I sure think you do indeed need to get your raquet prepared asap. If you watch rec players, of which the vast majority of us truly are (despite our deepest wishes) - it's late preparation that just kills even halfway decent footwork.
Now, that said, I don't buy that guy (was it Wenger?) that preached "traciing the arc of the ball toward you with the backswing." That to me was crap and forced rushed shots as players tried to make up time...