Over the 2017 summer break, 19 students from UWCSEA East and Dover, went to the JC Ferrero Equelite Academy in Spain for two weeks to practice their tennis skills.
The first few days were focused on settling in as many of the students had just returned from their summer holidays, and the action packed everyday regime came as a little bit of a surprise. A day incorporated not only tennis and on-court work, but fitness training inside and outside of the gym too. Siesta time was cherished, the players played ping pong, chatted over ice-cream and had the odd swim. The mix of players at the Academy was very international and the diversity of level and ambition was noticeable, comprising players who stayed at the Academy on a full-time basis, in hopes of making it on the professional circuit, to players who were there purely for the fun experience of it. This meant that making friends and meeting new people wasn’t at all difficult and within days the students were sitting together with new friends at lunch and dinner and, being in the 21st century, exchanging social media profiles.
Aside from the tennis, the coaches organised a paddle tournament amongst the UWCSEA players, which was not only very enjoyable, but a great way to end the first week. By this point, admittedly, everyone was tired, however, the players had grown to enjoy the grind of working six and a half hours a day and the second week felt a much shorter affair. On the final Wednesday, in the afternoon, the UWCSEA students visited the coastal city of Valencia where they wandered around the city’s old town, a contrast to Valencia’s very modern City of Arts and Sciences which the students also visited. To end the evening, the students were treated to Spanish tapas at a local restaurant.
All in all, the trip was an absolute success. Every player enjoyed the experience, not only finding it fun, but a unique and eye-opening way to spend two weeks. Feelings of accomplishment and satisfaction after training at such a new level were definitely in the air on the bus ride back to Madrid airport. The trip couldn’t have run as successfully as it did without coaches Niki, Roberto and Johan, thank you!