How’d be to coach one of your white belts in the World Championships?
Carla Bacco is a taekwondo coach from Canada.
I really enjoy interviewing her because she’s had an amazing taekwondo journey.
Carla combines teaching regular taekwondo classes with high level coaching in sport taekwondo.
She has coached in World Championships, World Youth Championships, Pan Am Games and other international competitions.
Being a white belt competing as a green belt.
She started to learn taekwondo with Master Jorge Arenas
When Carla went to her first competition his instructor registered her as a green belt although she was just a white belt.
I think probably that was more common in the past but still happens a lot specially with talented athletes, which of course was Carla’s case.
Still, it must be an astonishing experience as a child.
Can you imagine? You know that earning a belt requires a lot of effort and progression and suddenly you have to compete with others with a superior belt.
But Carla was a natural born sparring lover. She said that for her to sparr was like a game.That’s common in successful sparring athletes. They enjoy the activity that much that they do it just for fun.
That passion for the sport took her soon to the Peruvian National Team.
In 1996 she went to a Senior Panam Championships in Cuba. That was her first international competition… when she was only 13 year old!
Of course, her mom was very hesitant in letting her compete at that age. She was the only daughter so she was very nervous.
Send your little girl to another country in a team where they are also older male competitors of course it mustn’t be easy.
Carla highlights that the important thing was that her mother trusted in the process, let her go and allow her daughter to grow.
What to do when the place where you want to train is too far?
Another interesting point of Carla’s journey is that she had to move from Peru to Canada when she was 16.
She went from living and training in Lima, the capital city of Peru to live in Hamilton, a small town in Canada, a completely different country.
One of her first priorities was finding a dojang. One of the best places to train was in Toronto, that was one hour and fifteen minutes from Hamilton driving.
But by that time Carla couldn’t drive. So she started taking the public transport service and the trip was 2 hours and a half each way.
That’s really taekwondo passion.
She made it for three months but was at a certain point untenable so she started to train in a school at Hamilton.
Carla showed us a very important thing.
You have to do the best with what you have
Sometimes the best places to train are not as near to us as we wish. We never have perfect conditions.
So, we have to do the best with the situation we have, and analyze if it’s worth spending 2,3,4 or more hours in transport.
Why not better dedicate those hours to train? Maybe you won’t get training of that super high quality but you will have more time to train.
I guess now with the world after COVID options to train remotely will spread. Well, they are actually doing it.
On coaching and competing at the same time.
When she started to teach taekwondo and brought her athletes to competitions she usually mixed competing with coaching.
She loved to still feel the adrenaline of competing but she realized that if she wanted to excel at taekwondo coaching she had to focus on her athletes.
The decision was worth it. She’s experienced the privilege of being part of Canada’s National Team coaching staff. She’s also coached at Junior and Senior World Championships.
During the interview we also talked about the differences between what you need to be a good athlete and what you need to be a good coach.
For example, when you are an athlete you have to focus mainly on yourself. I mean, other people is important buy your main concern is you.
When you are a coach it is very important to improve your skills, but is more important the way you help others.
Also as a coach is very important learning to disconnect. Carla told us that lately she’s been using puzzles as the one below to relax.
One of the things that she loves about coaching is being able to help people that are passionate for taekwondo.
Teaching a student from white belt to World Championships.
One of her students qualified for Puebla 2013 World Championships. Taking a student from white belt to World Championships must be an amazing experience.
And her athlete advanced three fights. He was really near to the medal. I thinkg it must be a beautiful experience as Carla told us.
To start your taekwondo journey with a little kid and help him or her to aim bigger goals.
The way taekwondo works now there are certain countries that allow that to happen.
For example, the Russian Federation promotes that the instructors who take an athlete to the national team, later they are allowed to take their athletes to international competitions.
It is a model that can be very motivating for coaches
What do you think of it?
You can tell us on the comments section. I put the links to the interview below.