Acro Spotlight of the Month - Patricia Nobre
posted on 07/30/2020

Patricia is the head coach of the SoCal TTC Acrobatic Gymnastic Team.

How did you get started in Acrobatic Gymnastics?
I’m from a small town in Portugal. And back when I started my 5th grade, I decided to enroll in the Gymnastics club within the school. It wasn’t an actual gym, but a place where the kids could compete and represent their school nationally doing gymnastics. We competed in Acro and as well in Artistic and it was a lot of fun. I remember spending most of my time in the school gym with all my friends. Things where really different back then and it wasn’t high level at all. I fell in love with it, with the experiences and friendships made.

When did you start coaching?
I started coaching when I was 15. At the time I was already in a gym, but not to compete. Just because I loved it and I wanted to do Acro all the time. I was sure that my future would be in sports, so I was invited to do my first coaching course. After doing the first course I did an internship in my gym. After that I knew I would be a coach. At the time I was also doing my high school classes based on Sports science. Then I moved to Porto, Portugal to start my degree in Sports Science and started working in one of the best Acro gyms in Portugal, home of many world titles (Acro Clube da Maia, MIAC organizers). I started coaching there, again as part of a college internship, and after I was invited to have my own classes.

My passion for coaching never stopped growing. I was, and I still am, amazed by the process. I love the fact that we as coaches can impact and inspire young generations and provide such a great experience.

What brought you to the United States from Portugal? How did you get started coaching the in the U.S.?
In 2017 I moved to US because my husband got a job offer and at the time I was lost on the intense rhythm of work I had. I felt like I needed a break to dedicate more time to my personal life. However, it was one of the worst goodbyes I ever had. I felt like I abandoned all my athletes and everyone who helped me to grow on the sport. I coached until the night before I left, and I couldn’t stop crying. It was really intense and sad… but I knew I had to move on.

When I arrived to U.S., Lourenco Franca from Portugal had already put me in contact with Megan Giesbrecht, the head coach of the only Acro gym in San Diego. She was interested in interviewing me. I felt that were great news because I barely could speak English and if I could be in contact with Acro while learning English I wouldn’t feel as lost in the States as I thought I could be.

And it happened exactly like that, in a shorter time than I envisioned. It was a unique experience. The kids and the staff at the gym helped me a lot. Later that year Megan invited me to be the head coach of the Acro program that she created from zero, and it was an honor. I accepted the challenge right away and here we are.

How is training and coaching different in Portugal compared to the United States?
When I arrived, I felt a lot of differences and I had a hard time adapting my personality to the program. The program in my former gym was bigger, more mature and with extra focus on a strong and consistent foundation, working on the technical details with a lot of strictness. In the U.S., the program was small, the kids were young and less experienced, because the program hadn’t existed for long. The athletes were full of potential, but they wanted to do new and hard exercises without understanding that it takes a lot of practice to build the foundation. The foundation is the key!

We made some changes in practice and also invested in athlete mindset and team culture. I tried my best to make the transition smooth for all parties (athletes, families and my own expectations). It was a really successful season and I felt the team with a more professional attitude. After that year, everyone was ready for more. And that was really important for our team.

What is your most proud accomplishment in Acro?
As I said before I really like the training process so my proudest accomplishment in Acro happens every time I see excitement and joy from each of my athletes by achieving any goal that we set. I feel fulfilled. Competitions just allow us to show that to everyone else. If we talk about results in U.S., I can say that:
  • Having an 11-16 trio being named National team in 2018 and competing at MIAC (competition organized by my former gym), while that wasn’t the goal for their season, was a special and unique moment and gave the team the sense that with work ethic and a lot of work they can also aim for more.
  • Having a L8 trio be in the highest spot of the podium at 2019 Nationals was amazing.
What are your goals in Acro?
My goals would be to help all my athletes make their dreams come true and give them the tools to reach their full potential. Giving my best for my athletes is what I love, and what I want to keep on doing! It’s all about their experience. I want them to have as an awesome experience as I had.

I feel that I can have an impact on their lives and wish they remember the Acro lessons when they go through good or less good moments in their life. To help them to be a better person.

I live for this passion, and this is what gives me life!