If you love climbing, take some tips from a decorated athlete such as Shauna Coxsey

The rising star from Cheshire has already secured two first-place finishes in the Bouldering World Cup in 2014, as well as a third title at this year’s Climbing Works International Festival. The 21-year-old athlete has been climbing since the age of four and competing since the age of seven. She has previously won the British Bouldering Championships in 2011, 2012 and 2013 and the British Lead Climbing Championships in 2011 and 2012.

1. The best events aren’t the ones you win but the ones you remember

I have won a few different climbing events but the one that sticks in my mind is when I made my first Bouldering World Cup final in 2011 (in Munich) and finished fourth. It was a time when I was torn between going to university and climbing professionally and reaching that final helped me make the decision to give climbing a go. It changed the course of my life.

2. Always work hard on your weaknesses

It is important to train the things you don’t enjoy. I train six days a week for 3-7 hours a day but I train my strengths and my weaknesses. People often focus on their strengths because they are more enjoyable to work on, but that just makes the things you don’t enjoy even weaker. It is funny because the parts of training which I used to hate are now the things I absolutely love, so it is really worth the effort. Although I admit I still hate running – I’m a proper climber who hates other sports. I also advise newcomers to remember that climbing isn’t all in your arms. You still stand on your feet and improving your footwork will really help your performance.

3. Make your sport your art

It is easy to slip into a mode of pushing yourself too hard in your sport but my dad has always insisted I enjoy it. I love making films and taking photography because climbing is such a beautiful sport. I recently made a video for the British Mountaineering Council and I am always taking pictures. When I am not climbing I am normally reading – most recently Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of London trilogy which is good fun fiction.

4. You can learn more from everyday heroes than superstars

I have always been inspired by the people at my local climbing wall. I grew up watching them and learning from them and I was quite oblivious to top-end climbers – although I always admired Hazel Findlay, a very successful British climber, who used my local climbing wall. Seeing people do amazing things at the place where I trained made everything seem more real and more possible.

5. Never forget your home comforts

Whenever I go abroad for a competition the main things I take with me are teabags and coffee. It is normally Yorkshire Tea but I also take some Tea Pigs away with me. I am a true Brit so I love my tea – it gives me a taste of home.

Shauna is sponsored by The Climbing Hangar in Liverpool, Adidas and Five Ten.

Words: Mark Bailey Image: Eddie Fowke, eddie@thecircuitclimbing.com