Last month Academia Sánchez-Casal (ASC) lived one of its most challenging moments when it had to prepare for Irma, a category 5 hurricane that landed over the city of Naples where the American ASC headquarters is located.
The hurricane, which was supposed to hit east of Miami, shifted towards Southwest Florida 48 hours before making landfall in the US. By then, the hurricane forecast models predicted that the eye of the hurricane, where the strongest rain, winds and gusts are experienced, was going to overpass Naples.
Emilio Sanchez is not a man who pulls any punches. He wears his heart and passion on his sleeve.
A proud Spaniard who will never sugarcoat an answer to curry-favor an over zealous parent promoting their son’s unbelievable talent. An inveterate champion who will never camouflage his true thoughts by spinning “a fools paradise” prediction about a child’s future prospects on the Pro Tour just to be polite or for potential business.
No, not Sanchez. He’s blunt and honest. When you entrust your impressionable teenager into his tennis domain, Emilio’s aim is simple, direct and straightforward—namely to nurture, develop, and transform each individual athlete he works with into the highest-caliber performance tennis player.
Emilio Sánchez has spent more than two decades coaching tennis players, including the thousands of student-athletes that have trained at the Sánchez-Casal Academies in Barcelona and Florida, as well as the Spain Davis Cup team. He was the captain of the Spanish team when they won against their great Argentinian rivals in Mar de Plata in 2008, bringing together a dream team of players including Fernando Verdasco, Feliciano López or David Ferrer, among others. Together, they achieved a landmark victory in winning the Cup away from home after beating their opponents 3-1, giving Spain its 3rd Davis Cup title.
Last week, two ASC players, Ramkumar Ramanthan and Rudy Richter, participated in the first round of the Davis Cup 2017. Ramkumar is playing on the India Davis Cup Team, and Rudy Ritcher on the Guatemalan team.
The education of our young athletes goes beyond just sports technique. Having good values is equally as important, so we must teach respect, cooperation, self-discipline, and humility, among others. Teachers, coaches and, above all, parents have a great responsibility to provide this education in values.
When summer arrives and the school year ends at ESIS – the Emilio Sanchez International School based in Florida – my role as a coach continues. Our student athletes at the Sanchez-Casal Academy, along with other players, can join our Traveling Team, a year round program in which we coach and accompany players to ITF tournaments in the Caribbean, Latin America and Europe.
When we talk about a day in the life of a coach at our Academy, we’re also talking about a day in the life of our student tennis players, because the lives of both are closely linked. A typical day is very intense: training on the court, physical fitness training, school, studying, homework. But there is also time for camaraderie, and to create relationships that will probably last for the rest of their lives.