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PUNE, MAHARASHTRA, INDIA – CoolCoach is a social enterprise with a mission to make nations fit by educating and instilling healthy habits while providing fitness-related career opportunities.  Vishnu Chandrabhanu, the organization’s Program Lead, reached out to The Art of Learning Project with an interest in incorporating the learning principles into both their work with the young adults in the CoolCoach fellows program and with the children in the fitness education programs.  

Many of the CoolCoach fellows experienced struggle in traditional academic programs and, as a result, often feel discouraged and unmotivated when it comes to learning new skills.  In the first 24 days of the CoolCoach training program, the young adult fitness program fellows meet daily with the CoolCoach staff to learn how to become a lifelong learner, how to build professional skills such as communication and interview strategies, how to sculpt their own physiques, stay fit, and master performing a variety of exercises, and how to coach others to perform different movements and stay fit.

During this initial training period, Chandrabhanu will introduce the CoolCoach fellows to Resilience concepts such as Investing in Loss, Valuing Process Before Results, Beginner’s Mind, and Using Adversity. They will play games together in which they learn to reflect on their mistakes and make plans for how to modify their approach to address those mistakes.  Instead of using the traditional method to grade assessments, Chandrabhanu and his staff will have the CoolCoach fellows identify what they think went well and where they feel they struggled.  They will then work together to make a plan for how to address the points of struggle.

“As someone who has been a regular student, footballer, teacher and now a Program Lead,” Chandrabhanu explained, “I could connect with Josh’s reflection on how having a learning mindset even through failure is a core factor to improve drastically. I am a big believer in learning through failure thus was able to connect a lot with the chapter on Investment in Loss”

At the end of the initial training period, the CoolCoach fellows are placed in schools where they will begin working with children.  They continue to attend weekend trainings with the CoolCoach program for the remainder of the academic year, after which they often acquire long term jobs in the fitness industry.  During this second training period, Chandrabhanu and his staff will introduce the fellows to Peak Performance concepts.  They will practice and then teach visualization and breath work to develop an understanding of the Power of Presence, and will incorporate Finding Flow through a range of physically challenging activities that allow students to choose their optimal challenge level.

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