Developed with Douglas Hunter, Author of The Self-Coached Climber

Athletes or parents: This is a list of coaches and the value they provide to their athletes. Within, you will find the coach’s contact information and a description of how the coach uses the discipline(s) in their coaching.

Coaches: What approach do you take that other coaches or athletes may be interested in learning about?  Highlight yourself!  If you have thought about your approach to coaching in more than a casual manner, you may be added to our database of coaches by completing the form at the bottom of this page.

I encourage you to think about your approach from the perspective of the 5 disciplines below.  But that doesn’t mean you need to be a “sports psychology” coach or a “cognitive-motor learning” coach.  The disciplines are only a guide for helping you interact with this website by suggesting which sections of the research inventory you may be more interested in perusing.

The 5 Disciplines:

  1. Sports Psychology—The use of psychology to create optimal performance, emotional well-being, and long-term emotional frameworks for success and training in climbing.
  2. Cognitive-motor learning—The study of individual learning ability, processes for movement regarding reaction, perception and action (motor planning and execution), as well as processes for changing planned decision into automatic action.
  3. Kinesiology—The study of human movement as applied to climbing activity through a working knowledge of anatomy and the application of that knowledge to identify how muscles and joints interact during movement.
  4. Biomechanics—Overlapping with kinesiology, biomechanics quantifies the forces involved in climbing movement. It also looks at the human system’s interaction with external forces, such as the climbing wall and holds.
  5. Bioenergetics—The study of how the human energy production system works in climbing.

List of Coaches

IN THE U.S., BY STATE

California | D.C. | GeorgiaIndiana | Maryland | Nevada  | Oregon | Tennessee | Virginia | Wyoming

IN THE U.K.

Gwynedd, Wales


California


Coach Melanie LockeMelanie Locke
Los Angeles, CA
Climbing Gym: Sender One
Disciplines: Sports Psychology, Cognitive-motor Learning
Phone: (213) 298-1234
email-locke

Approach: As a coach I enjoy sharing my passion of climbing with my students and try to help them understand what drives them to be better climbers. Throughout my time coaching I often find that students already know what they need to work on to improve their climbing. What is missing most often ends up being the ability to make a detailed plan, realizing that failing is part of succeeding and persistence does produce results. Finding an optimal learning style is key to being successful in climbing and respecting an individuals process is essential. What I love about climbing is how diverse a sport it is. My goal is to teach anyone who is willing and committed to learn. At Sender One I work with both the Rec and Comp Team to explore every option to help our kids, parents, and coaches become part of the climbing community.


District of Columbia


Coach Aleksandra DaguntsAleksandra Dagunts
Washington, DC
Climbing Gym: Earth Treks
Disciplines: Kinesiology, Biomechanics
email_dagunts

Approach: My coaching approach draws heavily from my studies in biology. I focus on how subtle changes in the positioning of one part of the body affect the overall movement of the climber. I aim for my climbers to not just know climbing techniques, but to have a deep understanding of how and why they work so that they can apply them to out-of-the-box, novel situations.


Georgia


Oleksii ShulhaCoach Oleksii Shulha
Atlanta, GA
Climbing Gym: Stone Summit Climbing & Fitness Center
Disciplines: Sports Psychology, Kinesiology, Biomechanics
Phone: (404) 451-7990
email-shulha

Approach: Primarily focused on coaching for speed climbing, ​I consider climbing as a means of developing and improving the personality through sport activity.

My coaching approach based on three aspects:

  1. Teaching a climber how to interact with the wall and minimize muscle efforts, how to use momentum, body positioning and understanding mechanics of the body.
  2. The mind is a key to high performance and competition success.
    Progress starts with a positive mindset.
  3. Everyone is unique. Training in climbing cannot be stereotypical and should be based on individual needs.

