During the Autumn half term, Year 10 and 11 tennis players and Year 11, 12 and 13 footballers were given the opportunity to travel to Vilamoura in Portugal for a four day sports tour. With temperatures reaching about 25⁰C, it was a perfect chance to make the most of the warm weather, whilst furthering our skills in an enjoyable and professional environment. Browns, the sports centre we stayed in, has hosted many professional teams in the past (including the England Rugby team!) so it was interesting to live a little bit like the professionals.

The tennis players had daily, morning coaching sessions at Vilamoura Tennis Centre, which were no doubt extremely different to what any of us had previously experienced. Our coach, Rogerio, stepped up the intensity as the days went by, with a regular emphasis on consistency and recovery. It was evident in the end that there had been an improvement in all of us, which showed just how brilliant and effective Rogerio’s coaching techniques were. This coaching was also balanced out with our own mini tournament with our team mates, and some gym work with a focus on speed, agility and quickness. However, the highlight for most of us was when the Swedish Davis Cup coach, who also happens to be one of the best in Portugal, was able to come down and give us a one hour coaching session. This was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that many tennis players our age would dream of!

The footballers had the excitement of matches versus Portuguese opposition in addition to their morning training. A jam-packed training schedule meant most of the matches had to be played under the floodlights at night, with the whole squad travelling to go and support the team. The A Team were unlucky to lose 1-0 to Porto Mare, but they then won 5-3 in a thrilling performance against Quartenese. The B Team recovered from a 4-1 defeat to return with a strong 3-1 down to clinch a 4-4 draw in the final tour game. There were a variety of different goalscorers but Cian McGuinn, Noah Riley and Adam Riley all managed to finish the tour with two goals each.

The trip was balanced out with a good amount of free time in the pool, along with an exhilarating go-karting experience. We had to complete a 90 minute race in teams of three with the extra challenge of making pit stops for driver changes! Overall the experience was phenomenal and thanks are owed to the coaches, opposition and most of all the Sport and PE Team for organising the visit and making it a memorable and fantastic tour.