Juan Carlos Avendano - Development Coach

Juan Carlos Avendano

What do you do for work?

I am the Coach Development Officer and Head Coach for the Castle Climbing Centre.

[Since this interview was published Juan has written an article for NICAS: Coaching powered by ADHD)


When did you first start climbing?

I started climbing when I was 16/17 years of age, as a form of therapy and rehabilitation to recover from a serious injury.


When did you start to think that climbing could be involved in your career?

Back in 2003/4 when I worked for a major outdoor/climbing retailer, it was an ‘organic’ decision to build my professional career in the outdoor industry.


What pathway have you weaved through Mountain Training qualifications?

My pathway through Mountain Training’s climbing qualifications has been based on the available options we’ve had through the years. I started with the Single Pitch Award [now Rock Climbing Instructor], followed by Climbing Wall Leading Award [now Climbing Wall Development Instructor] (most of my work is in London, so it made sense) and, as soon as it became available, Development Coach. I was recently honoured to be part of the pilot team for the Performance Coach qualification, which gave great insight into the future of our profession.

Juan Carlos Avendano climbing with his sons

What do you love most about working in the climbing industry?

The climbing industry offers so many pathways and different options for professionals that it is nearly impossible to get bored by doing a ‘routine job’ throughout your career.


What did you enjoy most about becoming a Development Coach?

Meeting interesting people from all over the UK, enthusiastic about pushing our sport forwards into the future.


What advice would you give to anyone else thinking about becoming a qualified climbing coach?

My advice to new coaches is to remember always that our role is to be on the side lines. We must focus on providing guidance and mindful care and attention to let the athletes shine.


Who’s had the biggest impact on you as a climbing coach?

Sharing ideas and exploring ventures with people like Johnny Dawes and Udo Neumann have definitely shaped my approach to coaching and climbing performance.

Juan Carlos Avendano with Johnny Dawes and Udo Neaumann

Are you hoping to become a Performance Coach in the future?

As soon as the assessment format for Performance Coach is ready, my hope is to be one of the first qualified Performance Coaches in the UK.