Everyone for tennis – Jimmy Stewart Tennis AcademyBy Kerstin Buechner Dias • Dec 6th, 2008 • Category: Companies, People, Quinta Lifestyle, Sports
“Fun first”, declares Jim Stewart inanswer to the question: what’s the Jim Stewart Tennis Academy like? “It doesn’t matter what level you are. Whether you are four years’ old and a knocking a big foam ball over a mini-net, or you’re one of the country’s elite players, tennis should be fun”, he clarifies.
The Jimmy Stewart way to get the most out of your game
His booming Canadian twang resonates around his small office, stressing the importance of his point. But no matter how much seriousness he injects into his big voice, his eyes can’t keep from smiling and you just know that he practises what he preaches.
This is not to say that he doesn’t take tennis seriously. Forget strawberries and champagne, when tennis can pay for your education at Princeton or Syracuse, it suddenly becomes more important than an excuse for a social gathering.
A string of graduates who enjoyed tennis scholarships at some of America’s top universities have Jim’s coaching skills to thank for getting them there.
But for Jim, coaching some of the world’s best does not just stop with the Ivy League. The Jim Stewart Tennis Academy in Quinta do Lago currently hosts three of Portugal’s top players, including Demi Rodrigues, who is a face of the future with a ranking on the Junior Ladies’ Tour.
“We look at people as individuals and help them improve their game, if that’s what they want”, says Jim. “Different people want different things from tennis.”
“We can arrange some great competitive league games for people. But we also have a bar, serving a range of drinks and light snacks. Some of our guests just come for the social life. We also run several very successful barbecues over the summer.”
The Academy’s court
The Academy’s court records bear out this welcoming attitude. Although there is a core of regular players, most of whom are club members, there are a lot of non-members who just come to play for short bursts. Most of these are enjoying a vacation in Quinta do Lago and are either staying in one of the resort’s nearby hotels or are the owners of one of the region’s luxury villas.
The club’s facilities reflect the level of its most discerning visitor. There are nine courts in both American Acrylic and Synthetic Grass. It’s possible to play just a stone’s throw from the centre of activity at the club house or you could book a secluded court in a more peaceful location. The Academy repairs, rents and sells all you could possibly need to play and provides fun equipment to enhance the skills of children, such as coloured cones and different sized ball and racquets.
High quality tennis program for children
It is this devotion to the needs of children that is, perhaps, one of the nicest things to see around the club. The Academy has more than 120 children on its books and runs special programmes with several local Portuguese and international schools throughout the year. The children of Quinta do Lago’s visitors are also welcome and many make the most of the activities on offer during their stay.
Children as young as four can enjoy private or group lessons with specialist equipment principally designed for their size and ability. And judging by their interaction with children, most of the coaches could be as at home on a summer camp as they are on one of the Academy’s pristine courts.
The club’s coaching
The approach of the club’s coaching has a lot to do with its international heritage. Run by a Canadian in Portugal with players that come from all over America and Europe including England, Ireland, France and Spain, the club’s focus is unashamedly international, while maintaining a pride in the Algarve. “We’re in the best garden in Europe, with a perfect climate, people, ocean and food”, says Jim. He’s talking about Quinta do Lago, but when he adds “You can’t get much better than this”, he could easily be talking about his love of tennis and how that is reflected in his Academy.
For more information visit the official website: www.tennisalgarve.com.