How much will going to a tennis academy like Bollettieri's help?

Discussion in 'Tennis Tips/Instruction' started by LightningZI, May 20, 2010.

  1. LightningZI

    LightningZI Rookie

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    My parents are thinking of sending me to Bollettieri Tennis Academy for around 5 weeks to improve. I would rank myself around 3.0 or 3.5, I'm in the high JV range, but I can beat Varsity players. The reason I have trouble moving up JV ranks is unpredictable styles that most people have in JV, Other than that it's easier for me to play varsity players because I can find strategies. That's another thing but how much will going to an academy help? From what I've heard Bollettieri's is pretty intense and they mostly make your forehand into a weapon without focusing much on most other things.

    Any recommendations or thoughts?
     
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  2. BU-Tennis

    BU-Tennis Semi-Pro

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    I myself haven't attended any tennis academy, and the only one i've ever seen was the van der meer one in Hilton Head, SC. (which was pretty nice). Obviously, going to an academy will help to improve your game, but we even though these are world-class coaches, its important to remember that in order to progress you need a coach that understands your tennis abilities and can help you improve on specifics.

    You might get down to bolliteri's and spend a week learning the forehand, which maybe you already know and the only thing you're getting to do is hit balls while hearing "nice shot, that's the way" all the time.

    For me, 5 weeks at bolliteri's or 1 week one on one with a personal coach? I would take the one on one. World class coaches for world class players i say, and the truth is they aren't going to know much more than another coach who is accredited by a tennis teaching agency (such as van der meers PTR and the USPTA)
     
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  3. drakulie

    drakulie Talk Tennis Guru

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    spend the money on a private coach.
     
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  4. larry10s

    larry10s Hall of Fame

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    i spent time at the adult program(just 3 days). i hit alot of balls but the instruction was not what i was hoping for.spent time with pat dougherty the serve doctor one on one. best money spent . my understanding and execution of my serve really went up. the junior program may be different i would expect.
     
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  5. ProgressoR

    ProgressoR Hall of Fame

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    the right coach makes all the difference, i have two or 3 guys I use (due to lack of availability) and one is the best the other 2 i use to practice what the best guy covers, as hitting partners, feeders etc, with the odd tip. The main coach knows my game, we talk a lot about what i want to do, and he tailors coaching to my needs.

    But its about finding that great coach.

    Acadamies (i went to some for other sports, when younger, not tennis, and not in the US) can be good for meeting other players of similar age and standard, perhaps seeing where you fit in a national scale of age based talent, also i would expect tactics and strategy to be covered.It can provide a leap in terms of your output. And can do it quickly.

    That group dynamic cannot be repeated with a single coach. So pro's and cons.

    A single coach is a good idea, as long as he is very good and takes time to understand you and what you need and want. If you cannot find that, then why not the academy?
     
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  6. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    Spending 5 weeks there can't hurt as long as you are dedicated and invested into the sport. If you are going just to go then that intense atmosphere living and breathing tennis with people from all over the world may be intimidating and counter productive.

    If finances are not an issue and you truly love the game and want to improve, the instruction and sheer competition to push you will prob not be found in your local area.
     
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  7. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    It depends on what you're looking for.

    If you're looking for someone to help you fine tune particular technical issues, than I suggest you find a good local coach to help you. At the academy, you'll get little one v one attention. Although they do offer 1 to 1 private coaching sessions outside of the normal class times.

    If you're looking for the opportunity to learn some general pointers about all things tennis related, it isn't a bad idea going. The structure of the course does give you an idea on how to go about planning your own personal training once you leave the academy.
    And besides, if you're going there on summer camp, it can be quite fun.
     
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  8. supineAnimation

    supineAnimation Professional

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    If you can afford it, do it. But be prepared for being a bit out of your league. A lot of those kids are probably quite a bit better than you, but if you can just focus on getting as much out of it as you can I would be shocked if it didn't help a lot. Good luck.
     
