Meet Jose Benjumea –
In 1972, at the age of nineteen, I stepped on the tennis court for the very first time. It was late Spring, I was a senior, and cap and gown ceremonies were four weeks away. Little did I know what tennis had in store for me….
Nearly two years later, I was a starter on the tennis team at Old Dominion University. Three years later, I found myself representing ODU in doubles in the round of sixteen at the NCAA Tennis Championships held in Colorado, and I was within one round of getting All-American honors. And after five years, and a diploma in hand, I completed my college tennis career with a winning record in both singles and doubles.
There was the lingering thought after graduation – how far could I go with my tennis?
Curious, I decided to test the competitive waters at the national and international level. The competition was intense; I competed with an incredible number of great players and some who were from countries I’ve never heard of. I was the small fish trying to swim with the sharks. I had realized my potential and I could lay to rest the thought, ‘how far can I go with my tennis?’ I knew. From a beginner to international competition in six years against opponents with vastly more experience than I had was for me an enormous privilege and the ultimate reward. But man, WHAT A RIDE!
I started teaching tennis the summer of 1974. I was a junior in college. I discovered that teaching was as much fun as playing. I took to teaching tennis as I did to playing. Once again, little did I know what tennis had in store for me.
Six years later in 1980, I landed the quintessential tennis position – Tennis Director/Head Tennis Professional at Owl Creek Tennis Center which at the time was recognized by Tennis Magazine as one of the top public facilities in the country.
This year marks the fourth decade that I have been teaching this lovely game!
HOW DID I DO IT?
It wasn’t talent – hardly. Instead, it was being swallowed by my passion, focused beyond all reason, and deep into something I cared about.
It was me, with the hard-core mindset, who showed up every day on the tennis court, racquet in hand, despite rain, snow, heat or darkness of spirit. I kept swinging, day after day. Many in my social circle concluded that I had lost my mind. In some ways, I had.
- From beginner to college player – over five thousand hours on the court learning the fundamentals
- From beginner to international competition – over ten thousand hours on the court
- From beginner to Tennis Director – thousands of hours observing, reading, teaching and learning how to do it a little bit better
I just put in the time.
Today, with all the resources that are available online – great instruction, videos, innovative teaching techniques, performance psychology, etc… I am certain I would not need to spend as many hours on the court to get the same results. I’ve learned how to streamline the process.
My journey as a player and as a teacher has put me in a privileged place where my mission is to share with you what I know about the game and the human spirit and to let you know how much fun it can be.
Teaching – IT’S STILL A PARTY TIME TO ME!
OFF THE COURT PASSIONS THAT SHAPE MY PHILOSOPHY OF TEACHING AND LEARNING
Meta Learning: Increasing players’ capacity to learn – a learning to learn culture
- Neuroscience: Its role in how we make decisions, be it in sports, business, finance… really in every facet of our lives
- Neuropsychology: and its use for self-improvement in sports, parenting, communication, investments, philosophy, relationships
- To seek different points of view
- Cross-cultural relativism: Its influence on our perceptions and how we see ourselves relative to the rest of the world
- Father of two fabulous children – Jose and Iliana
- Brother to seven siblings – two brothers are tennis teaching professionals and one sister is an avid tennis player
- Favorite part of tennis – the next point
- Favorite book(2): The Count of Monte Cristo and One Hundred Years of Solitude
- Favorite movie – Dr. Zhivago
- Favorite fruit – mango
- Favorite song – laughter
- Huge fan of – people, palm trees, poetry, food, music, and naps
A farmer had only one horse. One day his horse ran away. His neighbors said, “I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset!”
The farmer just said, ” We’ll see.”
A few days later, his horse came back with twenty-one wild horses following. The farmer and his son corralled all twenty-one horses. His neighbors said,”Congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”
The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”
One of the wild horses kicked the farmer’s only son, breaking both legs. His neighbors said,”I’m so sorry. This is such bad news. You must be so upset!”
The farmer just said,”we’ll see.”
The country went to war and every able-bodied young man was drafted to fight. The war was horrific and killed every young man, but the farmer’s son was spared since his broken legs prevented him from being drafted. His neighbors said,”congratulations! This is such good news. You must be so happy!”
The farmer just said, “We’ll see.”
MORE BIO INFO
Born – Bogota, Colombia, South America. Eight years old when I arrived in Miami, suitcase in hand, awe and wonder in all I beheld, and with only one word in my English inventory – what a delicious irony that it was, class!