xi's moments
Home | Books

Serving useful advice to those hoping to impress at court

By Xu Haoyu | China Daily | Updated: 2024-04-13 11:26

Cover of the Chinese version of tennis coach Gabe Jaramillo's book, How to Make Champions. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Andre Agassi, Maria Sharapova, Jim Courier and a number of other top tennis players all share one thing in common — Gabe Jaramillo, a Colombian American coach with more than 40 years of experience.

China's National Tennis Center's Diamond Court in Beijing, which has witnessed many glorious moments provided by stars of the sport, recently hosted the launch of the Chinese version of Jaramillo's book, How to Make Champions, which was published by the CITIC Press Group, on March 24.

Jaramillo has coached 11 world champions and 27 Top 10 tennis players. His talent is manifested not only in their achievements, but also in his deep understanding of their psychology and techniques, as well as in his training methods.

In his speech, Jaramillo asked, "What makes a champion a champion?" His answer was that a true champion has a relentless spirit, as well as the integrity and courage to face challenges head-on.

He also speaks about the importance of balancing technical training with mental preparation. Remaining calm under pressure and finding growth opportunities in failure are essential qualities for every tennis enthusiast.

Jaramillo (second from left) talks with tennis players and the audience after the book launch at the National Tennis Center in Beijing on March 24. [Photo provided to China Daily]

In 2003, Jaramillo was invited by the Japan Tennis Association to select one 12-year-old tennis player to take back to the United States for training. His choice was Kei Nishikori, the least favored of the three candidates presented. According to Jaramillo, Nishikori brought one attribute to court that was the hallmark of a champion. While other players played conservatively under pressure, resorting to safe shots and high returns, Jaramillo says that Nishikori demonstrated bravery and resilience, and showed no fear despite the intensity of the competition, a quality that he viewed as the mark of a true athlete with potential.

After arriving in the US, Nishikori wrote "No 1 in the world" on his bathroom mirror. When Jaramillo asked the boy why, Nishikori responded that he'd done so to remind himself every morning while he brushed his teeth that he had made a "big sacrifice" to live alone away from home and family, and that he should do everything to reach his goal that day. "This is how a champion thinks," Jaramillo says.

The essence of sports is not just about winning, but about relentless effort and the accumulation of experience, he says, adding that becoming a champion is a continuous process of accumulation and growth, not only about reaching a peak moment.

"Talent lays the groundwork for success, but appropriate training and timing are even more crucial. Even the most gifted person needs to work hard to awaken that talent," Jaramillo says.

Two friendly matches were held as part of the book launch, a first-to-4-points game between four children of age 12 and under, and a first-to-7-points game between two adults.

Signing his autograph on a racket of a tennis enthusiast. [Photo provided to China Daily]

As Jaramillo outlines in his book, understanding and practicing the various conditions needed to achieve goals lies at the core of all sports training, from the microanalysis of movements to the macro strategy of the game.

In the post-match discussion, a young player highlighted his focus on refining the details of his swing, such as the angle of the racket and follow-through after hitting the ball. "By repeating and making slight adjustments, I found myself able to apply these techniques more naturally in matches," the boy said. Jaramillo agreed, adding: "Just as building a tower requires careful planning and step-by-step execution, shaping a champion requires strategy and patience. Every training session, every match, is a step toward the ultimate goal."

The young tennis enthusiasts at the event came away enriched by the experience. During the final autograph session, they asked Jaramillo to sign their books, backpacks, tennis rackets, and even their dads' phone cases, buzzing with excitement.

Yang Jiru, 10 years old, said that she had been exposed to sports like swimming, tennis, soccer, boxing and figure skating since she was 5 and had chosen to focus on tennis. She said that Jaramillo's words were inspiring, and encouraged her to believe in herself, dream big and play with a burning desire to win.

Yang Shangxi, 12, who started playing tennis two years ago, said that techniques like drop shots first sparked his interest in the sport, but that initially he was unable to keep up physically, and had often returned home crying in frustration. Luckily, he pushed through the hard times by listening to stories his mother told him about world-famous players.

Jaramillo offered a final piece of advice to the hopefuls attending the event. "Make sure to find the one sport that you truly love, and give your utmost effort to it".

Global Edition
Copyright 1995 - . All rights reserved. The content (including but not limited to text, photo, multimedia information, etc) published in this site belongs to China Daily Information Co (CDIC). Without written authorization from CDIC, such content shall not be republished or used in any form. Note: Browsers with 1024*768 or higher resolution are suggested for this site.
License for publishing multimedia online 0108263

Registration Number: 130349