From left: Oliva Nova Head Coach Miguel Mateu with Lorna Nicoll, Anne Robertson, Ishbel MacFarlane and Dorothy Watson (from Thistle Padel Club in Edinburgh) and G4P National Development Manager James Rose.
LAST WEEK a four-strong group of female padel enthusiasts from Thistle Padel Club in Edinburgh enjoyed a sun-kissed sojourn at Game4Padel’s state-of-the-art, seven-court padel centre in Spain.
The trip was won after the group’s organiser, Dorothy Watson, entered a prize draw competition we ran at Westfield Padel festival last year. The prize package included a new racket for Dorothy and each of her three friends, plus a three-night stay at Oliva Nova Resort, including four coached sessions with our head coach there, Miguel Mateu, which has literally left Dorothy seeing stars – five to be precise!
Reflecting on all of this Dorothy said: “Really if I had to rate it, I would say 5-stars and I would love to go back. Entering a competition is not something I normally do, but I was very lucky and am really glad I did!
“The prize included four hours of coaching and initially it was going to be over two days but we booked some extra time at the hotel and so we had an hour each morning and then in the evening we got more court time and tried to practise what we had learned in the morning.
“We play every week in Edinburgh so I would say that we aren’t beginners. In our group of four we have a former tennis player and a former squash player so that all helped – I guess you’d call us intermediate. Really Miguel was an excellent coach and we have already booked our court back in Edinburgh for this Friday to try and put into practise what we have learned from him.”
With the World Cup-winning Spanish Women’s football team and cycling legend and two-time Tour de France winner Alberto Contador in residence there was a real buzz around Oliva Nova.
No surprise then that when it came to the resort itself – by the Mediterranean, between Valencia and Alicante – Dorothy was equally effusive: “It was fabulous, absolutely fabulous, with lovely rooms which enjoyed beautiful views out to the sea. There was also a gorgeous pool to swim in and just a short walk to the beach and the staff couldn’t have been more helpful. It was just perfect actually.
“We had our breakfast each day and there was a huge selection – we also ate there the first night and the food in the evening was lovely. The only thing I would suggest was a bit of additional shade around the court as being of a Scottish disposition that would have been welcome! As I said, if I had to give it a rating it would be 5-stars and the rest of our group would all love to go back.”
Going into a bit more depth on the coaching content delivered by Padelmba Certified Coach, Miguel, Dorothy explained: “Miguel was just a great coach. First of all, he assessed our level and asked us what we wanted to learn and gave us a lot of tips to improve our games. He explained things clearly and he was very open to us asking questions beyond that and we always understood what he was trying to achieve.
“A big thing for us was that we needed to learn positioning and also coming in to the net and I think that was the best thing that we learned in terms of after you have served and where you should be to defend and where you should be to attack. We started the first lesson with moving to the net, as we tended to hang back and that was a really good place to start.
“We also worked hard on getting the ball back more effectively off the walls, the right time to play a lob, and the Bandeja which was particularly good fun. So, if someone is lobbing you: Can you do a Bandeja or do you have to go back to the wall?
“Also, the correct way to serve – I don’t think any of us were serving properly. And also of course Miguel worked on return of serve so he covered an awful lot. That said one of our players, Ishbel MacFarlane, has a very strong serve and I find receiving her serve on the backhand very difficult but Miguel gave us clues, like face the server, being down low and the ready position and all these things helped in returning.”
Yet while knowledge is important it is not everything and for Dorothy and her friends Ishbel MacFarlane, Anne Robertson and Lorna Nicoll, there was plenty of laughter and enjoyment: “We also had lots of laughs and that is so important,” shared Dorothy.
The Thistle Padel Club member added: “Miguel has a lovely personality and we are all ladies of a certain age, with three of us retired, and we did wonder if he might have hoped to have had some players of a younger age but we had great fun with Miguel.
“Really the fact we are on court in Edinburgh later this week just underlines how much we enjoyed Miguel’s coaching and how he has made us even more enthusiastic about our padel.”
If you would like to book a padel break at Oliva Nova, click HERE.