The road to professionalism can be difficult and full of obstacles. Villena offers solutions to doubts and adapts to the context of each player.
How many children dreamed of becoming professional tennis players as a child? How many envisioned themselves lifting the Wimbledon trophy or the Musketeers Cup at Roland Garros? Of those millions who one day dreamed of achieving glory, very few are capable of even having the possibility of being professionals. There is, of course, a small group of lucky people who have enough raw material and talent to achieve it. None of this matters without a solid base of work, in addition to the tenacity and care to create and strengthen a good context that surrounds the player.
There are many stages that a player goes through before professionalism. The long journey is always full of obstacles, with drawbacks that are very difficult to overcome if you travel alone. Few better places to guide a tennis player than the Equelite Academy, of recognized international value and through which players of all kinds and at differences pass. There is no greater proof of its reliability than this one: giving all types of tennis players a try, regardless of what stage of their training they are in. But it is important to know first-hand the different moments that a young tennis player will encounter: what better way to do it than with the professionals, those who at Equelite supervise each tennis player with the aim of making them better and helping them grow.
“There are parents who are in a hurry to come to Equelite, especially when the kids play well. There, the Academy tries to reassure them ”. The words were pronounced by Iñaki Etxegia, manager of the Academy itself. You already know that rushing was never a good advisor, and the overwhelming impetus of parents can be the first obstacle to solve in the formative stage of any child. At younger ages, talent is not always the only element to take into account. Taking away any child, no matter how ‘prodigy’ they may be considered, from a favorable context for their formation and growth can end up seriously undermining their confidence. We have seen it, in fact, at a professional level: players who reached the elite very early and who ended up falling prey to a completely toxic environment, with zero ability to relate socially and a shattered future before even reaching maturity as players.
“It is better to prioritize the family and come little by little than to take that leap so soon”, makes clear Iñaki, who emphasizes the importance of the family being fully in tune and “psyched up” in order to take the next step. It will be a very important moment for the player, so we should not rush that step: if the boy or girl in question plays tennis on a regular basis, with the presence of friends around them and at a relatively short distance from the Academy in particular, this step can wait until maturity makes an appearance. In fact, Equelite offers different formulas so that the little ones have a first contact with the methodology and the possibilities of the Academy. These solutions are even focused on the very presence of families, such as the Weekly Programs for families and groups or the Short Stay program.
Once the player is clear that tennis will become part of his life, this being a decision matured and agreed upon with his family and closest environment, Equelite offers all kinds of tools so that his development goes beyond sport. This is more important than it seems: here is a stage that will prepare you not only for any tournament on hard, clay or grass, but also to deal better with social relationships and to apply the values that sport can offer you.
All this, of course, without neglecting the studies. In this sense, Equelite offers its residents a Schools program so that tennis and training can be combined, with the possibility, even, for players to aspire to scholarships at American universities. It is no secret that the winning formula in recent years is to receive multidisciplinary training, something that is followed very precisely. But if there is something that the protagonists themselves highlight, it is the closeness and sincerity that reigns within Equelite, both for the players that make up the competition groups and for the staff themselves.
“The reality is that Equelite gave us confidence. It was very easy to address anyone at the Academy, regardless of their position in it! We felt welcome but we also realized that they were sincere and realistic”, says Herdev, father of Emma and Ethan Maan, young players from Singapore, just 13 and 17 years old respectively. If one reviews the list of players that make up the Academy in its competition programs, already focused on the search for professionalism, one will realize the impressive and varied list available. Today, an immersive experience within a complex like this should not be synonymous with loneliness, something that the Academy team is very aware of, which attracts players from all over the world and manages to draw up training plans and exercises that promote coexistence and friendly relations. No one better to explain it, of course, than the thinking head of this project, a guy who knows better than anyone about the importance of friendships within the circuit.
“Kids are usually quite sociable and make friends quickly. With their diferences, as has happened to all of us, but always, and we emphasize this, with respect. Having players with similar pretensions, levels and ages helps them feel accompanied and at the same time motivated to compete and continue to improve. It is very nice to see how they create very strong bonds that last beyond their stay at the Academy”, makes clear a Juan Carlos Ferrero who highlights the exercises with different competition boys as a very important engine in the formation of the player, beyond elements more focused on one against one, demanded too much by the parents themselves.
The cultural fusion of players that make up the Academy opens the doors for the boys themselves to integrate elements from different cultures, since they receive people from all over the world. “Now I consider many people from Equelite as friends”, confesses Herdev himself, reflecting on the intimacy that is breathed once one enters the Academy itself. Once you reach this stage, having such a context and being part of groups of friends is really important: those who manage to travel to junior tournaments and even decide to enter professional tournaments later, will face many nights in apartments, hostels or hotels far from their homes, with the presence of people who could be strangers and facing unknown situations. The base acquired in Equelite, in this sense, goes beyond what a given exercise offers you: it enhances your personal development and your ability to respond to these situations.
Once you’re ready to jump in, the Academy offers many of these guys the perfect platform, a springboard in the form of tournaments spread throughout their facilities. From junior events approved by the International Tennis Federation, through national circuits (such as MARCA, for example) and even reaching prestigious events on the Challenger circuit, the second ATP step, the Equelite competition players they have great opportunities to develop all their talent without having to leave home. As if that were not enough, analysis systems such as Playsight’s, used by the best players in the world, help to further the potential of a player who is already very clear about what he wants: to succeed in the world of tennis. The last differentiating element, as many admit, is the presence of great and recognized stars of the circuit. “We connected and tried many Academies, many had great coaches, but seeing Ferrero there… then you see that they are interested in you and that they work on all aspects,” Herdev confesses. Alcaraz, Carreño, Emilio Nava… the roster is spectacular and can be an important stimulus for any boy who seeks to develop his game under a guide or an idol in mind.
In conclusion, and as we have previously analyzed, before reaching professionalism all the pieces have to fall into place. From an early age, having a quality livelihood in your family and friends becomes an essential element before turning to an Academy with the facilities offered by Equelite, which will become the best possible place to mould an adolescent with a mature base. And a mind focused on succeeding in tennis. There will be hard times along the way, but the presence of good companions and friends will cushion the blows, and the springboard of opportunities at your disposal in Villena will make that child’s dream come true.