The Value of International Coaching Experience

Our Wodify Guest Blog Series is part of our growing initiative to open our doors to the fitness community around the world, so they may share their experience, news, and advice.

As a multi-sport athlete, CrossFit coach, and personal trainer, I’ve travelled from Brazil to Hong Kong and everywhere in between, and met some amazing people. I’ve also had the benefit of learning all about different cultures and their training styles. Sharing knowledge whenever I move to a new country has helped me become a better coach. Whether it’s a CrossFit class or a personal training session, there are three main things to keep in mind if you want to grow as a coach, especially because every client is different: Experience, Adaptability, and Confidence.

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1. Experience

When you’ve travelled and lived in as many different places as I have, you get a much better sense of how athletes train, what motivates them, and how you can help them improve. The one thing I can say is, on every continent I’ve lived on, I’ve taken the knowledge I’ve gained and passed it along to athletes at the next stop.

For example, I started teaching yoga in Australia, after spent time in Mysore, India (a Mecca for yoga practitioners). When I moved to New Caledonia (a small French territory in the South Pacific where my wife is from), I noticed that paddle boarding was a popular sport, so I started a class that combined the two. My yoga classes were held on the water, on top of paddle boards, and my students’ balance improved dramatically. It was a unique type of class that had never been seen in New Caledonia, but now, 10 years later, is super popular around the world. I tell other coaches all the time: Even though you’re the teacher, don’t be afraid to learn. It will help you expand your horizons and give people a more exciting experience that they can’t get from another gym or another coach.

2. Adaptability

Believe me when I tell you the cultures and training styles in Brazil are much, much different than they are in Qatar. Or Hong Kong. Or India. Everywhere I’ve lived, I’ve had to learn and adapt my training and teaching methods to connect with athletes. When I moved from Australia to New Caledonia, I didn’t speak French. This meant I had to revise all of the verbal cues I’d relied on for years and turn them into physical and touch cues. What I thought would be an obstacle turned out to be an advantage because I was able to build a different skill. Now I feel comfortable coaching athletes from anywhere in the world. Keeping an open mind helped me quickly solve problems and still gave my athletes a positive training experience.

3. Confidence

You’re the coach for a reason. The class is looking to you to help them get stronger, recover faster, and become more mobile. In any situation - whether it’s as a competitive athlete, a casual CrossFit athlete, or an injured athlete - they’re looking for help. You have to take the knowledge and experience you’ve gained and pass that on with authority. It’s funny because so much of what I do is actually mental versus physical. I help athletes overcome mental blocks first so that they can then overcome physical struggles. Every class or personal training client has to feel confident that you’re going to make them better. If they don’t believe it in their mind, they’re never going to believe it in their body. From the second you walk into the gym, you need to show confidence, (not arrogance!), and a belief that you know what you’re doing.

Follow me on Instagram: @cassio_oliveiracf

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