Shauna Coxsey likes to be busy. She is a video blogger, a founder and an organizer of the Women’s Climbing Symposium, and the Vice President of the Athlete Commission of IFSC. Enjoy the interview by SKALOLAZ.PRO team and you will find more about one of the best climbers in the world.
Mattew Bird / Red Bull Content Pool
You have launched your own YouTube channel. What was the reason? What kind of content will you post on it?
I have been wanting to start a youtube channel for a while but just not had time. I am really excited to share more content about when I get up to and also useful ideas for climbers too.
Who helps you to do the videos? How many people are in your YouTube team? Do you generate the ideas for your YouTube videos yourself or someone helps you?
Most of the ideas are my own but I work with a team of people to make the ideas work as episodes. I work closely with my management and also my coaching team. I hope to bring in more members of my performance team in the future too.
Do you watch any climbing videos on YouTube? If so, what channels? Adam Ondra? Magnus Mitbo? IFSC translations?
I actually don’t spend much time watching youtube videos. I am open to suggestions of which ones to watch though.
How many times a week do you train?
I usually train 6 or 7 days a week. Often I do multiple different sessions each day but the intensity of the sessions will vary as does what I am training.
What kind of sports are in your training program except climbing itself? Running? Fitness? Stretching?
I tend to do some fitness sessions. Not so much running, I prefer the Ski Erg for fitness training. I also do a lot of mobility work, gym work and fingerboarding too.
Photo by IFSC/EddieFowke
Please tell me about your training partner Leah Crane. How did you meet her? And how she helps you to train now?
Leah is my coach. We trained together for many years but more recently she has taken on the role of coach and I couldn’t be happier to have her by my side. We have so much fun training but she always knows how to ensure I get my head down and put the work in when I need to. It feels like we have known each other forever! I guess we first met when I started competing at 7 years old. So our friendship has been built over decades.
What are your strong sides as a climber? What are your weaknesses as a climber?
I train to have as few weaknesses as possible. I am really driven to be a well rounded climber. I tend to focus so much on my weaknesses that they become strengths. There are always areas to improve and I love that about climbing.
What is your favorite climbing discipline?
I think it will always be bouldering. Simply because of how accessible it is. I am really enjoying the other disciplines but I just love how you need to little you need to go bouldering.
What can you say about speed climbing? Do you like to train it?
I really didn’t expect to but I love speed climbing. I am really fascinated by the sport and I have become obsessed with improving! It has been so refreshing to do something new in a sport I have been doing for over 20 years. Speed climbing is so different and I have really grown to love the process!
Photo by IFSC/EddieFowke
What are Olympics for you? What changes in your life after you passed the qualification for the Olympics?
The Olympics is the most prestigious sporting stage in the world! I never expected climbing to be part of the games during my professional career. To now know I am qualified for the games is just crazy. It still almost doesn’t seem real. I think the qualification process felt like the biggest hurdle for me. There were so few opportunities to qualify and so few spaces available. Now that I am qualified my focus is on getting to the games ready to give a perforce I am proud of. I know I can be so much fitter, stronger and faster.
Do people recognize you, ask for an autograph? Did you become a star in England like soccer or tennis player after you passed the qualification for the Olympics?
Climbing definitely hasn’t reached the platform of soccer and tennis but for sure it is growing in popularity! I love that more people are now aware of our sport. I do my best to promote our sport and actively participate in the positive development of our sport. The more people that see climbing will lead to more people who try climbing and find a sport they love.
Who sets bouldering problems for you? Did you try yourself as a routesetter?
I love to route set. I wish I had more time for route setting. Generally I just climb on the boulders at the gym. I often make up my own boulders with the holds that are on the wall. Leah and I have always done this! I sometimes get route setters in for specific comp prep too.
Did you meet with Catherine Destivelle?
Yes! I actually met her for the first time at an event many years ago. I didn’t talk to her then as I was too shy. But more recently she spoke at the Women’s Climbing Symposium, an event that I founded and organise. It was amazing to hear her story and to chat to her too!
Did someone else in climbing world influence on you?
I am most influenced by the people around me. I feel so lucky to be surrounded by dedicated, passionate people.
Mattew Bird / Red Bull Content Pool
When you need a rest from climbing – what is it?
I love to be busy. I organize an event called the Women’s Climbing Symposium, an event where hundreds of women come together to connect, develop and be inspired. I am also a trustee for the charity Climbers Against Cancer, a cause very close to my heart! I am on the IFSC executive board as Vice President of the Athlete Commission. I also organize a few footless climbing events with beastmaker. When I am not doing these things I love to cook and bake, read and learn, swim in cold water, spend time with family and friend.
How do you deal with pressure during competitions (in isolation)? Listen to the music, chatting with other competitors?
I don’t really feel much external pressure. The pressure I feel is that which I put on myself. I am so lucky to do my passion as my job and I love that I get to travel the world and compete. Through experience and processing I have learnt to deal with pressure and nerves and use them as a tool to positively impact my performance.
The last book you’ve read?
Being Ecological - Timothy Morton
The last song you’ve added to your playlist?
Baianá - Bakermat
The recipe of your banana pancakes is really good. Thanks for it! Did you create it yourself? Do you like cooking and baking?
Thanks! The original recipe was from my performance nutritionist, Rebecca Dent. I have played around with the recipe over the years and it still remains my favorite breakfast!
Do you have some projects on the rocks?
Yes, i think so. There are many routes and boulders I have in mind but for now my focus is on the Olympics.
When you hear “Russia” what do you think about?
I have enjoyed my time spent in Russia so much and I would love to explore more of your country!
Text: Yury Birilov, chief editor of Skalolaz magazine