El Prat de Llobregat, Spain
By Roger Cox, Editor
Founded in 1998 by former Spanish touring pros Emilio Sanchez and Sergio Casals, this academy outside Barcelona operates both full-time and short-time academies for juniors as well as training facilities for touring pros. Its "High Performance" programs take a broad approach that goes beyond technique, tactics, fitness, and mental skills by also including periodization and planning, nutrition, equipment services, and specialist coaches. Its campus comprises 27 red-clay, hard, Rebound Ace, and artificial grass courts as well as mini tennis courts, a fitness center, tennis lab (for viewing videos), jogging tracks, an equestrian center, swimming pools, and a couple of lodging options.
There are two short-term programs, which can be booked in increments of a week: one that runs year-round, a second in summe, both with language study as part of the curriculum. Essentially, campers spend four hours/day on tennis, another one to two hours on fitness, and two hours on language. See the website for details as well as information about the long-term options.
Rates and Reservations
The rates below, in Euros, are for the weekly and summer camps. Resident rates include tennis instruction, lodging, all meals, laundry service, activities, and Internet access; Day rates include tennis instruction and lunch.
Autovia de Castelldefels (C-31), km. 190
El Prat de Llobregat, 08820 Spain
Here's what others have had to say about Academia Sánchez-Casal.
"Staff is very professional, from the shuttle driver to the head coach. This is the place to learn the Spanish Method which focus on movement and fitness. My daughter had a great time and learned a lot from very attentive and knowledgeable coaches. They provided a detailed written assessment of my daughters strengths and weaknesses. Great location, very close to the International airport (10 minutes by taxi). Shuttle is available for pickup and drop-off to major centers in Barcelona. Had a chance to chat with one of the founders, Sergio Casal, who was playing in the next court where my daughter played. Very friendly and down to earth which reflects the rest of the staff in the academy and camp."—C.P., Adv., July 2016
""—S.C., Int., April 2016
"Pros: Great coaches, family environment, professional, impressive facilities
Cons: Away from city center, need own transportation"—A.D., Adv. Int., April 2016
""—J.D., Int., April 2016
""—N.Q., Adv., April 2016
""—X.F., Int., April 2016
"Worst tennis experience ever!
Firstly it's a battle trying to book - no one replies to emails, when you phone it's always someone else who you need to speak to and they're not there. The third time we tried to book (not lucky) we succeeded (the day before our trip, after weeks of calls & emails!).
Accommodation - our son, 13, wanted to stay with us so we tried to establish what the onsite accommodation comprised. Again, little information available, no photos, just 'its nice' from someone on the end of the phone. We said we'll try it. Big mistake!
Upon arrival the taxi driver drops you in a car park, no signs to tell you where to go, no one to greet you. Instead you take a guess at the direction and lug all your luggage in 35 degree heat down a long walkway (the first part gravel). You go in the big building and there's a desk with a woman sat at it. No smiles, no welcome, no offer of a drink or help with luggage. Just told to wait 10 minutes for someone to check us in.
Once they've got your credit card swiped they take you to a shed which is supposed to be for you to stay in! Completely wooden paneled like a sauna inside with 2 mdf strips against a wall for a bed! We walked straight back out and ordered a taxi to the nearest hotel. When I asked for a refund on the accommodation I was told there's a 2 night minimum cancellation charge! Unbelievable!
The tennis was utterly rubbish! We have been to Bollittieri (excellent) and La Manga (ok) but this was the standard of an average local tennis club back home. The kids spent 5 hours a day hitting balls to each other, there was no structure to the program, the coaches showed little interest, one sat smoking by the pool every lunchtime. Ratio of one coach per 8 kids, not good, especially when 2 coaches had a chat together leaving 16 kids to get on with it. One good coach that was there was leaving at the end of the week. They were told to play tiebreaks against each other or games such as champions. All basic holiday camp stuff, not what we signed up for. Luckily the kids that were there were a pretty good standard (not being regulars there!) so at the very least they were hitting against decent players.
The 'fitness' sessions were a joke, just playing games like dodgeball, not a professional fitness session at all. There was no strength & conditioning all week. Half the kids were picking up injuries every morning. Not sure if this was through lack of decent warm up or if they just wanted to sit out as it was so tedious.
The food was basic cheap stuff. Nothing organic or natural here! We came to Sanchez with a view to sending our son here full time... we'll never be going back!"—C.B., Adv., September 2012
"This past summer I took my 13 year old tennis player to Spain to study at the Sanchez Academy in Barcelona. We had some expectations about the tennis and the place which were fueled by their web site and sales team. We were familiar with camps and coaches here in the states but my son wanted to play on clay and get more comfortable playing in Europe and to see what the level of play was at the 12's and 14's.
The entire experience was disappointing. There was no welcome to speak of, nobody every bothered to learn anyones name or have the young new students feel "comfortable". The instructors were always changing and so nobody was able to follow my son or his progress. I even doubt anyone really knew where he was at anytime. The supervision of the young people did not make me feel at ease and so I was happy that I was there with him and I was also happy we choose to stay at a hotel. Many instructors had such low energy on the court that I could not believe that this was such a top rated academy. Some instructors were SO uninspiring that it appeared as if they liked balls to be picked up at the slowest speed possible! Well, all in all it was a cold and a poor tennis experience and a poor "camp" experience which resulted in my having a candid dialogue about the lack of hospitably, the lack of excellence in the tennis program, the poor management and the "mill" like feeling that permeated the place.
So, I had had enough after the second day and decided to go up the hill to Brugueras Top Team Academy. It was great as we (both) felt welcomed, they took interest in the students, there was good energy on the court and it was a good week! In addition, the people were nice, the drills and the tennis were excellent and the class size was small (2-3). We stayed the balance of the week there, and we were very happy!"—C.S., November 2010
"My wife, children (ages 13 and 9) and I attended the Academia in Barcelona, July 2008. We rented an apartment in Barcelona and joined the clinics each day. If you love tennis "boot camps" and want to combine a family holiday to spain with tennis this is a good choice.
The academia is located near the Barcelona airport. They have 20+ courts (half clay), two fitness facilities, pool, paddle tennis, beach volley ball, restaurant etc. A competitor to Boleteri and Saddlebrook this Academia is designed for children. In July their were close to 400 children attending a week camp (many were boarding). Our children attended from 8AM to 8PM and received tennis instruction for 5 hours/day.
My wife and I went for 3 hours a day. 2 hours of tennis and 1 hour of physical fitness. Instruction was good. Lot's of balls and drills. Particular focus was placed on foot work and movement on clay. The adult classes had a ratio of 3 to 1, and the children had a ratio of 4-6 to 1.
Surprisingly my favorite aspect of the academia was the personal training. The instructor taught my wife and I a lot of new stretching the strength training technics which were tailored for tennis.
We've been to Saddlebrook, John Gardner's, Nike Tennis camps and a dozen resorts. We still think Saddlebrook is the best "boot camp" but this one is good. So if you are taking the family to Europe you should consider it. If your kid's want to go away for a tennis camp it is also a good choice."—S.R., Adv. Int., July 2009
See more reviews
Academia Sánchez-Casal (Juniors)