Training for climbing – should be hard but not difficult


words by Hanna Vartia / 27 Crags pic by Dicki Korb

As climbing is increasing in popularity and the bar being raised by climbers like Adam Ondra, Nalle Hukkataival and Angy Eiter, many are looking into ways to improve their climbing. We were more than curious to hear the thoughts of Dicki Korb, Alex Megos’s coach and the author of one of the most sold climbing training books Gimme Kraft. What is that magic ingredient that gets you to the next level?

A while ago we ran into Dicki and Alex when they were climbing, just like us but ‘a bit’ harder, at sector Mars in Leonidio, Greece. They had been invited to the local climbing festival and Dicki was happy to take some time off for a chat about his coaching principles, and climbing in general.

When meeting later in a cosy cafeteria, we had barely sat down before finding ourselves in a two-hour conversation about coaching principles, training tips, motivation, sponsors, and much more. Here are the best pieces!

When talking with Dicki it’s impossible to avoid talking about his most known athlete Alex Megos – a young phenomenon who jumped into the spotlight after being the first person to onsight a 9a when he was only 19 years old. These two have already 11 years of climbing history together. When seeing them having fun at the crag it’s easy to see that they get along more than well.

‘The story began when Alex was 13 years old and came to our Cafe Kraft gym for the first time. My counterpart, Patrick Matros, and I immediately saw that Alex wasn’t normal.’ And Dicki means this in a good way. ‘He was just extremely motivated to climb. We hadn’t seen anything like it before.’ This was a start of a relationship where Dicki and Patrick took him under their wing and step by step began to develop his climbing.

Alex kept on getting stronger and when he managed the first ever 9a onsight, there was no doubt that the whole climbing world would know his name. This, together with the fact that the Cafe Kraft gym had opened just one year before, and the book Gimme Kraft was published about two months after the achievement, led to overwhelming attention from climbers around the world: ‘Suddenly everyone wanted to train with us.’

This combination not only brought a lot of climbers knocking on our door, but also helped to form a partnership with Adidas to start training their athletes such as Sasha DiGiulian and Mélissa Le Nevé. This also allowed Dicki to focus mainly on coaching and take a step back from his former profession as a social worker – although the skills needed in his previous job might not be that far away from those needed in coaching climbers.

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