People are always fascinated by global icons and celebrities from a very young age. They follow them and try to be like them when they grow up. This imagination eventually turns into a passion that guides and motivates them to achieve greater things in life. They have the vision to focus on and a goal to achieve. And because they have imagined that goal for a long time, they become more determined to achieve that goal.
Such passion and vision must be nurtured and polished at the right time to transform these budding talents into the next big thing. Coach Gabe Jaramillo has developed eleven of the world’s No.1-ranked players and 27 top 10 players, including Andre Agassi, Jim Courier, Pete Sampras, Maria Sharapova, Monica Seles Kei Nishikori, and many others. This 65-year-old experienced and wise individual has a different way of assessing potential in each person. Years of professional practice has sharpened his skill of training students to be a global superstar. The following is Gabe’s way of looking and assessing the potential and spark in his students.
What’s your Dream?
“Three simple words. It is how we welcome new students when they first arrive at the academy. The question is not what your goal is. There’s a notable difference. We want to know how big you think, what your wildest dreams are. Our ears prick up when players respond without hesitation, looking us squarely in the eye, “I am going to be Number One in the world.” Notice the key differentiator. They don’t answer by saying, I want to be, but I am going to be. The children who see themselves lifting the trophies of major championships have visualized it from a young age, and they can feel it to their core. Those children are different.“
According to Gabe, the children who have envisioned themselves as superstars for tomorrow act like ones from their early days. He says,
“Great dreamers do not wait until tomorrow. Despite being very young, they act like professionals. Their way of dressing, preparing, working is already impeccable. And that is what we expect from them. To reach the top of their sports careers, they have to start acting like professionals to feel it today. If they wait to be professional and to act as such, they will struggle to get there. Everyone at our academy works and treats them as elite athletes already, with curated language, attitude, and respect. I recommend that parents lead their children to think and act like professionals, in Everything they do, on and off the field, and that has to start now.“
Sharing his experience with the German professional Tommy Haas, Gabe states,
“The first time I saw Tommy Haas, aged 13, with his dominant presence and professional manner. Maria Sharapova, whose drive and appearance from a very young age, drew attention. Kei Nishikori, despite not speaking any English, knew how to say number one in the world. Their way of behaving, assuming responsibilities, and their deep commitment to training, elicited only admiration. All of them were still so young, but they had already felt it, and even more importantly, they had lived it. Their imagination was a thing of wonder. They did not doubt that they would achieve their dreams.“
“Ask any athlete what they imagine when they daydream. I can guarantee that they see winning, lifting trophies and medals, breaking world records, and doing the impossible for most. Advances in technology have made these dreams much more visible to so many. On small and large screens globally, we see athletes play them out in real-time, capturing millions’ imagination. Lionel Messi, Serena Williams, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, Simone Biles, LeBron James, Roger Federer, and many more male and female athletes have become household heroes. Their constant presence ignites the dreams of children across the globe. They start training with the Dream to follow in the footsteps of their heroes.“
For Gabe, imagination is a tool that allows people to think whatever they like. There are absolutely no restrictions, shame, hesitation, or boundaries when one is imaging. This power is so strong and pure that it can be changed into a vision if directed on the right path. He says,
Imagination is the ultimate creative power for young talent. Everything and all experiences in life have their starting point here. Children have an infinite level of imagery; they conjure up kaleidoscopic imaginary worlds, full of opportunity, adventure, and heroism.“
“Once young athletes discover their talent, especially in sport, they exhibit an unparalleled degree of imagination about every aspect, without boundaries. The sport becomes their life and reality. They dream of playing against their idols in great stadiums, being seen and admired by crowds of enraptured fans. That Dream is what keeps them training, day after day. A young athlete’s life is not easy; they study, train, eat, and repeat; they have to manage time very well. Their mood hinges on success in training, developmental-results, and competition. From the very start, they will have many highs and lows, which is why it is important to encourage them to channel and cultivate their dreams, making them grow at every moment.“
“For that Dream to become a reality in a young person’s life, it must first be a creation of their imagination. That ambition to be a Champion starts turning the wheels, giving them the desire to work hard and make it happen. Imagine ten years from winning the US Open, playing the Masters, performing at the Rockefeller Center, or going to MIT. If you think these are pipedreams, think again. It is how champions think, and they see themselves years performing at the highest level in the future. Holding on to that Dream is the ultimate motivator. It gives them the passion, courage, and discipline to work hard every day, with only one target in mind, to succeed.“
“Everything starts inside the mind, and in the imagination. The young person’s imagination is responsible for what they want, what they like, and why they are willing to fight. What goes in their mind today will affect their future. Parents and coaches must work diligently to keep the young athlete’s Dream alive. Help them Imagine, don’t take this part for granted.”