Touchstone Blog Archive
Monday, September 12, 2011
  Zero Gravity: Interview with Coach Scot Jenerik
On August 25-28, Scot Jenerik and four of the Touchstone Zero Gravity Climbing Team members competed at the Youth World Championships in Imst, Austria. This competition was attended by over 600 athletes from 50 countries and had quite possibly the deepest pool of youth climbing talent at a world championship to date. The Touchstone athletes had a strong showing. Joshua Levin was 19th in Sport and 10th in Speed. Jacquelyn Wu was 44th in Sport and 9th in Speed. Nicholas Bradley was 46th in Sport. Will Roderick was 20th in Speed.

Nicholas Bradley, Scot Jenerik (US Team Coach), Jacquelyn Wu, Will
Roderick, Joshua Levin in Imst Austria

Zero Gravity is one of the strongest youth climbing teams in the nation. Zero Gravity were 2nd in the country for Teams at the 2011 and 2009 USA Climbing SCS National Championships and 3rd in the country at the 2008 ABS National Championships and the team has been consistently in the top 5 at Nationals for 8 years. Team members have been regional Champions the past 6 years for both Sport and Bouldering with over 40 National Champions and close to 100 US National Team Bids. A large part of this is due to the solid coaching they receive.

Zero Gravity at the 2011 Youth Nationals

Scot Jenerik, the 47 year old US National Team Head Coach and Touchstone Zero Gravity Head Coach, has spent the past two decades living in San Francisco and the past 11 years coaching Zero Gravity.

When Jenerik’s daughter Cicada was 4, he hauled her up climbs in Joshua Tree and throughout the Sierra. As she got older, her talent became noticeable and Jenerik took her to a JCCA competition at Touchstone’s Class 5 in San Rafael. She performed well and told her farther, “That was the best day of my life.” At that point, Zero Gravity was born. “I had been an athlete my whole life, playing many different sports and running track in college,” said Jenerik. “My father was often my coach and given my passion for understanding the dynamics of training, I adapted all that I knew and researched what I didn't to create the program that now exists.”

“Coaching, like climbing, is dynamic. It's not just about making someone physically strong, it is more about psychology and how to get the best out of an athlete. This relates to all aspects of their training and performance,” said Jenerik about coaching Zero Gravity. “Also every athlete has a slightly different set of strengths and weaknesses. Identifying these and reinforcing the weaknesses is a satisfying challenge. When I first started there was very little information available about effective training for climbing and none whatsoever about training youth. The body of a youth athlete can not be put through the same degree of stress as an adult. Developing appropriate physical and psychological coaching techniques is a never ending challenge. Additional challenges are balancing their passion for climbing with school and family needs.”

Before coaching and working as the foreman for the route setting at Mission Cliffs, Jenerik traveled the world playing hand built percussion instruments that blasted large fireballs.

Jenerik discussed training and applications to anyone. “The most important aspect is how hard you try. Excellence is not something that just happens, it is practiced every day. If you practice quitting every day you should expect nothing other than failure. Be consistent in your training and understand that it will take time. Erratic training will do virtually nothing for you. As an example, imagine that you want to run up a hill with 100# on your back. If you strap that weight to your back and go for it you will collapse. But if you add 1# every day, running up the hill each day for 100 days you will transform your body into being able to carry that load. Also identify the things you don't like to do as these tend to be ones weaknesses. We all like to do what we are good at. But if you can strengthen the things you aren't good at your overall ability will rise."

Zero Gravity trains 3 hours 4-5 days a week and each athlete has a detailed program that is specific to their goals and ability. Fun and satisfaction occur when one’s ability coincides with the complexity of the challenge. Monday through Thursday, the team meets at Ironworks, Mission Cliffs and Diablo Rock. Jenerik is at each of the gyms on a different day and Scott Cory, Cicada Jenerik and Joshua Levin, his assistant coaches, are at the other gyms.

The competition season runs from September to February for Bouldering and March to August for Sport and Speed. For more information about USA Climbing and the clickThe International Federation of Sport Climbing click on the links. Climbing is also on the short list for the 2020 Olympics

For more information about the team, contact Scot at

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