Experience at IMG Academy
Recently I was visiting IMG Academy during ITF tournament „Eddie Herr”. This tournament is a celebration of tennis where players compete under 12, under 14, under 16, and under 18 years old. Additionally there are many professional players who are there at the same time and they prepare for the next season on tour. Is there a better chance to watch other coaches and players and get invaluable experience?
It was my first time at IMG Academy so I was trying to get as much as possible from this opportunity. I was hearing a lot about this place from my friends but there is nothing else like going there on my own and watching it all. At the beginning I was welcomed with the sight of numerous tennis courts. Young tennis players training and competing on clay courts and hard courts was a great picture that I can’t see too many times in such a scale. Next to the courts there is swimming pool, gym, fitness room and accomodation. Taking tram to the other side of the academy I was able to eat great meals as also see students coming or going to the practice. Is there a better place to train?
The answer is: it is great place but it doesn’t guarantee success. At IMG Academy you have good coaches, professional equipment, great weather and athletic atmosphere but players have to deal with the same difficulties like in Paris or Tokyo. If you miss the ball at IMG Academy it is not easier to deal with it than in any other academy in the world. If you are not motivated to put your best every day even the most expensive equipment won’t do this work for you. If you stay late previous night and you don’t recover properly injury will get you sooner or later in Europe as well in Bradenton. So the truth is that IMG Academy gives you good opportunity to reach your potential but it all depends on you. If you have enough motivation and willingness to push forward you will take the most of this place.
Between juniors matches I was always trying to look whether professional players train at academy. I was lucky enough to see Heather Watson and Ekatarina Makarova few times. These were great moments because I learned some important lessons as a tennis coach. The truth is that professional tennis players don’t train much differently than many juniors but the quality of their work is at the highest possible level. They don’t discuss on the court, they don’t throw the racquet after mistakes and they don’t have to be motivated by own coaches to bend kness at 9 am. These professional athletes know why they are there and what they are working for. They don’t do anything special – they just do it consistently. They do exactly the same drill that you can watch on YouTube every day but they give their best into it. They listen to their coaches and they trust them. That is the difference. They get the most of the facility, opportunity and coach’s knowledge every second of the practice session. Do juniors do the same? I am not sure about that…
So that’s it. IMG Academy brings a lot of stars and future-starts into the same place but only those who give own best have chances to reach the top. It simply means that you can achieve success anywhere in the world if you have a right approach.
About the Author
Marcin Bieniek is a tennis coach from Poland and a former professional player (Polish National Juniors Team). He is a certificated tennis coach by the Polish Tennis Coaching Association and the Professional Tennis Registry. Marcin has worked with many of the top 3 Polish Juniors and the top 60 players in the world.