This summer I went to my first adult tennis camp organised by TPRA in Brallo di Pregola, Italy and spent 6 days that were simultaneously exciting, scary, intensive and rewarding. I had only just started playing tennis 3 months before, and I knew I would be the least experienced at the camp (especially in terms of playing matches), which made me rather nervous. In the end it worked out well as I was given a lot of additional training sessions, whilst the others played matches. I came away from the week with an even greater passion and desire to become a good tennis player.
I would love to go to another adult tennis camp and my partner and I have recently started dreaming of escaping the north Italian winter and visiting academies in better climates, such as the Mouratoglou Tennis Academy in the south of France or the IMG Academy in Florida. In the fairly likely scenario that we don’t manage to live out these dreams, I decided I would instead add a section to my blog on tennis camps for adults so I could review all of the great programmes out there and hopefully one day I will get to visit them in person.
The first piece in this Adult Tennis Camps series starts with the JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy near Villena in Spain. I came to know about this academy through one of my Instagram tennis friends (Kiko Morera). We ‘met’ on Instagram after we both won the Ellesse #yourshot competition (I won Monica Puig’s white Wimbledon tennis dress whilst Kiko won a signed t-shirt by Feliciano Lopez). He recently started working at the JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy, and so I decided to ask him a bit more about the adult training programmes.
First, a bit more about JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy
The academy was founded by Antonio Martinez Cascades in 1990 with just 2 courts, and has since grown to become a world-class high performance academy with 20 courts in various surfaces. Despite its large size, the academy presents itself as a big family where players and staff live and learn together. One of the first players to graduate from the academy was former ATP World Number 1 Juan Carlos Ferrero. He now lives on the academy and supervises many of the training sessions and schedules.
The academy offers its guests a stay at the Equelite Rural Hotel where, in addition to tennis, you can play Padel and golf (on the 9-hole course), enjoy the Sauna, dine in the restaurant, stock up in the Equelite Sport shop or recover in the physiotherapy clinic. The academy is also about 30 minutes from the beach of Alicante.
Read my interview with JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy to learn more out about the special features of the Adult Tennis Programmes:
Your website mentions that the Academy offers a personalised tennis training in the Adult programmes – what does this involve?
The academy offers a very personalised adult training week. This tennis program is totally flexible and arranged to offer the player whatever s(he) is looking for. That is why we start with a program of 3 hours of private tennis lessons. The coach and the player will discuss the aspects that should be worked on and improved and then the training sessions will be organised accordingly. Any aspects of tennis could be covered: just forehand, improve backhand, improve serve, footwork, order of play…
But we offer also the possibility for them to receive private physical training, train with the Playsight video analysis system or even receive language lessons, or try other sports such as golf or Padel (the second most popular sport in Spain, but not yet well known in the rest of Europe).
What is the Playsight video analysis system?
Playsight is a fully automated Smartcourt monitoring system that is equipped with six cameras connected to an on-court computer. The system is used to analyse matches/training sessions and offers statistics of all kinds, including the strength/spin that you put on the ball, the distance from the net, correct and missed shots, and kind of stroke used. We have installed it on both a hard and a clay court, and all adults that come for the training week have a practical session with the Playsight system. The data collected by the system is used to prepare and provide specific training exercises to address any of the weaknesses that are recorded.
What languages are the training sessions taught in?
The coaches give lessons in both English and Spanish. This tends to be the language that the player knows better, but sometimes players use this opportunity to practice a second language.
What advice would you give to adults to avoid injuries when playing tennis, especially during an intensive 1 week training programme?
It is important to stretch and warm up well before training starts, which the coaches do together with the players. Also, it is important to stretch again after training. We also prepare the adult training programme as a function of the tennis/fitness level of each player. We have fortunately not had injury problems with the adults that have attended our programmes to date.
How do you help adults change “incorrect” techniques that they may have built up over many years?
We help players understand their errors and work with them to help avoid them. Of course, it is difficult for them to change in just a week something that they have been doing for years. We encourage them to keep working on these aspects and correcting them after they leave the academy.
I think what impresses me most about this academy is the Playsight system. This, together with the beautiful location and family environment, are great reasons to visit this academy. If you would like further information or are interested in enrolling in one of the upcoming programmes, please contact Iñaki Etxegia (firstname.lastname@example.org) or phone (+34.965.340.013).
Let me know in the comments below about any other tennis academies that you think I should cover in this series (and if I’m available I’ll come and test them out myself!).