My visit to Bollettieri's

Discussion in 'Tennis Travel' started by Geezer Guy, Apr 24, 2007.

  1. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    As requested, here's a "review" of my visit to Bollettieri's.

    I was visiting a tennis buddy of mine that had just moved to Bradenton, Florida. He asked if there was anything specific I wanted to do, and I said I wanted to at least visit Bollettieri's to look around, and maybe even take one of the adult half-day sessions (which were listed at $160 at the website). He called Nick's to enquire and they told him that locals could take the half-day session for $100, so he signed us up for Thursday morning. The half-day session ran from 8 AM until 11:30, and is followed by lunch (included in the price). Also included is a tee-shirt.

    The place was easy to find (although traffic was heavier than we expected) and we got there a couple of minutes late. It has a gated entrance, and the guard moved us through pretty quickly after checking our ID's against the guest list (so it's a good thing we called ahead). When we went to register and pay the gal got us in quickly as well, while still being very pleasant. We rushed out to the courts, and were immediately thrown on-court with a pro that fed us ball after ball, and had us hit forehands and backhands down the line. No warm up at all - just go on court and start smacking the ball. This lasted 10 or 15 minutes, and then we were taken to another court, and we hit with other guests that were at our level. This was really more of the traditional warm-up.

    At 8:30 they called everyone back to Court 1. There were about 25 of us, I guess. We then did a half-hour of the most thorough stretching I've ever done. I didn't have a watch on, so I didn't know how long it would last. There were several times when I thought I was completely stretched out and couldn't be any more loose, and then we'd stretch some more! It was kinda like Simon Says, but there was pain involved. This lasted until 9:00.

    At 9:00 a pro demonstrated the basics of forehand and backhand groundstrokes. This lasted about 15 minutes, or maybe more. We didn't actually hit any balls - we just watched.

    Then they called out names and sent people to different courts. I understood then why we did what we did from 8:00 - 8:30. That's how they determined who should be on what court, and got players of like ability on each court. My friend and I were both 4.0's, and ended up on the same court. We were on court with a guy from London and a guy from Sweden. Both of them were taking the week-long session. Our pro was named Roger. The four of us had a pretty good time. It was kinda your basic drill session with a pro. Roger was good a shouting out instructions and suggestions, but there wasn't much in the way of individual instruction. Still, we were moving almost all the time. It was a good workout and we hit a ton of balls. Roger seemed to have a small hopper that day so we broke often to pick up balls and drink water, but it was a pretty warm morning so we didn't mind. Aside from the water, there were bananas, oranges and apples sitting around. We did mostly groundstrokes, but some volleys and overheads as well. There were 5 courts going, and each had 3 or 4 students. From what I could see, most looked at about our level, but there were some obvious 2.5 or 3.0 gals, and some players that may have been 4.5's.

    At 11:00 Roger broke us up and we played a set of doubles. My buddy and I played together, against the foreigners. We tried to represent, but we got beat. At 11:30 we broke for lunch. We walked around awhile first and watched the academy kids. We watched Nick Bollettieri making a video, picked up our free tee-shirts, and headed to lunch.

    The lunch was nice. There were two buffet tables. One with salad fixings, and one with chicken, fish, pasta, rice, and veggies. The food was pretty good.
    That afternoon another couple came down. The new guy is also a 4.0 and his wife is probably about a 3.0 - but doesn't play competitively. When he heard what we' d done, he wanted to do it also. She was torn about whether or not to go, but decided not to because she thought everyone there would be way better than her. So my friend (the local) again made reservations, and this time the 3 of us went. (As it turned out, his wife should have gone because there were two other ladies there she would have fit in perfectly with. These two ladies had a pro to themselves, and got a lot of individual attention.)

    There were a few more people there Friday then Thursday. Friday was about the same, but instead of going over groundstrokes at 9:00 they went over the serve for about 15 minutes (or maybe longer). Then they broke us up into groups. The three of us were together, along with a guy from Haiti who was there for the week. Our pro that day was named Zoran. Zoran was a bit more intense than Roger. We worked on groundstrokes some, but we did more with volleys and overheads and serves. Then we played out some doubles points (without serving) and eventually we played a set of no-ad doubles. Also on Friday, Roger video'ed and then critiqued each of us hitting 4 forehands, 4 backhands, and 2 serves. This was the closest we got to individual instruction, although it only lasted about 10 minutes.

    The facilities were all nice and all the employee's were nice. We were always on clay courts, and it looked like the academy kids were almost always on hard courts. There were a couple of kids taking lessons on clay, and they sure did a nice job sliding into their shots.

    All in all, it was very nice. If I had the opportunity to do a half-day session again, I probably would. Although I can't really say I learned anything in the half-day (nor would I expect to), it was a great experience.

    http://www.imgacademies.com/tennis/default.sps?itype=8030
     
    #1
  2. LuckyR

    LuckyR Legend

    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2006
    Messages:
    6,404
    Location:
    The Great NW
    Nice review. It sounds like the weeklong folks are on a schedule: Monday is returns Tuesday is groundies etc and the folks who come for the day get the instruction of the day.

    Did the instructors say: "what do ya'll need to work on today?" or did they dictate the instruction?
     
    #2
  3. shindemac

    shindemac Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2005
    Messages:
    2,242
    That sounds awesome! It seems like it's more about the experience rather than expecting any major improvements in your game. I didn't know adults could take lessons at such a prestigious academy as Bollettieri's, and 160 ain't too much money. I'll have to add it on my to-do list when I visit FL.
     
    #3
  4. Geezer Guy

    Geezer Guy Hall of Fame

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2005
    Messages:
    2,792
    Location:
    Big Canoe, GA
    LuckyR, You're exactly right - there is a published schedule. My buddy picked Thursday because it included a little bit of everything, and it was a good choice. No, they don't ask you what you want to work on. You work on what everyone else is working on. I suppose if you scheduled a private, you could do whatever you wanted.

    shindemac, I agree.
     
    #4

Share This Page