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  9. Nanshiki

    Nanshiki Hall of Fame

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    Don't expect any miracles in five weeks. Real game improvement takes years.
     
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  10. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    One problem I see is that your body cannot adapt that much in 5 weeks. It takes months, even years to master new techniques that you learn. You will get flooded with tons of new information in your 5 weeks, and who is going to reinforce that you continue doing things correctly after you leave? How much of that information will you retain also?

    My opinion would be that having an instructor on a long term basis (but less frequent like maybe once a week or two) would be more beneficial because they can continuously reinforce the new things they are teaching you.
     
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  11. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    Go to the academy. In five weeks, you'll learn how to have a tennis and training schedule, which doesn't sound like a big thing, but it is extremely helpful in your development. It is also an experience you can't really have anywhere else.
     
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  12. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    Go to a smaller academy. You dont want to be the bottom of the barrel player at a huge academy. The instruction you get wont be very high. If they even pay attention to you at Bollettieri's I would be surprised.
     
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  13. papa

    papa Hall of Fame

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    Ton of talent both in coaching and players. If your going this summer, or any summer, be prepared for the heat - it will be warm.

    Lots of kids go to IMG on a full time basis and most seem well adjusted. I think you'll learn a lot but 5 weeks is a relatively short period.
     
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  14. mm916157

    mm916157 New User

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    everyone has hit on the things i would say.

    One thing strikes me though
    "My parents are thinking of sending me to Bollettieri Tennis Academy for around 5 weeks to improve."

    Screw your parents, live life for yourself. That being said, I wish i got a tennis college scholarship at Stanford. A good education for free is priceless (well at least worth $250K).

    Anyway, look at it as a vacation and if you are bored, go pick up on some of the girls in the camp.
     
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  15. EP1998

    EP1998 Semi-Pro

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    I agree with you on the smaller academy in theory but usually that type of situation isn't as easy to arrange as IMG in terms of boarding and things like that. IMG is a lot easier for the parents because everything is taken care of while at a smaller academy one parent would most likely have to go. Most small academies dont offer boarding or after hours activities. IMG is huge but the kids do get a great experience out of it. I think there is a lot to be said for learning and sticking to a schedule in terms of tennis + fitness (some of the fitness people there are very good) and the pressure to work hard is there no matter what the level.
     
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  16. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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  17. NLBwell

    NLBwell Legend

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    For someone on a JV high school team, 5 weeks can result in a very big improvement. If you would really like to focus on tennis for 5 weeks and have the opportunity, go.
     
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  18. serve stopper

    serve stopper Rookie

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    i suggest going to one of your local college camps for like a week of summer lessons if they offer it also a private coach is much better, also play in alot of usta tournaments. They help you play people who are good or like varsity level. I had the same problem as you, i was able to beat varsity players but i couldn't beat other players. Mine was a little bit mental too. Then i started to do tournaments and my nerves started to not get the best of me. Now i play number three singles on varsity
     
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  19. coyfish

    coyfish Hall of Fame

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    I don't think its worth it at your level. They will be feeding you balls and working your basic fundamentals. There are coaches out there that can help you for much less. To me it seems like going to Harvard medical school to learn high school biology.

    The way I see it you should be a 4.0+ to get the most out of the experience. You have a solid game with fundamentals down. They can tweak little things that average coaches wouldn't pick up on and help mold your game.
     
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  20. raiden031

    raiden031 Legend

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    Good analogy. Its not hard to find a good teaching pro who can be very effective for a 3.0-3.5 player's game. OP, wait til you plateau at a higher level, then go.
     
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  21. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    I dont think its a bad idea for him to go to an academy.

    He gets to hit a ton of balls for 4-5 hours a day. This is something he wouldnt get at home at least not fed ball or hitting with a coach.

    He will see what higher level jrs do for training. Never underestimate that. I thought I worked hard and when I met guys who were playing Futures and Challengers I saw that I needed to work harder.

    With that said I stand by my look at smaller academies. They might offer you a better program overall and even get you one on one time with a coach. Bollettieri's has the name because they do produce a good amount of pros but your not at that level so you wont get the attention from them.
     
