Running with Leonid Rayski: “It makes me feel free”
Read an inspiring story about our running coach Leonid Rayski and believe that you are capable of anything. You can build a sports coaching career anywhere, even if the world around you is falling apart.
Sport can give
you more than a fit body. It can provide release, purpose and freedom. Sport
opens a new world of possibilities and experiences unachievable to many people.
The only thing that keeps you in place is your wish to try. Sport can distract
you from other problems in your life or help you keep moving forward no matter
especially true for Leonid Rayski, an experienced coach and athlete from
Ukraine. Due to the war in Ukraine, he was forced to leave his country and move
abroad. But his determination and passion for sport never changed, and he is as
determined as ever to help people become better every day.
A sport of freedom
Leonid or Leo got into sports in early childhood. He started with
basketball and then was introduced to running. At first, he ran short distances
and soon was ready to participate in many competitions across Europe. When
asked why he chose running, he said: "It gives me a feeling of
freedom." Now he has won 2 championships in Ukraine (800 m, 4x800
relay) and came 2nd in Tel Aviv Marathon 2018.
Coaching experienceLeo has been a coach for 8 years. At first, he says, it was more like a hobby than a job. He helped his friends and co-students train as he trained and built his training sessions more on intuition and repetition rather than on knowledge. But experience and change are parts of growth, so after university and thorough personal studies, he gained the necessary expertise to start coaching professionally.
"It is important to me that my work brings
benefit and joy to people. I like helping others become better and see their
Building a coaching business
Leonid is known as a founder and coach for the LeTeam Running Club and director
of the mini football league, which is based in his city and is one of the
largest amateur leagues in Europe. Leo plans to continue developing his
sporting business in Ukraine and bring it to another level. He is dreaming
about a network of running and fitness clubs across Ukraine and beyond its
borders. A bold dream and an ambitious one. "It is not going to be
easy," he admits, "but since when has it ever
that to build a strong community you need a good team. And we at Sport Session
couldn't agree more. That's why we care about every coach who joins our
sporting club. You are our team, and our success depends on every single member
of our group.
What about training sessions?
As a coach, Leo
believes that there are no universal training methods. This is one of the
reasons he stopped doing group training. Every body and every person is
different, so applying the same method to everyone is not only unprofessional,
it is simply impossible. Unfortunately, this practice is used in many fitness
clubs and centres: "Do these 5 exercises – and you will be good". The
novice trainers use the "intuition and repetition" practice too. But
training for the sake of training will not give you results.
Moreover, it can
even be dangerous so Leo prefers individual sessions. He always follows his
first rule of a personal trainer: "Do no harm". Because people come
to a coach to become fitter, healthier and more durable. And the last thing
they want is to get injured while being forced to train in a way that doesn't
Why do people choose running?
People have different reasons to try running. For some, running is just
another way to do fitness. Understandable since fitness exercises are an
essential part of running training. Leo includes them in every training program
he creates. For others, it is a way to reduce stress after work. Many people
want to try running small distances for charity or local competitions. And then
there is a group of people who train for triathlons, half marathons and real
marathons. Leonid works with all kinds of clients. But regardless of what
brought them to him, he does his best to ensure they fulfil their dreams.
What does it mean to be a professional?
When it comes to
training, Leo cites the quote: "Be a professional. Not an amateur
who waits for inspiration." How does one understand it?
If you want to
achieve something in sport, you cannot try at half strength. Otherwise, you
will get "half results." Doing sport demands great determination and
persistent work despite bad mood and other distractions. This is what
distinguishes a professional from an amateur.
But do not get
this wrong; it shouldn't be a nasty and tiresome job. It still has to bring you
joy. Find joy in your goal, the anticipation of its fulfilment, in every bit of
progress you make, and eventually in your final achievements. This is the most
rewarding feeling for a sportsman. But you will not feel it if you wait for a
proper mood or a vague inspiration to do things.
your future success and possible achievements depend on whether you start doing
something now or you save it for later. So if you are still in doubt, follow
"Having thought – decide,
and having decided – do not think."
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