My name is Gianluca, and I live in the North-East part of Italy, on the coast, of course.
My involvement in sport has been a long one. My grandfather was a competing cyclist, and he transmitted the joy of movement and training to me when I was just a child. Back then, I just enjoyed it without any real plan of what I wanted to achieve. It was just fun!
The “why” things happen and “how” do they work are my biggest interests.
When I was an athlete, in karate during my early days and then in kitesurfing, I was really curious about why I was improving and why I wasn’t.
Back then, I had coaches guiding me. I was really committed to my workout schedule as I realized how much it enhanced my ability and results.
Long story short: I decided to go deep on the reasons underneath the performance in sports.
I went through a Bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology, a Masters’s in Sports Science and another one in Food Science as well.
At that time, I also discovered a new upcoming sport: kiteboarding. I got really involved in it and I had the chance to train with some of the top-level athletes in the world, discussing our workouts and physical issues and finding solutions to these together.
I started to develop the use of a hydrofoil in kiteboarding at its early stage, back to 2007, when very few people around the world were doing that.
After attaining my degrees, I had the chance to join an Olympic team as an assistant. The athlete was one of the greatest kayak female athletes of all time. She was training for her 8th Olympic Games, London 2012.
That was amazing.
I had the chance to be part of the staff, and my understanding of sports science skyrocketed.
That time spent analyzing performance and technique furthered my understanding of the whole training methodology around paddling.
Since then, I started working as a physical trainer with athletes from many different sports.
At that point, I got my first SUP and started enjoying myself paddling our Italian coasts, and in 2010 I started working with SUP athletes.
At that stage, the equipment was quite different from what it is now, with big blades and wide boards. We were at the beginning of the sport. We started evaluating many factors with regards to performance, such as paddling length, athlete’s strength level, oxygen consumption and so on.
During that period I also started working at the Bologna University as Tutor of Theory and Methodology of Training and as a teacher of the School of Sport of the Regional Olympic Committee. Basically, since then I’ve been teaching trainers how to train their athletes.
I’ve met paddlers with lots of different training histories, and at different levels, each one with different requests and concerns. I’ve trained athletes competing in the Italian Championship, the EuroSup league, and the SUP World Tour as well.
I also undertake research on water sports. My colleagues and I have published a few research papers on Kiteboarding and I wrote a book about physical training in sailing.
One thing that has stood out to me over the years, is that I’ve seen so many athletes from many different sports with physical issues caused by improper exercises or training methods.
So often I see people focusing just on the latest exercise or the more demanding training program, rather than learning what they actually need in their particular situation and how to put those workouts into practice.
My lesson on “Physical Training in SUP and Surf” at the National Surf & Sup Instructor Course, School of Sport of the Italian Olympic Committee, Roma 2018.
Every single one of us has different bone/muscle/joint structures with different neuromuscular control. This is why the same exercise can bring completely different results to two different people.
Moreover, the same exercise can produce a different result if done in two different periods of on person’s training.
All this leads to just one very important concept: it’s not what you do, it’s how you do it!
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