Visit to the Global Tennis Team Academy in Mallorca

 

SSLTC and Dulwich TC Players with Global TeamAutumn half term saw John Cavill and I spend a fantastic week with Jofre Porta and his team at the Global Tennis Team Academy in Mallorca. We travelled with seven players ranging in age from 9 to 15, some from our own Cavill Academy  (based at Stony Stratford Lawn Tennis Club) whilst the others were high standard Tennis Works coached players also from the club. Departing a cold Luton

We departed the cold of Luton airport at 5am in the morning to be greeted by sunshine and warmth.... and clay courts! The aim of the week was for our players to experience the intensity of academy life and improve on their tennis skills in the hands of Jofre Porta, career coach to Carlos Moya and technical coach to Rafael Nadal, and his team. Although Jofre and his team led the programme for the week, John and I were on court to support the players to enable them to assimilate what they were being taught. Working with world class professionals and being able to observe and reflect is a wonderful thing.

The team with Jofre PortaThis is John’s eighth visit to Global Tennis Team, but it is my first and it struck me how beneficial it was for John to observe and see his players in action with insightful discussions with the other coaches into what they see of the players. Having feedback from another coach on technique, effort, movement and fitness helps the players coach to look at things a different way, provoke further self reflection of the coach on how they can do things better, highlight things they may not have noticed or reaffirm what the coach has already identified. Every player is work in motion but a change of environment, especially going abroad, can throw up some interesting  occurrences. Let me explain more about the ‘environment’ in our case.

The Global Tennis Team Academy experience for our players was for them to attend five days of   intensive training whilst also ‘living in’, at the   academy. This was a totally new experience for all of them, except one who had attended previously. It is important to note the following:

  • This was the first time they had undertaken an intensive tennis week abroad.
  • They were exposed to clay courts for the first time.
  • They were taught in both Spanish and English.
  • They mixed in with a number of nationalities, ‘live in’ academy players as well as others who families had moved from a number of countries to live locally to enable their children to attend Global.
  • Oh, and I could add they were exposed to warmth and sunshine!

Meera's ForehandConnor's ForehandTheir training consisted of what was called a Triple Session Programme which meant they had 2 x 1.5 hour tennis sessions and 1 hour of fitness a day. Jofre led the sessions whilst co-ordinating his team of five coaches to deliver the programme he set.

Umar at the ready!Emily moving for the forehandSession 1 on Day 1 consisted of the players being asked to demonstrate their skills, as they were assessed to determine their standard and which group of players they should initially work with. The groups changed throughout the week, as players were placed with players of the same skill set for whatever element of their game they were working on. This emphasised how well the Global team identified a player’s strengths and weaknesses. Players were also videoed at this session and Jofre analysed and fed back on Day 2 each players serve, forehand and backhand.

The fitness sessions were taken by Angel Colino and consisted of gym work strengthening exercises as well as on court agility, movement and co-ordination. The sessions varied as to where they were placed in each day’s timetable.

Josh at the ready!Johnny on the runThe tennis sessions saw four of the five tennis coaches always in attendance across four courts, with a maximum of four players per court and in some instances this dropped to two. A session saw the players rotate around ALL the courts, with each coach focusing on something different. The coaches Angel Inocencio, Juan Pedro Sànchez, Pablo Tena, Vinni Oliveira, as well as Jofre himself all worked the players with an intensity over the session allowing short ‘breathers’ for water only… but no sitting down, and many a player was shouted at for doing so on the first day! They soon learnt!

The only deviation to the above was on the Thursday late pm session, which saw match play against local players. This saw our players perform exceedingly well and you could see the frustration in the parents of the local players who were watching.

Liam's follow-throughOff the courtIt was great to see the players being complimented for their performance by the coaches when they shouted ‘vamos’!

John’s relationship with Jofre and all the coaches was excellent and he was forever interfacing with them as well as helping the players from the side-lines. We filmed every session and came away with a wealth of knowledge.

The players all had a great time and were fantastic throughout the week. It was one big tennis players and many cannot wait to return next time.

On the final day John sat down with each player and established a Goal Setting sheet for implementation on their return. This saw John turn his observations of the week to enable the players to build on their experience to further    improve their tennis. What an end to the week and what a great bunch of players... it was a privilege to be part of it.
The Global Team