Hi, I've been playing for 3 years and I consider myself an immediate player. I've tried different kinds of footworks and tried copying Lin Dan's footwork(which wasn't a smart idea). I could get to every shot, except the cross court long drops, and or long drops. I think it has to do with my reaction being slow, but it might just be my footwork? I'm in the middle of the court when the birdie gets to my opponent's court, but when they long drop, I don't have enough time to get them!
used to happen to me.... until my legs got stronger, and my feet has better push off, assuming you have split step, everything changed. Hard to explain. I am doing the same footwork/movement pattern that my coach taught me. I couldn't reach some drops before, but now, not only I get to them, I get there early enough to have options.
If the clear is short and I have to depend powerful smashes, I will give the front court to my opponent. I will be ready for smashes and punch clears. My opponent has better be making the drop counts. If he has no deception, and the drop is slow, I will be there.
Make sure you split step. I have trouble believing that you have an easier time getting the straight drop than the cross drop; isn't it algebraic that the cross drop takes a longer time? If the psychological game is a problem, I definitely recommend timing your split step properly and making your first push/rotation fast.
One common mistake is that is hard to get rid of is the stiffness of your body. I agree that split step is one of the keys into getting there but it won't help much unless you are relaxed. Stiffness causes your body to raact slowly and also getting stuck at your current position.
Another factor is to read the game. Sometimes you can tell, unless your opponent is a pro, what kind of shot he or she will execute next. Some people tend to create different types of habits in their strokes thus making it easier to notice what will come next. You can exploit this as well.
Although I think the main problem is that your body is not relaxed enough, it could also be a combination of the above mentioned factors.