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  22. Smurf

    Smurf New User

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    Honestly no it probably wouldnt help, it might give you confidence if your lacking some, but game wise I dont think its worth it unless your are a phenom. I know a guy who went to nick's a couple years ago and the only thing that he really learned was to hit a heavy topspin 1hb, thats not worth the money he paid imo.
     
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  23. dcgator

    dcgator New User

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    Don't listen to any of these folks telling you no. 5 weeks of intensive training will benefit your game immeasurably. You will have world class coaches who can dissect your game and give you the structure you need to improve once you leave the camp. At a 3.0-3.5 level , you are entering a stage where you will see the most rapid improvement improvement of your game through some hard work and good advise.

    You will get plenty of one on one and you will get plenty of competitive sets against your fellow players. The coaches there will teach you proper form and the drills will give you experience well beyond the 5 weeks you will actually be at the camp.

    Do it. Enjoy it. Do not listen to the people here telling you no. Its an awesome opportunity and you should take advantage of it.
     
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  24. Smurf

    Smurf New User

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    Tbh a good teaching pro can him give him all those things and more for a fraction of the price, like I said to really benefit from these world renowned tennis camps you need to be very good, not 3.0-3.5.
     
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  25. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Going to a top tennis academy is more then about getting tips on your game. Private lessons are great, but if you wanna see something different, catch some pro's training, see how the top kids there train, gets some inspiration, go somewhere on your own for a change, learn to take care of your own tennis game in the sense that being on court on time, going to bed on time, making sure rackets are restrung, laundry done and maybe even homework (depend when you go and how long) then go to Bollettieri's.

    There are a lot of distractions at academies. Rich kids who don't give a sh*t, girls, being stupid and trying to sneak out of your room at 1am and so on. You get out of it what you put into it, if you go there with the right attitude you'll have a great experience. Private lessons are great but it depends what coach you find, but you won't get the chance to play with a ton of different kids from all over and be in a competitive and challenging environment but also fun at the same time like you would in an academy.
     
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  26. tennis_balla

    tennis_balla Hall of Fame

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    Calculate 3 hours of private lessons a day @ $60/hr and tell me its cheaper. I'm not talking about club coach hacks who charge $25-$30/hr and tell you nice shot and how great you're hitting the ball, maybe step into it more and feed you perfect balls for the whole hour ;-)
     
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  27. LightningZI

    LightningZI Rookie

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    I've had a coach since September and that's gotten me to where I am right now, But the thing is I've plateaued at this level, It's frustrating to not be able to play Varsity players, and it's more frustrating to play against JV players. To be honest I'm not even sure of my NTRP but I should get one sooner or later since I'm going to play USTA Tournaments.

    I think someone posted a price of a coach and all, But the coach I had charged like 72$ an hour, He was really good though, I just wanted to know if Bollettieri's enforces the basics or what, I don't really mind not getting 1 on 1 attention but I'm pretty sure by common sense 5 hours of tennis a day would either completely destroy your game or help it.. I'm sort of reconsidering going but I don't know.. I guess I should wait to find out what my NTRP really is since I think 4.0 is recommended to go there? Highly doubt I'm anywhere near 4.0 but I guess we'll see..
     
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  28. Jay_The_Nomad

    Jay_The_Nomad Professional

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    Then I suggest go to Nick B's school.

    But just a word of caution. Check out what kind of programme it is exactly. They got one of these summer camp type things where the standard of play isn't fantastic & you only get to hit with other kids in the 5 week programme who are just there for summer vacation.

    What you want is to be able to hit with some of the boarding school kids who are very very good.
     
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  29. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    +1. That's what I've heard.

    OP, why do you think you've plateaued? Lack of practice, lack of matches, lack of conditioning, not great coaching?
     
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  30. GuyClinch

    GuyClinch Hall of Fame

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    I think going to an academy is fun - and Bolleteri's has some great coaches. But what kind of instruction would you get with regards to personal attention?

