We coaches use the expression 'get behind the ball' all the time but don't always clearly define exactly what we mean by it, so this morning I thought I'd share a definition with you.
We 'get behind the ball' when we place our outside foot (right foot for a right-hander on a forehand for example) behind the line of the incoming ball before it bounces and refer to this as 'beating the bounce'.
Getting behind the ball or setting up behind the ball gives a player the best opportunity effectively use the ground and therefore legs to transfer weight into the shot.
See here a couple of examples by Everyball players Beth Grey and Amelie Brooks as they work on progressively more challenging exercises to develop this which can involve simple hand feeding and catching/hitting (shown) to tougher basket and live ball drills (not shown).
'Getting behind the ball' (beating the bounce) will also develop a player's reception skills as early reading of opponent's shot direction and then depth is key. A good analogy would be getting to the bus stop before the bus arrives as opposed to getting there at the same time and rushing to get on!