Review of Academia de Tenis de Mesa de Setúbal, Portugal

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Review of Academia de Tenis de Mesa de Setúbal, Portugal

The academy is situated in Setúbal, a small port in Southern Portugal. Until four years ago, it was just the local table tennis club and now Domingos and his son David, have expanded the operation into a full-time academy.
I flew from Gatwick to Lisbon. It's a two hour flight although I'd suggest flying with TAP rather than Monarch unless you have removable legs!
David picked me up at the airport and then it's a very pleasant half an hour drive to the small city of Setúbal over the 'April 25th bridge' and most of the journey is on the bridge as it's the longest in Europe.
After arriving, David took me around some of the sites of Setúbal. It's not a tourist area so just about everyone you see wandering around the city is a local. Therefore although most people here can speak some English, I'd suggest learning at least some words before you come out here. Although it's a small working port, there are several lovely small very quiet beaches.
Portuguese appears to be a strange language as its words seem to have a Spanish basis as I could understand some things through my basic knowledge of Spanish. However, the accent almost sounds Russian!
The quality of coaching is superb. Domingos has been one of Marcos Freitas coaches when Marcos was young. Both David & Domingos level & quality of instruction is excellent and it's clearly not just a way of making a living. They clearly have a very great love of coaching and of the sport.
The academy utilises space under the Vitória Futebol Clube Estádio do Bonfim stadium. It's a great location when you go out sightseeing as its located right in the small city centre and there are obviously constant road signs back to it.
As you walk into the academy, there's a large reception area with a table tennis shop. Off the reception area us the 'dormitoro' which houses 10 bunk beds where you can stay to be totally immersed in table tennis! To the left of reception is the training hall with four tables, TT Matic robot permanently set-up and every other piece of training equipment you can think of. There's also a small fitness area with the usual gyn equipment including vibration plate.
The other side of reception leads down to the playing hall, showers, and briefing room / dining room.
The playing area has five tables permanently set-up. Both the playing hall and practice hall have new Stag table tennis flooring. This is just like Gerflor but Stag is manufactured in India. It's a joy to play on believe me!
As I was on my own, I elected to stay in the centre. I've no need for an expensive hotel when traveling alone and it also more importantly means that all facilities are available 24/7. I was provided dailywith three traditional Portuguese meals made by a friend of the family.
Unlike most camps, the academy operates year round. So you can decide when you want to come and the length of your stay.
As well as an academy, it still operates as a club too so there's always someone with whom you can practice.
If your fitness isn't great, I'd suggest improving this before you cone out. This is just so that you can enjoy it to the highest extent especially if the weather is hot. It was up to 38 degrees during my stay which somewhat saps your energy.
Overall, I can't recommend it highly enough. As I'm writing this, I'm trying to think of some negatives.....but I can't think of any! (and I'm not being paid to write this)
I shall be back later in the year!
Andy (contact me if you want anymore info)