Gio Colussi is the director at The Cricket Academy in Cape Town, South Africa and batting performance specialist, and his girlfriend, Ana Cococuhna is a Brazilian model and entrepreneur.
We caught up with both of them to talk about their 21-day ‘teaching a Brazilian model how to bat’ lockdown challenge.
Zushan Hashmi: I would have started off this interview by asking you what you’re up to during the lockdown, but we’re all aware of the cricket training. Tell me a bit about what you guys do away from the cricket training these days?
Gio Colussi: I am working on online training options and creating daily content, a bit of golf. Coco is learning French, baking, supplying clients with her healthy food products and maintaining her exercise routine
How did you come up with the idea to go through with this training Gio?
Gio: Coco made a joke when she saw my golf net and tried to hit a tennis ball into it like I had done earlier in the day. She joked I should coach her cricket, I thought it was a great idea to show her how simple batting can be with my simple batting process.
And Coco, considering you were never interested in the sport, why did you agree?
To help Gio prove how Simple his process is!
What does the training involve?
Basically, developing a natural bat flow and unweighting the bat.
How has the experience been for you, Coco?
Coco: It was very nice learning a new skill and it was very different from what I had in mind. I kept thinking about baseball. It was not as hard as I thought it would be because Gio made it so easy.
What has been the biggest challenge over the course of this process for both of you?
Coco: Learning to drive was challenging.
Gio: For me, it was coming up with creative ways to coach on a hill!
Have you both learned something about each other that you may not have known previously through this experience?
Coco: He’s a very good coach!
Gio: I knew she’s competitive but when someone commented that she wouldn’t be able to learn to bat, she really focussed on proving them wrong.
Would you have ever agreed to do this outside of a lockdown, Coco?
Coco: No! It was never an interest of mine and after all, all this started from a joke I made!
Moving away from the series of videos and training, tell me a bit about your coaching career, Gio?
I got involved in coaching straight out of school, the opportunity came to start an Academy and I grabbed it. I haven’t looked back since.
I’d say the biggest change came when I started incorporating performance coaching tools with my technical experience in 2009. So I’m not a batting coach, rather I’m a Batting Performance Specialist. I combine how you think with how you train.
Who are some of the cricketers you have worked with?
Billy Godleman, Tom Westley, Dan Lawrence, Michael Richardson, Ruaihdri Smith, Ben Curran, Michael Pepper, Neil Brand. Jono Bird is my longest client, we’ve worked together since he was 6. I’ve been working with Shan Masood since January, as well.
Who are some of your all-time favorite players?
I loved watching Rahul Dravid bat. I really enjoyed Ricky Ponting too.
Tell me a little bit about being a Brazilian in South Africa, what has that experience been like Coco?
I love it here, it’s a beautiful country!
You are a model and a business owner, tell us a bit more about your journey, Coco?
I studied journalism and always did a bit of modelling. When I moved to South Africa I started to focus on it full time along with my food business.
I’m assuming cricket never even came under your radar prior to meeting Gio, which sport do you enjoy Coco?
Do you think this experience calls for a Brazilian women’s cricket team in the future?
Coco: I heard there is one and they were all contracted before the men! The captain supported me on Twitter too!
With you as their national coach, Gio?
Negative, my focus is on helping batsmen improve their performance. Pro tennis players and golfers have coaches, pro batsmen should too.