Madison Wuu ‘24
It’s a sunny afternoon, and students are playing tennis after a long day of school. Laughter reverberates across the court, and students high-five one another with their racquets as they work on refining their shots.
“Way to go, Tologs,” one player exclaims, her face lighting up with a bright grin.
Before continuing to feed balls to his players, Coach Ron Zambrano takes a moment to give them some advice on how to improve their groundstrokes.
He also takes a moment to keep the Tologs focused.
“Hey, no talking while on the baseline! Do you want to run laps?” he yells.
Zambrano loves tennis and has been training players for 27 years. He has worked with a diverse range of people over the course of his coaching career, alternating between boys and girls. Zambrano began coaching girls at Sacred Heart this year in addition to his job at St. Francis, where he coaches in the spring.
Zambrano employs distinct training methods with girls and boys.
“It’s a lot easier to manage a group of girls than it is to handle a bunch of boys. Screaming can always be heard, but because I am a man, I can always say something a little harsher to the boys than the girls. Their work ethic is the same, but when it comes to coaching, I have to act differently. Boys need a little kick in the butt; girls need a pat on the back,” Zambrano said. “Girls are much more receptive to my coaching advice than boys. Boys attempt to ignore it — or the good players believe they know everything — but they do listen when the critical moment comes. Girls, however, listen all the time.”
Because of their cooperative attitude, Zambrano thinks the girls tennis team at FSH is more cohesive than the boys tennis team at St. Francis.
“The difference with the girls is that you have to get more involved because time has found out through the years that girls need to be happy to win and boys need to win to be happy,” Zambrano said.
Whether boys or girls, Zambrano believes that the key to success is hard work.
“Tennis is a selfish game because it’s you. The motivation has to come from within. Finding a good motivated coach helps, but you also need physical ability, a tremendous amount of dedication and a little mental toughness,” Zambrano said.