    Personally if your allowed to choose ANY tennis camp I choose one in a much colder place as Florida in the summer is likely killer.. there are some excellent tennis camps available in the summer..

    As an adult I would go for a more scenic location like Vermont, Utah or Whistler. Bolleteri's camp strikes me as a bit grindy and dull apart from the tennis. Actually Switzerland would be the best - but likely out of your price range. :p
     
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  31. PimpMyGame

    PimpMyGame Hall of Fame

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    Hell, you should be going for the experience alone. If your game improves then great.

    I've never been anywhere near a tennis academy, and 23 years ago when I was 15 I think I'd have given up everything to do something like that. Go for it.
     
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  32. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    That is very incorrect. The academy will have him out there hitting balls for 4-5 hours a day. Thats something he wont get from a local coach for the same price. Plus he will get practice sets with coaches watching and giving help. At a low level I think an academy is better because they will let you hit and will correct your strokes for hours at a time.
     
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  33. LightningZI

    LightningZI Rookie

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    I think it's cause of lack of matches with someone at my level.. I mean I can play with JV kids from other HS teams, Win easily, But it seems that whenever I play against people on JV that are higher on the ladder than I am, I can't figure out their style, possibly because they have none, and so I can't even move on to Varsity..

    I mean I've played a 3rd Singles Varsity player from a different school and beat him in half a set, Won 3-1, I had a score of 7-5 in one set against 3rd singles from our school.. But coaches really don't notice much....

    My coach really was a great coach, He used to arrange matches with his other students and give us both information about each others styles of play, So on and so forth and I learned strategy from him too. I started tennis in September or so, I think i started to take 1 hour lessons and get serious around December, By december I had decent overall except my serve still was horrible. Playing easy JV matches got my serve to a pretty amazing level (If I do say so myself, A pretty fast kick serve that gets me quite a bit of aces) and a horrible habit of using a Reverse forehand on almost every shot :???: But other than that I'm just bored of playing people at JV levels, and unpredictable players. I'd go back to him again but it's quite boring and I don't think there'd be a lot more for me to learn. I'd go back to him for coaching but he recommended an academy to me, and so here I am just wondering about it..

    I used to practice almost 5 hours or more every week so I don't think practice is or will be a problem, and I'm not too worked up about conditioning.

    I really think I've plateaued cause of lack of challenging matches, or rather against good players. I just seem to perform much better against really good players and horrid against horrible players, Probably because I mess around against them and I'm very serious against good players.
     
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  34. gameboy

    gameboy Hall of Fame

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    I think you should go, not because I think you will become a great player at then end of the 5th week, but I think it will be fun.

    Think of it as a really high level tennis summer camp and go and have fun.
     
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  35. coyfish

    coyfish Hall of Fame

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    What do you think one of those coaches can teach him that a decent pro coach can't? They wont' be teaching him advanced technique. He probably has a very weak backhand. All that money for a couple tips that any pro coach could give and hours of feeding balls. Can I hear group lessons? No question that he will improve at an academy but is the expense justified. Thats the issue. Hes not at the level to benefit from the advanced coaching that they can offer.

    My advice OP. If you wan't to improve than go to the ball machine and hit ball after ball. Focus on consistency and placement. Have a couple lessons a week to point you in the right direction. That way your brain knows what to do. Now your body needs to learn what to do. That happens by hitting ball after ball. Playing HS tennis with others at your level will do very little. Too inconsistent to gain anything by rallies.

    Once you develop consistency from both wings you will be a solid 3.5 ready to move to 4.0.
     
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  36. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    I think a lot of us prob agree it prob isn't worth the money for what he will learn but what we don't know is how much money his parents have. If he is stinkin' rich and tons of disposable cash then fine, go and learn.

    If parents working overtime or using retirement savings to fund this trip then prob not worth bang for buck. Don't go.

    If finances somewhere in between then maybe go or find something more local- tons of summer northeast camps in the summer- and of course more reasonably priced b/c you aren't paying for the bollitieri brand.
     
