By Roger Cox, Editor
The original Academia, based in Barcelona, Spain, achieved notoriety as the training ground for such accomplished touring pros as Andy Murray, Svetlana Kuznetsova, Ana Ivanovic, Grigor Dimitrov, and others. The methodology used there has been adopted for use on their Florida campus. Their approach bundles technical exercises, tactical strategy, and competition with a greater than usual focus on physical training with a goal of enhancing strength, speed, agility, coordination, and flexibility with a special emphasis on injury prevention. And it supplements the on-court work with daily language classes (in Spanish or English). Boarding campers are housed, dormitory style, in supervised three-bedroom, air-conditioned condominiums and fed at the Club's restaurant.
Entering a crowded space, this Florida academy benefits from having Emilio Sanchez himself not only personally directing the programs but engaged in teaching on a daily basis. It also emphasizes its very low student:pro ratios, as few as 1 or 2 students per pro in the year-round academy and no more than 4:1 in the weeklong camps. And the literature describes the teaching as "the Spanish Method." So I asked Sanchez, just what is the "Spanish Method"?
"The Spanish method is a way of placing yourself to hit the ball," he told me. "We divide the court in three areas [behind the baseline, from the baseline and service line and from the service line to the net]. Inside these areas we will always move diagonally to the ball. Our movement is always to go around the ball to be able to hit it." He goes on to add that training is divided. "We do 30% on drills, 30% on controls and 30% on match play and 10% is specific work on the pattern."
That necessarily means a heavy emphasis on footwork. "Because we emphasize going behind the ball, they have to work much harder in practice sessions and so in matches they are more like survivors, they are warriors because they are used to that and they don’t mind running or going behind the ball because they know that by getting behind the ball they’re going to have more options for where to hit it."
For those who attend full-time, the Academy's stated mission is " to create opportunities in tennis, education, and life"' by focusing on "education, competitiveness, enthusiasm, and industriousness."
Rates and Reservations
2035 Sanchez-Casal Way
Naples, FL 34105
Here's what others have had to say about Academia Sanchez-Casal-Florida.
"Our children (2 boys) love the summer camps and all other day camps you provide while there are school holidays. The instructors make the camps fun and the kids enjoy the hot lunches you provide. Our oldest son (10yr) enjoys the formats and the games that are incorporated into the drills. We have been coming to your camps every summer for the past three years and participate in the after school programs as well.
Flavia has been a tremendous asset in keeping us well informed and over seeing that all the children are doing well and having fun while learning."—V.K., Low Int., January 2020
"My son has been a student of Sanchez Casal for 4 years. He started as a junior. He now is a scholar collegiate tennis player. My son has gained not only improvement in his tennis game but improvement in success in education and his personal life. I as a single parent raising my son cannot say enough of the professionalism and the depth of expertise that Victor and Sanchez Casal has to offer!"—D.M., Adv., January 2020
""—N.C., Adv. Int., July 2019
""—C.M., Adv., July 2019
Coaches very knowledgeable and focused and able to identify Strenghs and weaknesses straight away to create the right coaching programme for my child.
Managed to make it fun as well as very productive.
All coaches and staff very passionate about tennis and their jobs and are a pleasure to be around. Nothing was too much trouble.
Location and facilities beautiful. Courts very well maintained
Great value for money
Will be back again without fail"—C.W., Adv., July 2019
"We traveled to Florida from Belgium to have my daughter do some camps.
We are quiet spoiled in Belgium. So many top academies here. My daughter trains at Kim Clijsters and at the Federation.
But, Sanchez-Casal in Naples is top notch. Fantastic to have the opportunity to train with the great Emilio.
Best experience ever.
Go and see this academy, you won't be disappointed."—A.H., Adv., April 2018
"The best TENNIS ACADEMY to send KIDS from any age. I sent my granddaughter several times from 12 AND UNDER TO 18 AND UNDER, Every time She learned from Coaches like EMILIO SANCHEZ VICARIO World Rank single and doubles, with teaching experience for many years. Also many Coaches as dedicated as Him. The SECURITY We felt leaving our GIRL in good hands. The times She spent in the Academy She was able to practice her SPANISH in the summer. All year taking theory and in the summer bilingual training. SPAIN IN NAPLES FLORIDA. For Us SAFETY was real important, She flew from Chicago to Fort Meyers, a Coach waited for Her and transported to ACADEMY. ACADEMIA SANCHEZ CASAL BECAME A SECOND HOME."—J.S., Adv., April 2018
"Beautiful grounds, excellent coaches, helpful and wonderful staff.
This is the second time our son attended camp there and the level of tennis, coaching expertise and the organized staff who set up his schedule were exceptional. We will be back!"—B.A., Int., April 2018
"My son experience at ASC - Naples was outstanding."—R.A., Adv., March 2017
"My son has played with the junior tennis camps at Sanchez Casal for the past 4-5 years and loves it. The environment is very community oriented and the instruction is fantastic. More importantly, they take the time to get to know the strengths and weaknesses of each child so they can set individual goals."—K.P., Adv., March 2017
""—A.V., Beg., April 2016
"I had a great time at Academia Sanchez Casal. The coaches were very good teachers and the apartment more than met my needs. Naples offers great dining options, but it was also good to hit the clubhouse's buffet. I plan to return next year."—D.G., Int., April 2016
Academia Sanchez-Casal-Florida (Juniors)