Pro Coach: Samuel Lopez
Originally published on 23/03/17 00:00
Lopez, who played on the Spanish national circuit before becoming a coach at the age of 22, co-founded the Equelite Sport Academy in Villena with Antonio Martinez Cascales in 1990 and has worked at the academy ever since.
As a player, what were your strengths and weaknesses?
My fitness and determination were pretty good. My weakness was my backhand
What would you say your strengths are as a coach?
I’m patient and a good communicator. Communication is really important
Describe your coaching style in three words
Observe, personalise and strengthen.
How did you get involved in the academy?
I’m from Villena, where Toni [Antonio Martinez Cascales] was my coach. After a while I started helping him coach some of the groups. I co-founded the JC Ferrero-Equelite Sport Academy with him in 1990.
Overall, how many years have you spent travelling on the tour as a coach?
Many years. First I travelled with competition groups on the ITF circuit, and in the last seven or eight years I’ve been travelling on the ATP circuit with professional players – first Juan Carlos Ferrero and then Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, Nicolas Almagro, and more recently Pablo Carreno Busta.
How long have you been working with Pablo?
This is my second year with him. We are really happy with how things are working, and the results have also been pretty good. We have a great dynamic and I hope to continue working with him for many more years. He has a great work ethic and that makes my job much more enjoyable.
When you return home from a few weeks away, what is the first thing you do?
When I arrive at home I try to spend some day there with my family resting, but that´s impossible – my family always make plans. Of course I like to be with them, but staying at home wouldn't be so bad either!
With the young players coming to the summer camps, what areas do you focus on?
As they don´t have so much time, we can’t focus them on technique changes, only small changes and important ideas such as consistency and tactics. The most important thing is for them to experience training in a high-performance academy and understanding our philosophy and the way we work.
What makes Equelite different from other high-performance academies?
We’re really focused on helping the players reach their potential so we provide a really personalised training for every player. Many of the coaches and staff, including Juan Carlos Ferrero, live at the academy. We provide a familiar and safe atmosphere where players can focus on their tennis and studies. And of course, the fact that Juan Carlos is here and knows all the kids and trains with them is something unique.
Where is your favourite place at the academy?
I love being out on court. When I'm at the academy I spend lot of time on court, not just with Pablo but with all the players.
To find out more about JC Ferrero-Equelite Academy and its Summer Stage residential camps for players aged eight to 16 to go equelite.com