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Christian Vassallo

Performance Coach
MSc Strength and Conditioning (St Mary's University), BSc Sport and Exercise Science (Loughborough University)

My journey started on the Mediterranean island of Malta. Pursuit of a career in professional football created an opportunity for me to migrate to the UK at the age of 17. The subsequent few years led me on a journey of exploration that involved gradually letting go of a fragile identity rooted in perceptions of what was expected of me (i.e. to become a professional footballer) in exchange for one that was in tune with my core. My greatest joy was derived from learning (initially all things training related), applying learning into practice, and sharing newfound knowledge with others. This led me to realise coaching was the platform through which I could express all three of these things. Accepting this shift in identity was an internal milestone that provided me with purpose and direction. There had been a stigma created in the environment I was in where pursuing higher education signified a lack of ambition or acceptance of not being good enough to “make it”. Nonetheless, this spurred me on all the more whereby I followed a non-traditional route to university through much independent study between training and a part-time job. I completed my undergraduate studies at Loughborough University followed by postgraduate studies at St Mary’s University. During this time, I dedicated the majority of my time towards developing my ‘trade’ in strength and conditioning (S&C). This started with working in team sport: first, the men’s and women’s pathways at the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), followed by academy S&C coach at Arsenal Football Club, altogether spanning a period of six years.

Prior to my role as Performance Coach at Hintsa, I set it upon myself to diversify and broaden my skill-sets working on a more individual basis with athletes in athletics (400m hurdles, Marathon running) and hockey. My most recent role with Hintsa has led me to provide specialist high performance coaching for motorsport drivers competing in the inaugural W-Series, the first all-female single-seater driver racing series. As a coach, I am passionate about influencing positive and sustainable behavioural change and in turn, evoking one’s highest performance potential founded upon the pillars of wellbeing. I endeavour to coach each person as a unique and valued individual. In doing so, I aim to exemplify role model behaviour. I consider commitment, diligence and humility to be the key tenets underpinning learning and personal growth. Outside work, I energise myself through different forms of physical activity (weightlifting, gymnastics and running) as well as going for walks in nature for mental regeneration and deep thinking time. In my spare time I like to immerse myself in studying Theology with the purpose of pursuing spiritual growth. Above all, I consider it a true privilege to be able to represent Hintsa Performance for the values it embodies that originate from its core roots, and for the unparalleled level of service offered to its clients and key stakeholders.