It has been a couple of months since I last updated and `blogged`, as I have left it to the more interesting players and coaches!
Lots has happened since I last wrote, Josh Ward-Hibbert has moved into the world top 100 juniors. I am always a big fan when people get what they deserve and I can assure you, all the success Josh gets is fully deserved. Andrew Fitzpatrick does what he does best and cleans up on the British Tour circuit and continues to make significant progress up the ATP Rankings. We also welcome with open arms our 4 new recruits to STA. Chaney and Dakota Norton come from Perth, Australia after 9 months at Brugera`s Academy. This is a real positive reflection on our teams work, as we realise there are many Academies to choose from so it is a compliment when someone decides to come here, but our goal is to look after these players for years to come – that will be the real compliment if they stay! Taylor J Bate joins us from Alicante and is already trying to seal his name as the hardest ever worker at STA! And who can forget Mikey Suleau – after all there is 6ft 8 of him! Mikey is 18 and from the UK, and has been a real credit to the Academy already with his work rate and dedication. Just watch out for the name!
We have just started our ‘pre season’ – this is basically an opportunity for our travelling players to have some significant time at ‘base camp’ and get some real work done in areas of need before the start of 2012. We often use this as a big physical block for players, as it is hard to develop these skills when on the road and during regular competitions. Valeria Savinkyh is back for 3 weeks in preparation for the Australian Open and she comes with our 2nd Russian Maya Gaverova who was top 300 WTA and we all excited to have her on board.
It very much has an ‘Academy’ feel right now with so many players and coaches around and it really is a great environment to be developing their games- I wish I had these opportunities as a player!
16 months in – I look around the courts and see the players around in the cafeteria and speak to the parents and we are at a stage where we have all of our players who are dedicated to ‘doing what it takes’ to make improvements and I am very confident if we had a player who turned up with the wrong attitude they would stick out like a sore thumb. They would be the ‘black sheep’. This defines the philosophy of what we are trying to set up. If the black sheep is the one who is not working and showing the right attitude I feel we are onto a winning environment. For years I have seen Academies with the black sheep as the player who is the ‘professional one’…crazy ey!? But very true…
Long may this continue and long may the white sheep rule the roost here at STA!
Have a great festive period all and prepare well for 2012 in what I know is going to be a great year for all here at STA!
Play to Win.
Director, SotoTennis Academy
Inspiring Excellence | Tennis Academy Spain