interview to Michaela Kopcilova
You are an expert in sports. You are a yoga teacher, massage therapist, personal trainer, snowboarder, surfer, skater, wakeboarder. Master in Sport Science. Studied in Germany, Czech Republic, Spain,… Am I forgetting something?
I did 1 year of my master studies in Australia – Exercise Science at griffith University
That was study abroad program with my home university in Czech Republic – did my master thesis about surfing in Australia – then I went back to Czech Republic to finish my degree for a year and two weeks ago I came back to Australia
It’s a pleasure to have your time Michaela
my pleasure !
Something that I felt funny is to see that your username is Miguelito
Why is that?
that’s a long story. Few years ago I was working at one surfcamp in Spain – we had a schedule with our names on that and somebody forgot to write “A” at the end of my name – so just “Michael” and one friend from the team used to call me “Majkl” (male name) and he used to drink beer Miguel – so started to call me Miguel and then Miguelito
I don’t know, not too interesting but I changed the name because when I came home, I missed the times, so it reminds me of that…it’s a long time so I was thinking to put my normal name but I think on facebook it is better to have fake one
How did you start into sports? Specially into boardsports?
So my dad was really into sports so he taught us everything -skiing when I was 3, climbing, mountain biking, swimming – as he was also triathlete and lifeguard – we did a lot of outdoor sports…one day he bought us a snowboard – that was that old school one – with ski shoes, just for downhill
He bought one for himself as well so that he could learn it first and then taught me and my brother – my brother didn’t really like it but i did.
So snowboarding was beginning of my journey for me – when I bought myself freestyle snowboard and the winter was over, I was like “What am I gonna do now”? Long time to next winter so I saved money to buy skateboard…so for me, to get into boardsports was kinda complicated – I didn’t have a bunch of friends around me doing the same thing, so I had to find my way, but that’s probably why I love it so much because it was not that easy…I used to go by bus to mountains – 3 hours there and 3 hours back, learning to ride in a park, just by myself, making friends in the park
Oh, what a great Dad!
and I remember the day when I wanted to start with freestyle snowboarding – he brought home snowboard movies from Rossignol and I used to watch it again and again and wanted to be like the guys in there …I was saving money like crazy and bought myself freestyle snowboard
my dad hated it – he thought we are just sitting in the snowpark, getting drunk and smoking weed
yeah, now when I look back, I am really happy that he spent so much time and energy on us, wanting to teach us everything
but at that time we were just angry that we always have to go somewhere and cannot spend time with our friends
Your brother is also into sports?
yes but he does not do boardsports
actually once he tried wakeboarding with us
but he does a lot of outdoor sports – cross country skiing, not splitboarding but that one with the skis, I forgot the name
basically he loves mountains
How is it to be so far away from home? Is Australia maybe the farthest place from Czech Republic?
Yeah it is pretty far I really miss my family, my country and friends. I think Czech Republic is an amazing place to live. It just does not work for me because there are no waves, no place to surf. Surfing is really important in my life. When I was in the Czech Republic after I returned from Australia, it was really hard in the beginning because I used to surf every morning, so I used to wake up in the morning, thinking which spot am I gonna surf but then I realized I am home and there is no waves, it was a really hard time for me. But I just tried to make the best of being in the Czech Republic and kept myself busy to not have time to think about that. And it was great in the end, I learnt a lot but everything I did felt a bit like to somehow spend time until I am back in the ocean
I pretty much miss everything a lot but that’s the cost of it. I am really happy because I do what fulfills me – I mean surfing is great but that’s not the only thing. I really enjoy my job here – doing surf specific trainings and learn from my clients, progressing in that. And it actually motivates me to improve in surfing because then I can understand more to athletes’ needs
How did all start into going to Australia? Was this related to snowboard or already with surfing?
that was already related to surfing. Well, um, I used to hate summer when I was snowboarding. So in summer I spend all my savings on going to glacier and snowboarding there…If you asked me if I wanna go for holiday to sea I would laugh at you and say “NEVER” …but then I started to wakeboard and wakeskate – realized that summer is not that bad at all and then I tried surfing
My friends told me actually a long before I started surfing to go to the surfcamp with them. But going to surfcamp for holiday was so expensive. I told myself I am not gonna spend all my savings for one week of “surfing” – in one week you learn nothing – even worse – you start to like it and then you have to go home
And be earning money all year to go next year for one week to the ocean
so I did it my way
went to work for two months to the ocean. But that was France
Like on a hostel or so?
