I definitely didn’t think this up on my own and I can’t remember where I heard it, so if anyone recognizes this point, please tell me who originated it so I can give credit.
The idea is that we watch the ball 4/5 of it’s flight toward us and then in the last 1/5 of it’s flight just before we whack it, we look to where it is supposed to land. This causes mishits and out of sweetspot hits and sometimes an entire whiff of the ball.
I’ve had this problem most of my tennis life. Now I sometimes spend entire practice sessions trying to overcome this problem. I can’t say I’ve defeated it, but I can say that effort in this area definitely pays off.
I force myself to look at the ball when I hit it and to keep my head stll after I hit the ball. This is gradually making me a much cleaner ball striker, which means I don’t have to swing as hard to get the same pace on the ball.
This also is important on the serve. Too often we look to see where it lands (usually in the net or the back fence) instead of keeping our head up long past when we see the flash of the racquet.
So, pay attention to that last 1/5 and watch your strokes improve.