I’m a big believer in the value of quality coaching, especially when it comes to learning—and training for—a sport as complex as climbing.

While basic climbing movement is indeed intuitive, advanced climbing skills and techniques are not. Training appropriately, given your unique strengths/weaknesses, time available, past sports and injury history, age and genetics, is even more complex. Thus, when it comes to effective training for climbing, “getting it right” is an unrealized goal for many climbers. Fortunately there are a handful of excellent climbing coaches here in the USA, as well as in Europe, Asia, and Australia. If you are serious about climbing your best (and hopefully remaining uninjured), I strongly encourage you to engage a veteran coach with a proven track-record of shaping strong, healthy, and happy climbers.

You may be wondering what qualities and background make for a top-notch coach?

Obviously, vast climbing experience  (a decade or more) and having climbed at a relatively high grade is important. Equally important, however, are analytical skills, being well-versed in coaching techniques (technical, tactical, and mental), and a strong interest in reading and applying research (both climbing and non-climbing).  Experience at coaching climbers of varying age and ability is certainly a plus. If you can find a coach possessing all of the above qualities, then don’t hesitate to hire this person for an assessment and exercise prescription. It will do your climbing good!

Eric Hörst Closeup
Eric giving a keynote address at the International Rock Climbing Researchers Association (IRCRA) 2016 biennial symposium.