One of the biggest differences between low to mid level players and higher level players is how fast they recover to the ‘T’ after playing their shot. One the most noticeable areas I see this on court is at the front corners.
It is extremely common to see a player rush up to get a boast or drop that their opponent has played to one of the front corners, hit a drop and then get stuck in the front corner. If their opponent gets to the ball earlier enough they can often end the point with a cross court drive as they have not been able to get back to ‘T’ to take that shot away.
The objective is to clear back as close to the ‘T’ as you can and still be able to cover a counter drop. The faster you are and the better you read your opponents shot the closer to the ‘T’ you can get and still cover the counter drop. If you get back close to the ‘T’ you have taken away that cross court kill. In fact you are now in a position to attack it and send your opponent running on the diagonal if they don’t play it extremely wide.
The reason that so many players get stuck in the front corner is that they over run the ball. They get too close to the ball and hence the front corner and they can’t stop their forward momentum fast enough to be able to clear. Staying further away from the ball and lunging to it definitely helps. It keeps you closer to the ‘T’ so you have less distant to cover on the way back to it. It also puts your forward leg in a good position to push back off of which also helps you recover to the ‘T’ faster.
Remember it is equally important to be quick away from the ball while recoverying to the ‘T’ as it is being quick to the ball!