball. This put his weight on his right foot. Since he could no longer step with that foot (try it, you’ll see), he was forced to lunge for the ball. He managed to reach it and popped it back on the table, an easy winner for any decent opponent.