Moving on up: Shauna Coxsey will be climbing for Team GB at the 2020 Olympics Credit: Lukasz Warzecha / Red Bull Content PoolIn the build up to the debut of sport climbing in the 2020 Olympics, there are an increasing number of major media stories on the pro climbers who will be vying for Gold! While most are shallow fluff pieces, I have run across a few articles and videos (e.g. Adam Ondra has a good series on his “Road to Tokyo”) that provide some good insights into the preparatory process.

Below I’ve culled a few interesting blurbs from a recent UK Telegraph article about Shauna Coxsey’s training for the Olympics. For a mainstream news rag, the article is actually well-sourced and contains a few valuable insights from Shauna and her team of coaches (Tom Greenall, Leah Crane, and Jeff Ross).

Physio Jeff on Shauna’s strength training of her fingers…and buttocks!

Shauna spends a lot of time building up her finger strength..they are at the end of the chain. Upper back strength is vital too. We work to build a solid foundation around the shoulders, which will allow her to put her arms in good positions. Then there’s gluteal strength. The buttocks have a big role to play in terms of power delivery.

Coach Leah on Shauna’s 4- to 5-hour-long workouts:

Shauna’s training sessions can last four to five hours. And they are very variable. Training with Shauna is very definitely not a Monday to Friday 9-5 job. It’s whatever is needed, when it is needed. We do a lot of yoga. If you’ve seen Shauna climb, you’ll know she is incredibly lithe on the wall, stretching into ridiculous positions. She needs to be as flexible as possible.

Coach Tom on how detailed training prep leads to confidence at the competition:

Shauna is in a sport where confidence is critical. She will be faced with a demanding physical and mental challenge and she needs to be sure. We try to make sure we have done everything we can in advance. In training together we develop a consistency in the preparation process, so when she stands at the bottom of the wall she is comfortable she has done everything she can. That way she can adapt without any panic over the situation in front of her.

Shauna on the importance of mental strength:

I long ago came to realise that in this sport psychology is way more critical than physiology. In climbing, there are a lot of athletes who can win. Deciding who does win, well it comes down to who has the mindset.

Shauna on how continuing to compete in small comps and some World Cups helps hone her competition-prep routine:

Just because the Olympics is a year away doesn’t mean you stop doing the competitions you were always doing. In fact, doing smaller events is really useful as training for bigger events, not least in how you prepare for them. A lot of preparation is around rest. What to do the day before the day before competition – do you exercise, chill, walk up a mountain? Doing small competitions helps you work out what works best.

Shauna on the importance of staying grounded:

I am lucky that I have a really honest family, who bring me back down to earth. And the team around me helps me focus on what’s next. That’s one of the reasons you never see trophies in my house; now is not the time to look back on past achievements. It is the time to look forward. I think that having people around you who believe in you for who you are, not for what you’ve achieved, is one of the most important requirements if you wish to stay happy.

Read the full article here.

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