Forehand Consistency. Read it. NOW. Read it. I took the time to write this, you can take the time to read it. If your forehand is inconsistent or you're just looking for tips in general, that is. It's sort of long, but you can skip to the parts you like that are bolded. And it's an easy read, anyway. Above all, I tried to keep it as simple as possible. It's not that you're stupid, it's that most people (including myself) have no idea what the hell is going on when you find a huge post filled with frequent referencing of the "kinetic chain" and extremely detailed accounts of the most minute details. Let's face it, that's not going to help most people. I didn't use any words that a middle schooler can't understand. If you think I did, ask me or scream at me. Everything in this post links to each other. So expect frequent referencing. These are THE most common mistakes when dealing with inconsistency in forehands. So... BACKSWING: The first thing many people will say is that the backswing is too large when you're asking why your FH is screwing up. This is right most of the time. Some people take the racquet back to even 8'o'clock (in relation to their body), and never realize it. A huge windup means INCONSISTENCY, especially on hard-hit balls. Before you read the following tips, look at the next section. Then if you THINK you're doing that (which if you're inconsistent, let's face it, you're probably not), absolutely sure it's not your problem, or if you just have a problem with this, too: Read on. To get used to hitting a shorter backswing, which coincidentally is one of the biggest parts of hitting ON THE RISE, try... -Keep your elbow in DURING THE SWING. There's a bigggg section on this later in this post, READ it. I'm putting it here too because it's important even when hitting with the shorter backswing. In order to get used to this -put a tennis ball in your armpit. And KEEP IT there during the swing. It shouldn't fall out until after your followthrough. Once again, your elbow will not be kept in during the backswing, but after takeback, should be close to your body. -Stand INSIDE the baseline. This will force you to take it earlier. This makes you...turn quicker! (Covered in preparation next more thoroughly) And...shorter backswing! Wait, I'm taking away time from the opponent, shortening my backswing, and STILL keeping just as much or more pace without dealing with a tricky bounce? No way! All the cool kids do it! -Having a partner serve from the service line at you. This will develop returns which...coincidentally...are pretty much like hitting on the rise! THAT'S why Agassi was good at taking the ball early and returning at the same time! It usually helps people if they see the effects of a shorter backswing more clearly in returns, then applying it at the baseline. -Try dropping a ball from your hand close to you and hitting it right at the bounce. You can't really do that if your racquet is all the way behind you, right? Shorten the backswing, keep the followthrough, and force a quicker turn until you can do it right. PREPARATION: (Read! Read it, dammit!) HOWEVER, wait to adjust that. It might not be true for you anyway. Are you seeing the ball soon enough? Try to react to the ball as soon as it comes off your opponent's racquet, NOT after it crosses the net like 90% of players do. As soon as it comes off your opponent's racquet...say "BALL". It helps, and you won't sound stupid if you don't scream it. Move into position as soon as possible. You have no idea how many juniors get angry and think they're running for every ball when their coach tells them to get to the ball and hustle. Even on shots generally close to you, get into an IDEAL position for yourself. Then as soon as you can, take your racquet back. You shouldn't arm takeback, most of the backswing should be a direct result from turning the hips and shoulders sideways and coiling the upper body. Preparation is the single most undervalued part of tennis in the junior world. KEEPING THE ELBOW IN: (If you're a beginner...you probably don't.) Another way to increase consistency is KEEPING THE DAMN ELBOW IN DURING THE SWING. I say "damn" because I find almost every other person my age understands the phrase or sentence much, much better when you simply add a "damn" in it. You LOSE CONTROL when the arm is away, and you're swinging with a straight arm. If you're scientific, it's harder to direct your body, muscles, and swing when the contact point is further away from your body. Also, when using a straighter arm (as forced by not keeping the elbow in), you're often forcing yourself to use the wrist. MORE inconsistency there. Also, keeping the elbow in helps in power slightly, too. When making contact, you're mostly rotating into the ball, your elbow position hasn't changed much. Then, as you make contact, you're extending THROUGH the ball. This creates power and depth. You can't really push through the ball if your arm is straighter. Consistency, power, AND depth? Wow, I think that's cool. Tuck a ball in your armpit. Take your swing, and don't let it fall out until AFTER the followthrough. If it falls out earlier than after that, it means your elbow is too far away. Ouch. I'll go into more later if I feel like it, or people were able to understand it easily.