Tenniszine - UK tennis blog.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Windmill Hill

Enjoyed an excellent 4 days at Windmill Hill tennis and golf academy. The weather was unbelievable for the UK, sunny 27 degrees Tuesday, 30 Wednesday, 23 Thursday and again on Friday. It caught me out a bit Tuesday afternoon, with no hat or sunscreen and I suffered slight de-hydration and fatigue. Drank lots of water and orange juice that evening and was still dryish the next day.

Interesting mix of about 22 players of all ages and both sexes. I was in the 'club players' group, where 6 of us concentrated on tactics and movement rather than re-learning the strokes, although Brett the coach was very good at pointing out things to improve. It included video analysis of forehand and backhand ground strokes and I have a couple of things to try that should lead to better shots.

I stayed in a standard room with shower in the mansion. Accomodation was quite basic, a bit like a 2-3 star hotel in the UK, and there was a letter from the management apologising for the 'tired look of our rooms'. I found the rooms to be OK, after all you're there for the tennis not the luxurious accomodation, although I would prefer better sound proofing as the person next door to me over indulged in the late night poolside bar and woke me one morning around 05:30 with the sounds of their vomiting. There is another option of a more spacious room than the one I had, and going the other way cottage rooms with shared bathroom facilities; OK for families or groups. The Windmill Hill grounds set in rolling East Sussex downland with a view to the sea more than makes up for the rooms, which are undergoing refurbishment anyway. Excellent buffet style food at breakfast, lunch and dinner, all included in the price.

Then there's the tennis, with around 4 hours coach led tuition or practise each day, and free use of the courts in your own time. We used the 4 astro-turf courts since the weather was good. There are 4 indoor courts that get used when it rains, 2 hardcourts, and several grass courts which were closed for the season. The coaches were excellent, friendly, knowledgable, and with great practise drills some of which I had not come across before. A mix of serious with fun. I played a couple of doubles matches outside of the coaching sessions, and was amazed by one players kick serve that forced me to return the ball from above my head.

So overall, good fun, good holiday, good value, although I think the weather makes a difference, as I am not so sure how pleasant it would be if it had been raining, damp and cold. Then you would be stuck in the cramped rooms when not playing tennis. Would I go again? Yes, and some people do go every year. The refurbishment programme should be finished next year too.

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