Have you ever wondered why Spanish tennis players are just so good?
There are various views surrounding exactly why Spain produces so many successful players, but a key factor is that the system for juniors in Spain is so strong…
Below our Performance Director Carl Maes shares his thoughts on the Spanish system, and how SotoTennis Academy embraces competition in a similar way:-
Have you heard of Istvan Balyi, or his ‘long term athlete development programme’? Have you heard of the Spanish concept ‘mañana, mañana’, where everything seems to be going a little bit slower, but eventually it will happen?
The Spanish competition model has proved it’s success through the rankings: not necessarily developing top players in the Tennis Europe or ITF Junior rankings, but if you look at the WTA and ATP rankings, the Spanish players will keep popping up.
It is important to understand the process of becoming a good competitor. Istvan Balyi, in his long term athlete development programme, describes the different stages of training. You first learn how to train. Subsequently you will train to train, and begin to specialise within your sport. You will then train to compete, where you learn to use your tools to become a competitor. Then ultimately, at the end of your development, you train to win.
Winning and losing are not relevant factors until the age of 15-16, therefore, at SotoTennis Academy we embrace competition as a learning tool rather than an evaluation tool. This is reflected in our weekly programmes, with conditioned sets played on Tuesday & Thursday afternoons, and UTR matches played every Friday. At the weekends, all STA players try to integrate into the multiple local and national tournament circuits that exist within Spain.
As an Academy we try to watch as many of our players’ matches as possible, to ultimately provide a better service during the training week based on individualised aspects that didn’t work as well in matches.
We hope in this way to be part of the Spanish system, where they have been so successful over the years in trusting the process to become the best competitor and match winner at the end of a player’s development.
There is no rush to win matches today! We can do it ‘mañana, mañana’.
SotoTennis Academy Performance Director
Want to find out more about competition opportunities at SotoTennis Academy?