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  37. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    I know if I had a good amount of free $, I'll be in saddlebrook once a year in winter. and in the summer, vermont or that one in canada. Ahh to dream :)
     
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  38. maverick66

    maverick66 Hall of Fame

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    I am barely even thinking of the level of coaching he will get. What my point is the only way to improve at tennis is to play tennis. If he goes and spends 5 weeks at an academy thats 4 hours a day for 5 days a week with some fitness and coaching. Thats alot of court time. He is not at a high level and one of the best ways to get up there in my experience is hitting alot of balls with all kinds of players. This is the advantage of the academies not the coaching. Because honestly the coaching at academies is not always good. Some coaches at these places are nothing more than babysitters. But if he gets to hit with 20-30 different players over those 5 weeks he sees alot of different players and his level will improve.
     
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  39. mlktennis

    mlktennis Semi-Pro

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    A hitting partner I have 5.0 solid grew up upstate new york and says that one factor that limited his development is his access to quality players growing up. He went to lots of camps when growing up and says they were invaluable. He is sooo good a 3.5 like me can't comprehend- I can't imagine what he would be if he grew up in florida or California. Prob potential to be not top 100 but def challenger level.
     
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  40. r2473

    r2473 Legend

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    You'll get a nicer T-shirt from Bollettieri than from your local pro as well. And the other kids won't have one of those.
     
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  41. Cindysphinx

    Cindysphinx G.O.A.T.

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    Hmmm. Good information.

    I guess I don't understand the nature of the problem. There are lots of ways to get more challenging match play with players stronger than JV that don't involve a trip to a world renown tennis academy. And once you do get those more challenging matches -- which should expose your weaknesses -- wouldn't you need some serious coaching to change bad habits so you can start beating those better players?

    Then there's the frustration factor. If you go to Bolletari's and the strongest players you've played are your local JV opponents, will you be in so far over your head that you won't get much out of it? I don't know; I'm just asking the question.

    I guess if your folks are loaded and can give you this experience just for the experience, go for it. I would say if you are really serious about improving your tennis, getting with a good pro and playing better players can be done more cheaply at home.

    BTW, I went to their web site. Am I correct that they want $1850/week for tennis + boarding? And you're planning on going for 5 weeks?
     
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  42. LightningZI

    LightningZI Rookie

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    I like the points you made about that, I've asked Varsity people on my own team to hit with me, But half of them are conceited and don't even play JV players. The 3rd Singles guy is just a person who used to go to the same teacher as me so we did play a few games. As for playing against people from Bollettieri's I'm almost 99% sure that most if not almost all the people there will be better than me. But I don't see any improvement in myself from playing against people worse than me, Not even stroke reinforcement, It's probably been more harmful to me playing people worse than beneficial, I've picked up so many bad habits from it. As I said before, I'm serious against people better than me and I play around in matches with those worse than me. Probably one of the worse things I do.

    I don't know if it's cheaper here than there, As it's $72 an hour for a pro here, 5 hours i think is how long it is at Bollettieri's everyday. So 72 * 5 is $360, And that times 7 gives you $2520. Which seems to be more than Bollettieri's, Not to mention I don't think a local pro here would teach a kid himself for 5 hours a day.

    The bollettieri program I'm looking at is the summer 5 week camp which is around $8000 I believe including boarding.

    The main thing I just want to do is improve my tennis, In any way possible, mental or physical.
     
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  43. Slazenger07

    Slazenger07 Banned

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    I went to John Newcombe's Tennis ranch many years ago. It was a great experience, Id definitely do it again if I had the money and time. Although my most memorable experience had nothing to do with tennis(had a hot girl ask to dry her lips on my t-shirt, of course I let her) :)

    The instruction was really quality, I gained alot from it. One thing though is try and stay in "Newk's House" all of the other housing was small and ****ty when I went but Newk's house was pretty baller, that's where I stayed, with about 8-10 other dudes.
     
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