When Your Coach Lives 8,500 Kilometers Away…
My first organized team was basketball at the YMCA when I was four years old. I have always known my family put a high value on my education, but I also know, even more important than that, was athletics. My grandfather exposed me to as much as he could… leading me to play basketball, soccer, volleyball, tennis, inline hockey, ice hockey, equitation, rugby and even MMA (and eventually also kiteboarding, snowboarding and crossfit). At our house, we had a tennis court, soccer area, basketball area, hockey area and a pool. I lived for sports.
Practice was meant to be given 110%. Games were never missed and, at the conclusion, I would always get a play-by-play of the mistakes I made. I can actually remember an instance after an ice hockey game in which I had scored all of the goals and my grandfather simply said ¨good game¨ and started into the areas I needed to improve. And coaches…
Well, coaches have always played an important role. Throughout my life, coaches have not been confined only to the instruction of whatever sport I was in. Through these men and women, I have learned the value of hard work, dedication and commitment, sportsmanship, patience, teamwork, leadership and what it means to truly give yourself to the game. I certainly can´t remember every coach I have ever had, but there are many that I will never forget.
I first met my most recent coach, Paul DeAngelis, at his Crossfit Endurance Trainer course in Peru. I was drawn to, not only his knowledge, but his passion. It was obvious he cared a lot about being a coach. I remember trying to spend as much time as possible in our downtime that weekend picking his brain. I wanted to learn as much as I could from someone who, almost immediately, inspired me. I left the course impressed and with the nagging thought that this was someone I needed to train with…
Within a month, I had begun training as one of Paul´s athletes.
I have been working with Coach Paul for five months now. It was certainly a transition for me as he lives in Canada and I am down in Chile. I had never worked with a coach remotely before. I had a lot of concerns about how I would do in this type of situation and if it would work, but overshadowing my concerns was the gut feeling that this was a person that I could really improve with.
As a crossfit athlete, Coach Paul has greatly improved my game. He has taken someone that was very concentrated on lifting and made me a much more well-rounded athlete. It is rare to pass more than a week or two without achieving a PR in one area or another. I´ve become stronger, more technically sound and improved my range of skills.
I went from having chronic aches, pains and injuries to being injury free. I actually train a bit less than I did before, but have seen drastic improvements…showing that quality really is better than quantity.
He has certainly made me a better athlete via great programming…but if I had only been looking for programming, I probably wouldn´t have made the commitment to work with him.
He has become a mentor to me, someone I look up to as the type of coach I want to become. Paul understands that an athlete is truly the sum of all their parts…and that includes life outside of the training. He is able to impart the sensation that you are important to him as a person, and I can´t say how important that is. As I mentioned above, I have learned my most important life lessons from coaches, and my experience with Paul has certainly followed that trend. Under his training, I have become a more confident athlete and coach and someone who knows their body better than ever before. I know more what it means to be patient and trust that, what I am doing, will pay off. I know that he expects the best effort I can give and, every day, I push myself to achieve that. If I had to summarize it, I have become a more mature athlete with him.
I can say 100% that my experience with Coach Paul has been fantastic and, my only real downside, is not having the opportunity to train with him in person.