Spain legend drills tennis coaches, players

Tennis lessons: Maria- Jose Llorca Pon with young tennis players at Thornhill Primary School in Gaborone on Friday. PIC KABO MPAETONA
Tennis lessons: Maria- Jose Llorca Pon with young tennis players at Thornhill Primary School in Gaborone on Friday. PIC KABO MPAETONA

Former Spanish tennis star Maria-Jose Llorca Pon recently hosted a training session in Gaborone for coaches and young players.

Pon, who left the country yesterday, held a three-day session for coaches and players at Thornhill Primary School.

The session ended on Friday. She spent six weeks in the country and hosted other training sessions in Francistown.

The former Spanish number two, who has more than 20 years experience as a player and coach, drilled young players on different techniques.  “I have been teaching the children techniques such as footwork, strokes and grip, “ she said. The children were drawn from schools in and around Gaborone.

Pons who was once ranked number two in Spain after Arantxa Sanchez Vicario said she saw a lot of potential in the young players.

She noted they need more resources and exposure in order to realise their talent.

“If the players get more game time they will develop into good players.”

The Spaniard encouraged the Botswana Tennis Association to organise more competitions in order to give the players exposure.

She had a few coaching sessions with a number of coaches on management of tennis, development lessons and how to structure a class. The sessions were attended by players from different age groups ranging from eight to 18 years. Pons pledged to donate kits to underprivileged tennis players.

The Francistown Tennis School (FTS), whose director, Dominique Raguin organised Pon’s visit, said Pon’s visit motivated young players and it will leave a huge impact on them since she is a former world class player.

 “We want our coaches and players to get world class exposure that will motivate them to become world class material, “ he said.

Pon played professional tennis for 12 years and she is currently operating a tennis academy back in Spain.

She has participated in all Grand Slams such as the Wimbledon and French Open. She is a former national team junior coach in Spain.

FTS has been making concerted efforts to develop the standard of local tennis in the past two years.

Recently FTS invited Pro Tennis Registry (PTR), an American coaching certification agency to host a development clinic that was attended by stakeholders from different countries such as Lesotho, South Africa and Zambia.

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