Some of our student-athletes who graduated last year, from the Class of 2018, have returned home this summer for vacations, after their first year of college. For them it has been an intense year, full of emotions, work and tennis. They want to share their experiences with us, by visiting and playing tennis again on the courts that have seen them grow and develop.
As the Class of 2019 prepares to graduate from ASC/ ESIS, a wide variety of opportunities await them in life, most immediately at colleges and universities throughout the United States. The 13 seniors, comprising the largest Academy class from Naples to graduate thus far, have accepted offers from some of the finest academic and athletic programs in the nation, among them Tufts University, Michigan State University and Brigham Young University.
There are only a few weeks for the long-awaited graduation of our students-athletes at ASC Florida, we wanted to interview our senior students and know their stories of how they got to Sanchez-Casal, what their expectations are in this new university stage, and their advice for young people who seek to balance tennis with their studies; they told us how all the effort was worth it in the end after so many years of sacrifice and hard work. Clara March, Aleksandra Caricir, and Casey Cummings of the Sanchez-Casal Florida Academy.
As Emilio Sánchez Vicario says, “Our academy graduates go to Harvard, they go to Columbia… but they also go to Wimbledon.” This is the main goal of the Academy, and to achieve it there is only one true method: offer the best high performance tennis training combined with an excellent academic education.
Someone once said that in life, what really counts are the moments that take your breath away. In the history of our Academy we have had many moments that have left us breathless. These have included many successes, and some failures; moments of knowledge and truth, and story after story of drive and passion. For each of us who are, or have been part of the Academy, these feelings are experienced in very different ways. For me, I focus on why it has happened. Sanchez-Casal has lived 20 years of history, and, in my opinion, the 20 key concepts below hold the secret to our longevity.
Sport offers many opportunities to learn and grow, and this is as true of wheelchair tennis as it is of any other sport. Jesus, Juan, Jennifer, Rocio and Domingo are patients of the National Hospital of Paraplegics in Toledo and they attend the Emilio Sánchez Vicario Foundation wheelchair tennis school as an important phase in their recovery.
The night before last we celebrated the 20th anniversary of Sánchez-Casal, with the whole Sánchez-Casal family in Barcelona. All together, we passed games and challenges in team building activities. There have passed twenty years since the Academy’s foundation but yesterday we all played as if we were children.
From the Sanchez-Casal Academy we organized a pre-season stage in altitude with the advanced level players to try to achieve mainly three goals: The enhancement of physical conditioning level; The impact on the emotional and mental aspects of each tennis player; The socio-affective implication that results of the coexistence of a group of tennis players during a certain amount of time.
This special training context gives us the unique opportunity to pose complex challenges to overcome and remove players from their comfort zone. Do you want to read about our experience?
It’s 6:00am and Julia’s alarm clock sounds. Outside it’s still a bit dark and quiet. She prepares her tennis bag and grabs her racquet. She walks five minutes from the house to the cafeteria with some campers to meet the big group and have breakfast by 6:30am. Breakfast includes cereal, toast, ham and cheese sandwiches, fruit juice and milk.
At 7:00am she’s on the court to start her morning practice for three hours. It’s a sunny day as almost every day is in Naples, Florida. After tennis practice, she has an hour of fitness to stretch but also goes through a tennis specific performance training.
The big day had arrived. The dream final: Rafa against his archrival. Rafa spent months changing his game to be more aggressive and had created great expectations. The whole world of tennis predicted a great battle, even I thought it would be another epic final that would ultimately depend exclusively on the mental pillar.