Zoe Spriggins - Climbing Wall Development Instructor and Foundation Coach

Zoe Spriggins

What do you do for work?

I am currently the Centre Manager at Awesome Walls Sheffield.

Have you always worked in the climbing industry?

No, I am also a qualified primary school teacher and worked full time in a primary school teaching years 3-6 for four years. I thoroughly enjoyed teaching and the skills I learnt I have been able to transfer to my coaching.

When did you first get into climbing? Who introduced you to it?

I first got into climbing whilst attending the University of Wales, Bangor. I went to the freshers’ fair and joined the Mountain Walking Club. This led me on to meet some of the climbers and I then joined the climbing club. I spent an enjoyable three years spending my student loan on climbing gear, spending quality time on the mountains in North Wales and climbing on club nights at the Beacon before it moved to its present location!

Zoe preparing to climb at AW Sheffield

When did you start pursuing Mountain Training qualifications and why?

I first joined the Awesome Walls family at AW Stockport. I was encouraged to complete some qualifications to allow me to run more challenging sessions.

What specifically appealed about the Climbing Wall Development Instructor?

I had a strong interest in teaching young people how to lead climb, especially on our kid’s club sessions. This led me to start an Elite Squad running at each Awesome Walls Climbing Centre. The squad is now in its second year and at Awesome Walls Sheffield, we currently have four GB team members on our squad.

What were the best and most challenging things about working through the scheme?

The most challenging thing was to realise I was ready for the assessment. I like to make sure I am always fully prepared, but in reality I could have completed the award a lot sooner than I did! The best thing is that I get to teach lead climbing on a regular basis!

Zoe climbing in the sunshine

What advice would you give to other people thinking about starting the Climbing Wall Development Instructor scheme?

Don’t forget to complete your DLOG! Do it after each session and that way you won’t forget!

Do you find being a Foundation Coach has helped you as a Climbing Wall Development Instructor?

Yes, I believe a firm understanding of climbing movement and observation skills as taught on the Foundation Coach has helped me as a Climbing Wall Development Instructor. It enables me to offer more specific feedback to the clients.

If you only had 24 hours for an adventure, where would you go and why?

Cornwall, I love being by the sea!

Zoe with the AW Sheffield climbing squad

(Since this article was published Zoe has become the Competitions Programme Manager for the BMC.)

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