Indiana


Jessi HaynesJessi Haynes
Carmel, IN
Climbing Gym: Hoosier Heights Indianapolis
jessi-haynes-email

Approach: Two primary approaches guide my coaching and that of my coaching staff at Hoosier Heights. First is a foundational concern for the athlete as a whole person and for their experience within the Team community. Through our mentorship program, older, more experienced athletes volunteer their time to “coach”, and bond with, their younger teammates for one hour of practice time per week. Additionally, prior to championships we do team building practices during which climbers write affirmations and positive statements to their fellow teammates and engage in team-building activities. This has not only fostered a sense of security and belonging among members of our team but has also contributed to the overall strength of the community within our program. It is our belief that youth athletes cannot compete or train at a high level with gaps in their emotional support system, and we aim to make the team a significant source of emotional support for our climbers.

Secondarily, we conduct testing and track data on a variety of skills related to each individual climber. We consistently track and record anthropometric factors such as speed and difficulty completion rates in power endurance activities and physical measurements of the climber, biomechanic factors such as finger and pull strength, footwork efficiency, and muscle recruitment, as well as various bioenergetic factors. We use this data in our daily practice plans to ensure athletes are being adequately challenged and are meeting their own goals and benchmarks as well as those goals and benchmarks set out by their coaches.


Maryland


Photo of Coach Taylor ReedTaylor Reed  [Note: Not currently taking on athletes]
Rockville, MD
Climbing Gym: Unaffiliated
Discipline: Cognitive-motor Learning
Contact me

Approach: The discipline I use revolves around cognitive-motor learning. My goal is to help athletes develop a broader range of movement while also strengthening their existing movement skillset. I use specialized teaching skills to help the athlete understand, refine, and internalize highly technical movement. I supplement this approach with an understanding of kinesiology and biomechanics to strengthen the muscles required, and increase the flexibility needed, to support the desired movement patterns.

My second role is as a strategist. I excel at identifying the needs of the athlete and providing recommendations as to direction, trade-offs, unintended consequences, and balancing training needs, identifying opportunities, and overcoming challenges. I love teaching for both real rock and competition.


Nevada


Justin Wyse
Reno, Nevada
Climbing Gym: Mesa Rim—Reno
Disciplines: Sports Psychology, Cognitive-motor Learning
Phone: (443) 743-9945
justin-wyse

Justin Wyse climbing at the Red River Gorge. Photo by Jennie Jariel

Approach: My primary approach in coaching our athletes at Mesa Rim focuses on the sports psychology end of the coaching spectrum. I specialize in helping athletes perform at their greatest capacity while under immense internal and/or external pressures. I focus on coaching emotion management, and expectation control, within competitive and risky environments both indoors and outdoors. My goal is to give the athletes I coach the mental skill sets necessary to take charge of their own emotions in any and all situations, and to have the ability to access the flow state whenever they choose. My aim is to build decisive, consistent, and confident climbers through mental mastery.

My secondary approach to coaching is cognitive motor-learning. I seek to take athletes from unconscious incompetence in their movement through the competency spectrum, ending in unconscious competence. Simply put, I focus on coaching athletes through movement they haven’t ever had exposure to, perfecting the movement over time, resulting in replication of the movement under pressure without being consciously aware. I specialize in dynamic, risk intensive movement which is becoming increasingly popular within the competitive climbing world.


Oregon


Coach Gabe La Mont of Rogue Rock GymGabe La Mont 
Ashland, OR
Climbing Gym: Rogue Rock Gym
Disciplines: Sports Psychology, Cognitive-motor Learning
email-lamont

Approach: Approach: My coaching approach can be roughly summarized around 7 main elements of training. Different athletes will focus on these elements in varying degrees based on their current skillset and goals.

  1. Developing the climbers awareness of movement and understanding of climbing mechanics.
  2. Improving general efficiency of movement on the wall to help climbers move while exerting the least amount of energy possible.
  3. Establishing a large vocabulary of different movements and tools with which the climber can then apply to the wall.
  4. Going in depth on sequencing/beta to learn how to effectively apply all of the tools they have developed.
  5. As the athlete continues to push themselves, more and more emphasis will be placed on physical training, workouts, and training plans based upon the climber’s strengths and weaknesses.
  6. Mental training for maximum muscle recruitment in order to get the most out of every workout and every attempt.
  7. For climbers with competitive goals in mind, I delve into the intricacies of competition strategy, strengthening their head game, onsighting, goal setting, and expectation management.

