Blue skies and heat that would not look out of place in the middle of July and we have only just reached the end of Feb.
I am often asked the question: What’s the weather like in the winter out in Soto? I can hand on heart say since the end of October (typically when we had a group of 30 players) we have missed 1 hour of tennis due to bad weather. It has been stunning for months and has helped us create the ideal environment for our players to excel.
I have always believed that playing outdoors helps the development of a player, and having experienced this first hand for two years I have seen nothing to change this view…
- Players have to ‘earn’ the point leading to a greater discipline on the court and in their point construction. There is no `cheap` points which leads me to number 2..
- Mental strength- knowing you are in the match for the long haul and not looking for the easy out.
- Physicality- rallies are longer and this leads to generally hitting more balls and having to use more energy in doing so, which naturally increases your physical capacity.
- Environment- Fresh air and blue skies naturally makes you more `up for it` day in, day out. I am not saying this isn’t the case whilst playing indoors in cooler climates, but it is less of an effort for this to happen.
During the month of February we have welcomed two new full time players in Maya Gaverova and Aba Omodele-Lucien. Maya hails from Russia and has been as high as 350 WTA, but has suffered from injuries over the last 12 months, so she is on her journey back up the rankings. Aba comes as a Harvard graduate where he captained the tennis team there and followed in James Blakes footsteps of whom he is a good friend. Both players fit STA like a glove and follow all our morals and values that we drive day in, day out from Punctuality, Preparation, Focus, Intensity and most importantly respect. We are looking forward to watching them grow under our wing here at STA.
This next person shows how far STA has come in the last 18 months…he has chosen to use us as an International Clay Court base out of all the choices out there and he did not leave disappointed- Evan Hoyt a member of the GB Under 16 World Champs team joined us with his coach Ben Haran for the week and we are looking to build a relationship with Reeds School for years to come…Likewise we are building a partnership with
Matt Thomas who brought a team from Warwick Uni of 9-12 year olds who were an absolute pleasure. Matt and his team once again show what educated, talented coaches we have back in the UK who are doing fantastic jobs. The kids were professional, dedicated, fun, respectful and a real credit to their programme. They reminded me a lot of the team Richard Crabtree brings to us every October which is another example of a brilliant programme getting results with no fuss. Two of Richards players, Tom and Jess Dawson joined us for the week and again fitted right in, as I knew they would coming from Richards programme. These kids cannot fail in life if they continue these great values that have been installed from an early age and I tip my hat to Matt and Richard for their hard work in bringing that to their culture.
I can’t go without mentioning my old doubles partner of years and years, David Sherwood! One of his players Georgia Lawson came over for the week and again was a credit to her coach Dave and her programme at Graves in Sheffield. I love the time we spend with these players when they come in and it is always hard seeing them leave- only for hours later to build a new relationship with a new player, but we strongly believe in keeping the relationship strong with the player, coach and parents and we are here to help these guys in whatever way is needed. Whether this be to provide a facility, provide an environment or offer our expertise on and off the court.
February has been a great month…..hard working respectful players, a great staff of workers, new strong relationships and a blue sky has certainly made that easier..
Excited for March…
PLAY TO WIN
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain