Revolutionary Tennis

Tennis Instruction That Makes Sense


Who Am I

Hi, I'm Mark Papas.

item4I live on the west coast in U.S.A., though I'm originally from Caracas, Venezuela, where I was the 16's and 18's junior singles and doubles champion.  I toured extensively as an amateur, had a world class game and temper, was the walk-on 7th man on the University of Southern California tennis team my freshman year, left school, played professionally briefly, and stopped playing because of a knee injury and unhappiness in my life.

I burned out at 21, and for over seven years I didn't touch a racket.  I began teaching tennis for a living, and that's when it happened.  I saw something unique.

During a lesson one morning I saw the court as a rectangular piece of graph paper and from a bird's eye view.  I was good in math, maybe that's why.   The tennis ball formed a line angling away from my student, and though I knew that a player faces an angle of possibilities, Step 1, its implication didn't hit me until that moment.

That one moment forever changed my point of view of tennis, of tennis teaching, tennis method, and tennis form.  A new world of ideas opened for me.  Elegant.  Consistent.  I had answers.

I saw how the human body should respond to the simple facts about the game of tennis, facts that are well known and yet their influence on a player's form has never been considered.  This response was merely taking the way the body normally moves and structures itself for strength and matching it to the realities of tennis.  Ironically, this hadn't been done before.

Virtually everyone in print and on the internet offers the same story in their version of how-to play tennis.  That is they surveyed the tennis landscape, noticed conflicting ideas out there on how to play, and separated fact from fiction for your benefit.   Myth-busting is another term used.

Well, I'm not in that game.  The open stance, topspin, wrap around follow throughs, and western grips were around in the early 1900's, they are not a product of "modern" tennis or of any one teacher.  In addition, body rotation, shoulder rotation, feet off the ground, turning sideways, unit step, crossover step, all of these, for better or for worse, have been around for a long time.  And myths are often grounded in some measure of reality or shed light on the human condition.

But I want to say I missed the boat, too, both as a player and as a teacher until that one day.  That day I discovered something that offers real solutions for all tennis players, including myself.  My ideas face skepticism because they're contrary to the status quo, as new and different and better ideas often are.  But I feel I'm fighting the good fight because it's for the right cause.  You.

In the interest of disclosure, for the past 20 years I have been a level 1 member of the United States Professional Tennis Association, USPTA, not to be confused with the tournament sanctioning United States Tennis Association, USTA, of which I'm a life member.  The USPTA is primarily in the business of increasing their member roster, although they certify tennis teaching methodology.  While I do endorse joining this association or any other if you're interested in teaching tennis, I don't endorse their teaching ideas because it's either the same old thing in new clothing or they totally bastardize and misrepresent what we do out on the tennis court.  The USPTA's latest voodoo is their self styled "modern tennis" where they espouse "load, explode, and land" for stroking technique (the structure of which has been going on for generations, as old photos prove).  This is good for some laughs if it weren't so injurious and inhibiting to one's game.  The USPTA evolved to their new marketing hook from the long established "turn, step, hit" which is thoroughly discredited throughout these pages.  If you don't know any better, well, you just won't know any better, and remember, they're in the business of recruiting you to be a dues-paying member.

I feel there is a conflict of interest, I could be wrong, when your tennis teacher is under contract to "recommend" certain tennis product, e.g. rackets, apparel, and tennis balls.  There is not one line of rackets, clothing, or shoes that can satisfy even a plurality of players, let alone a majority, and everyone has a different take on tennis balls - I think Penns last longer, bounce better, and aren't as heavy as Wilson, but other pros will think the exact opposite.  To illustrate my point I include the USPTA's contract with HEAD for you to judge for yourself if there is a conflict of interest going on here between you and your tennis pro/tennis industry.

Currently I use, at my expense, a head-light Wilson KSix-One Tour 90.  Head currently provides USPTA members with free rackets and strings, and in return we're supposed to use only their product and recommend it exclusively to students, but I don't play that game either and it's been years since I signed one of these things.  Maybe being of Greek descent has something to do with my radical independence.  The only thing I can recommend is that, for adults, you use a head-light racket to avoid getting tennis elbow like I did in 3 months' time when I switched from a head-light Wilson pro staff classic 6.1 to a head-heavy Wilson hammer 6.3.  I switched rackets and the elbow problem disappeared.

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Steps: Contents S 6: Stroke Commons 1 S 12: The Serve 1 Wrist Use:  Go Natural S 1: Geometry S 7: Stroke Commons 2 On Rotation: A Compilation Hand Use: Activate S 2: Feetwork S 8: Forehand 1 Grand Unification Theory Modern Tennis Not S 9: Backhand 1 Head-On Rebuttal Wrist Snap Evidence Serve S 4: Power S 10: Volley Myth of the "Myths" S 5: Balance S 11: Returns/Approaches Federer Vision Technique