Climbing is a huge part of my life. It has made me travel, meet new people, and made me the person I am today. This is why I believe as coaches we have a great responsibility to inspire those we mentor. Who knows where climbing could then take them! If I can help climbing make the same or greater impact on someone that it had on me, I will do everything in my power to chase that. I owe climbing that much!


Tennessee


Coach Arno Ilgner of the Arno Ilgner
La Vergne, TN
Climbing Gym: The Warrior’s Way
Discipline: Sports Psychology
Phone: (615) 406-3404
Website: www.warriorsway.com
email-arno

Approach: The Warrior’s Way focuses on improving the mind/body connection. We do this by developing specific mind drills and body drills. Observing behavior and language help athletes refine how they use their minds; observing body movement help athletes refine how they use their bodies. This whole process is grounded in developing awareness of mental and physical limitations, and then focusing attention more intentionally to perform our best.


Virginia


Coach Taylor FosterTaylor Foster
Alexandria, VA
Climbing Gym: Sportrock
Discipline: Sports Psychology
email-foster

Approach: Working with young athletes always poses its own set of challenges. I prefer to focus on effort over ability, especially when first developing their skills as a climber. I see this as a means to creating a base level of confidence that grows in tandem with the climber as their athletic ability improves.

While I do work on training to compete, my primary focus remains on the act of climbing as a whole. What does climbing mean to the athlete when you strip away the pressure to win competitions? Will you stay in the gym your entire climbing career, or do you plan to venture outside and explore other styles of climbing? By understanding what the climber wants long term I can be flexible in my coaching technique to better develop a passion and commitment to the sport.


Wyoming


Kris Hampton of Power Company ClimbingKris Hampton
Power Company Climbing
Lander, Wyoming
Disciplines: Cognitive-motor Learning, Bioenergetics
Website: www.powercompanyclimbing.com
email-hampton

Approach: At Power Company Climbing we specialize in remotely training and coaching adults, as well as working with youth teams across the country. We know there isn’t a single approach to progression that works across the board, so we take an individualized approach to both physical training and skill practice.

We’ve spent a considerable amount of time developing systems of practice to help expand the styles and strengths of climbers, as well as figuring out how to communicate these systems and apply them to a regular practice. Between our podcast and our work with thousands of climbers across the country, we’ve developed an incredibly diverse set of skills and methods for learning.


Gwynedd, Wales (U.K.)


Mark Reeves
Gwynedd, Wales, U.K.
Climbing Gym: Beacon Climbing Centre
Discipline: Sports Psychology, Cognitive-motor Learning, Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Bioenergetics
Phone: +447872565225
Website: www.snowdoniamountainguides.com
email-m-reeves

Approach: I primarily focus on coaching people to traditional and sports climb harder outside. To do this I work predominantly on improving people’s technique and tactics of climbing. Through my experience, I have found I can improve a climbers grade in a couple of days this way.

With an MSc in Applied Sports Science, I have also used each aspect of Sports Psychology, Effective coaching and Performance Physiology to help train young and old climbers indoors and outdoor to compete at national and international levels. I have also written the coaching book How to Climb Harder and Effective Coaching for Climbing Instructor which covers both what and how to coach. I also hold the UK, mountain instructor award, which qualifies me to teach trad and sport climbing on multi-pitched crags

As such I tend to focus my coaching in the follow areas of performance:

  • Technical
  • Tactic
  • Physical
  • Psychology
  • Risk Management


Discipline-Based Coaching Database Submission Form

Please complete the following form if you would like to be added to our public database. Once you submit the form, we will contact you to confirm receipt and ask you to provide a photo to be featured with your profile. If we do not contact you in a few days, feel free to contact us to follow up.

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