From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:
“An academy is an institution of higher learning, research, or honorary membership. In the western world academia is the commonly-used term for the collective institutions of higher learning”.
As we can see, the definition of an academy suggests that it provides the highest level of education, or when we talk about a tennis academy, the highest level of tennis coaching. Is this true? Not really. Most champions are developed through individualized programs.
I researched the Internet and easily found more than 100 tennis academies just in the US. I am guessing that the final figure may be much more.
I tried to classify them into groups. There are three main groups:
1. Tennis academies with a pretty long history that are well-known in the tennis world, like Nick Bollettieri Tennis Academy, Nick Saviano Tennis Academy, Saddlebrook International Tennis Academy, Rick Macci Tennis Academy, Evert Tennis Academy and so on. All of these tennis academies have been around for a while and have proved themselves through years of success. Most of these tennis academies were founded by famous former pro players and coaches. Some of them are pretty big and train hundreds of players at the same time, while others only have a couple dozen players.
2. Tennis academies that were founded by players, coaches and entrepreneurs like many Californian tennis academies. They are not very big, and you hardly find famous names among their coaches, except for Dent and Gorin tennis academies.
3. There are actually individual coaches who proclaimed themselves as a “tennis academy”. They do not have boarding programs and use “tennis academy” like a common brand definition. But among them you can see famous coaches like Robert Van’t Hof’s Pacific Coast Tennis Academy.
By the way, there is a quote from the Zoo tennis website, talking about Robert Lansdorp.
“Lansdorp is not sold on academies, although he does concede their value as far as practice and competition, and had kind words for the atmosphere and opportunities at Bollettieri’s. He was very critical of all the “academies” that start as a coach and one or two good players and then suddenly have 30 juniors of varying levels doing nothing but drilling. Lansdorp believes one-on-one coaching is the foundation of development but although it may be tempting to reduce development principles, like I just have, into bite-size morsels, it’s ultimately misleading. “It’s not that simple,” he said. “It’s complicated.”
In my next post, I will talk about my advice for those who are looking for a tennis academy for a junior tennis player.
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