The midfielder is confident the Potters will improve under their new manager - who succeeded Tony Pulis - with his new methods on show in Saturday's narrow 1-0 loss to Liverpool
Hughes took over at the Britannia Stadium in May after Tony Pulis left by mutual consent, and Etherington believes a change in approach is already clear to see under the new boss.
The winger praised the way Hughes has stamped his mark on the squad and said their performance at Liverpool on the first day of the Premier League season shows progress has been made, even though they lost 1-0.
"I can't speak highly enough of the training we've had since we came in for pre-season," Etherington stated.
"It's been top notch, real top-class training. I think the longer we go on doing what the manager wants and him drumming it into our heads and implementing it every day in training, we will get better.
"We passed the ball well at Anfield, but at times we could have used it better.
"If you're a Stoke City fan you can definitely see improvement in the team in an offensive sense and the fact we want to get the ball down.
"I can only see good things for us this year, definitely."
Crystal Palace will be the first side to visit the Britannia Stadium this season on Saturday, and Etherington knows the importance of picking up three points against the Premier League new boys.
"It's a big game against Palace," he added. "It's imperative we pick up early points.
"If we play like we did at Liverpool in certain areas of the game, and even improve, then I'm sure we will."