Surfcamp. Working for free
just to stay there
but at that time I was actually really into wakeboarding. I thought wakeboarding is what I wanna do for the rest of my life…until I tried surfing
So you went to Australia already related into surf training? How is it to be at this big country? Was it difficult to adapt?
I went to Australia with that idea that I really want to know more about surf specific training and want to be the surf fitness coach one day. Well, is not that easy as becoming e.g. football coach – there is no material about that – well it is getting better now but there are still no books about related to training out of the water to become a better surfer – you need to find the mentor
Yes it was difficult to adapt and still IS It feels like I am beginning again second start -easier in something but still hard…everything is just different compared to Europe
Any tips to people that want to go to work there? We’ve got some tips from other coach from Italy that was working in Australia as a snowboard coach in Perisher… His interview is also on Stoked Nomads
It depends what job they want to do. Personally becoming surf specific coach was my dream and it was not easy and still is not easy. I was thinking that I am not good enough to do that, that I had not enough knowledge and experience, that I fail or I will be embarrassed…what helped me was trying to put all these thoughts away and working hard to get there. Of course it is frustrating many times. The main thing is the motivation. Noone is successful all the time. The most important thing is to be persistent and not to get discouraged by unsuccess
When you fail or do mistakes, it is important to find your lesson in that – use it to progress
I don’t know, that’s not really tips – just my experience
what worked for me – believe in it and this is going to happen. I Know it is cliche but it’s how it is
How is a normal day in your life?
Depends, every day is different but same sometimes is magic, sometime is tragic. Get up go for a surf – having morning class, skate or surf afterwards, afternoon classes, skate and that is pretty much it …but if someone thinks it’s easy livin, of course it is beautiful but I am also trying to find more jobs to be able to sustain myself.
Are you not into some projects right now?
there is always ups and downs in the training – sometimes we have lots of clients and sometimes we have to cancel classes – so you have no security
Could you explain a little bit about the classes? What is the idea behind? What people are asking for and so on?
so we have many projects with SALT (Sea and Land Training) – e-book, youtube channel, app, retreats, starting yoga for surfers, seminars, soo many ideas
the best is when you have a look here: http://saltpt.com.au/
Salt is an entirely new training method designed specifically for all types of surfers and boardriders who want to improve their performance. We train in a way you never have before – assisting you to reach your mental and physical potential. Every exercise works on multiple parts of the body, combi…
it is nicely written there
the best of course would be to try it
but it is really complex training – we do not want that people just do some strengthening training. we want to teach them how to actually move and to carry it over into their surfing
depends on their needs – every training is different – sometimes we work more on strength, sometimes mobility, coordination, endurance, we use animalistic movements a lot
we are inspired by animal movements and transferring them into surf movements
Oh that sounds interesting!
it is really exciting the main thing is to be open minded and creative
motivated to learn new stuff and think of something new
It has to be also very entertaining having you as a teacher
Ok, I think we have come to and end of the interview. But before finnishing it would be great if you want to share to the readers future projects, promote something cool, some other links, like where to find you,… It will be also a link to your profile in Stoked Nomads.
Well I have many ideas on future projects I would like to do my PhD. As I am interested in surfing and the neuroscience of movement, I would like to join these two together, that would be really exciting. Anyways, they can find me on facebook or instagram @kopchillito and DEFINITELY check out @saltperformancetraining and @saltperformance.michaela
just reach out and ask anything. I’ll be more than happy to help
It was a pleasure Michaela