Ariana Geerlings, an 18-year-old Spanish tennis player who just parted ways with the Rafa Nadal Tennis Academy, has made quite a stir with her recent statements slamming the organisation’s standards and practises.
According to Geerlings, the institution follows the same training methodology as the 22-time Grand Slam champion, which she claims is causing injuries among students.
The Spaniard went on to say that because no one has Nadal’s freakish physique, this club’s attitude is difficult for many players to adapt to.
“They try to rely a lot on their career,” Geerlings said in a recent interview with Punto de Break.
“They train for many hours, and Toni (Nadal) is very present. He trained me a lot. They take the same philosophy as Rafa, a lot of training and little rest, totally focused on the track.”
“That caused many injuries, because no one has Rafa’s physique. Many of us couldn’t keep up with the pace of training five hours a day and not having rest days,” she added.
Her critique of the Academy was tempered somewhat by the praise that she offered them for going the extra mile to ensure that players can devote themselves to the sport.
“Very cool, it is an incredible experience, they supported me from the first day. Maybe I left when I was very young, you move away from your parents and that is hard, although it was good for me to mature and realize the sacrifice that this career entails.
“They also made it easier for me in my studies; at home, it would have been different,” Geerlings said.
Geerling added that she didn’t feel that the harsh training regime was something done out of malice but she believed that certain workload management tailoring could be done to help players improve with pushing them beyond their breaking point.
She understands that the Academy tries to cater to a large number of players coming in from all over the world but feels that more could be done to ensure training was personalised.
“As far as I know and as far as I saw, everyone trained the same amount of hours. Obviously, if you were very tired, they let you rest someday. I think what they need is to specify more about each player, analyze and understand them more, decide what is best for each profile.”But hey, I understand that it is an Academy, and there are many people, you cannot define a plan for each person,” Geerlings said.
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