Led by coaches James Goodchild and Tom Edis six Challenge-Tennis players from Chesham 1879 spent an unforgettable week training and staying at the Sanchez-Casal Academy in Barcelona over half-term. Rory Lawson, Emeka Atuanya, Rachel Roger-Lund, Emma Savage, Lilly Majewski and Alexa Wilson were the lucky players who came on the trip, with a chance to train at one of the best tennis academies in the world.
The trip started early in the morning on a Sunday morning at Luton Airport. At 4:30am the group arrive full of energy and excitement. This did not leave them for the whole week they were away and training. We flew out to Barcelona on our Easyjet flight, which was a great thing for Emeka as it was also his first time flying on a plane!! When we were arrived in Barcelona we were greeted by two Sanchez-Casal buses ready for the short transfer to the airport. When we arrived the kids were in awe, they had never seen so many tennis courts!! We collected our keys and headed to the onsite bungalows to get settled in. Within about 20 minutes the children were on the paddle courts and playing some informal matches. We had a brief training session led by James and Tom on the clay until it got dark, then dinner and bed, ready for an exciting week on court.
The next morning the children started their training at 8am. They were training 6 hours a day from 8-11 and 1-4 with their coaches from S-C. During the training they worked on exactly the same principles that have produced Top players including Andy Murray and Svetlana Kuznetsova. The intensity was high and the children worked hard on court all day. They also had an hour of fitness each day which worked on their speed and agility in the high tech fitness area. After a long day on court the children ate dinner from the onsite restaurant with food especially cooked to aid in recovery after a high intensity day. This pattern continued over the 6 days of training. Each day we could see the players improving and getting better and fitter. They always had a smile on their face and were revelling in the chance to train and play in some matches against other opponents from other countries. On the fourth day the children spotted Sergio Casal, co-founder of the centre. They were so happy to have a chat and a picture with him, and he gave them some words of advice which will hopefully inspire them with in their tennis.
While the children were training during the day, James and Tom were also hard at work. They were working with Danni Sorribas who heads up the Coach Ed programme at S-C, and is also former coach of former world top 10 player Guillermo Canas. Danni put Tom and James through their paces explaining in detail the full S-C System and also providing some great discussion on coaching in general. James and Tom were also able to take part in some fitness training with the chief instructor there as well as physiotherapy demos and psychology demos. At the end of the week, they both sat a test and are now qualified Sanchez-Casal coaches.
Toward the end of the week, there was a bit of time off which gave the players a chance to head into Barcelona. A well deserved lunch at the Hard Rock Cafe followed by a walk down Las Ramblas to the beach was a great way to finish the trip off. We flew back Saturday night and by all accounts as soon as the children (and coaches) were home they fell straight asleep.
Overall the trip was a great success, highlights for the group were meeting Sergio, Emma playing and doing very well against one of the top girls in the region (and also a full-time at Sanchez-Casal trainee), and also the whole group being introduced to the game of paddle.
“It was a great trip for the players. To train in an environment like that has really inspired them to come back home and take their tennis to the next level” James Goodchild
“It was a great experience to train with Danni, he has given us so much knowledge and confidence to come back home and incorporate many areas of the Sanchez-Casal System into our own training system” Tom Edis
“I had a great time, I loved the tennis and I think my game has really improved. I can’t wait to get back out on court” Emeka Atuanya
Overall the trip was a roaring success; we will definitely be going back next year, as well as over the next year running some Sanchez-Casal camps at Chesham 1879 tennis Club.
Challenge-tennis at Chesham 1879 has are always looking for new and budding tennis players. If you want to join our training at any level, take part in next year’s trip, or are interested in any of the performance training we do please email email@example.com