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.
At Sánchez-Casal Academy, the development of our long-stay players is very important to us. That is why we created the ASC Player Development and Competition Plan, summarized in the Sánchez-Casal Pyramid©, which shows players the path to success in the professional world of tennis. Do you want to follow the same path as Murray, Kuznetsova, Sanchez V, Dimitrov or Monaco?
“When students come to ASC, they don’t have a lot of experience, but when they leave, they know they have learned something that will help them for any life match they play in their future. Values build character, and the right attitude can multiply the outcome, so parents often congratulate us and thank us for helping their children work on those values and develop their character.” Interview with Emilio Sánchez Vicario.
At first glance he seems shy, or maybe he is, but as soon as he speaks, his low tone captivates you. His arguments are very strong, and he knows how to put himself in your place. Víctor Hugo Camargo puts effort into what he does, he is always available, and the ASC values are his DNA. He is involved with attention, his greatest virtue is that he cares about others and gives everything for them.
This year is our 20th year anniversary, looking back it’s amazing how fast it went, I could write pages and pages of our success and relationships with amazing people. It brings a smile to my face when I hear testimonials from past players and they talk about hard work, effort, discipline, and respect. Our mission of creating opportunities in tennis, education and life is stronger than ever and it makes me proud to look back and see that base of our success and values are still intact.
I want to take this opportunity to introduce you to Vovodymyr “Vova” Nikolenko, another great traveling coach who has been on the Sanchez Casal team for many years. He started playing tennis early on at the age of 7 in his home country, Ukraine and arrived in Barcelona as a student-athlete in 2003. After high school, he decided he wanted to continue being a part of ASC and started coaching in 2006.
This week I want to share a story about a special person on the Sanchez-Casal team, Alvaro Pino. Alvaro is the son of Antonio Pino, a former tennis player, and coach who has worked with us since the Academy was founded in Barcelona.
The week in Mobile, Alabama went by fast and was solely concentrated on the tournament. It hit me at the trophy presentation when the announcer asked Jerry which places he liked most during his stay in Mobile, and Jerry answered, “the club was very nice”. We spent eight days in Mobile with very little time to go around and explore the town, but Jerry was cooperative and willing to sacrifice his free time because he knew he was there to win. This is the type of sacrifice a tennis player must make in order to achieve solid steps in his formation, even at thirteen years old. For anyone involved in helping young players, finding balance is an everyday dynamic. A kid is a kid, but in a competitive sport and environment like this, they need to develop professional skills from the beginning without losing their playful essence and “spark” that makes them fun individuals to be around.