If I had to choose a metaphor for the university placement process, it would be a puzzle. Over the course of high school and a junior tennis career, many pieces fit together finally resulting in a complete picture.
Many students’ lives today are filled with technology which gives them infinite access to information and resources, enabling them to pursue their interests in their own way and at their own pace. The opportunities are limitless.
Everything that happens has a reason: some people call it ‘destiny’, others ‘energy’, some people call it ‘luck’, and others, ‘bad luck’. I think I’m fortunate to live life how I choose. I carry with me my principles and values, and I am that way partly thanks to my parents, thanks to the education they provided me, some key people that became role models in my life but mainly thanks to tennis, which shaped my character and made me resilient to adversity.
Sánchez-Casal Academy is more than a high-performance center; it’s a place full of stories and dreams. It is the starting point for young tennis players and students who dream of a brighter future ahead.
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.
It’s August. 6am in the morning in Naples, Florida. Alarms start to go off in the players’ dorms. Sleepy faces emerge, excited about starting a new day of their new life at the Academy. There’s lots of emotions, worries and news… They are also excited about this new stage of their lives. A stage which, for almost every athlete at the Sanchez-Casal Academy, is hugely influential on their development as a person.
Michelle Konkoly is all energy and determination. Last summer, the 24-year-old athlete saw her dreams fulfilled when she won 4 medals at the 2016 Paralympic Games in Rio and broke two Paralympic records in the S9 100m freestyle and the S9 50m freestyle.
Originally from Pennsylvania, at Georgetown Konkoly joined the university’s swimming team. Her life was changed dramatically, however, when in her freshman year she fell five stories out of her dorm window and was seriously injured. She fractured several ribs and a vertebra, damaged her spinal cord, and as a result, was left paralyzed from the waist down.
At Sánchez-Casal Academy we have been using tennis and education as a vehicle for the personal development of our young players for almost 20 years. We are extremely proud of all who have trained and studied with us. One of those is Mike Vermeer, who has graduated Cum Laude from Columbia University.
A few days ago, Sánchez-Casal Academy presented its new Summer Song, “Gonna be a damn good day”. Maybe you are asking yourselves what tennis has to do with music. Emilio Sánchez Vicario shows you that they have a lot in common.
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.