by Jesse Shouboe
PG Belmont has a new head coach, and his name is Sasha Schwartz! He just started and is already working hard with the team during practice, getting to know kids and coaches, and bringing a cheerful positive vibe to the gym floor. As a coach myself and as a fellow climber who is in awe of our team’s young crushers, I was excited to sit down with Sasha and hear about his vision for the team’s future. Here’s what he had to say…
Me: Sasha, can you tell us a bit about your climbing background?
Sasha: Definitely. My obsession for climbing started in 2008. I was first introduced to climbing at Planet Granite Sunnyvale and have never looked back. Soon thereafter I started setting and coaching at a small climbing gym in the Bay Area called Twisters, and I have been involved in the climbing industry, in some manner, ever since. I mostly spend my time bouldering, but have been known to rope up occasionally.
Me: What about coaching? What kind of experience do you have working with kids?
Sasha: My coaching background spans a variety of settings. I worked in a traditional climbing coach role at Twisters. I’ve also worked in academic settings of all levels tutoring K-12 kids, and as a mentor and writing coach for undergraduate students. Climbing has given a lot to me, and I’m excited to give back by building up the next generation of strong young climbers.
Me: Alright, enough about the past. What are your first action items as the new Head Coach at PG Belmont?
Sasha: My first action item at Belmont is to establish an updated common curriculum for the different levels of team. I want to make sure all coaches and kids are working towards the same goals, and that we as coaches provide the instruction needed to help our kids break through personal barriers. I’ll be working with our coaches to make sure we’re getting kids excited about climbing, and that we’re helping kids grow and develop personally through climbing.
Me: As you may have gathered, the PG Belmont community is close and some members may want to say hi. If we see you around the gym, what can we talk with you about besides climbing and coaching?
Sasha: I like to consider myself a connoisseur of fine sandwiches and sci-fi books. So anything with food or obscure science fiction would probably not be a bad place to start.
So if you see Sasha around the gym, I hope you say hi. He is a down-to-earth, friendly guy who is passionate about the team and the PG Belmont community. And he clearly knows some tasty secret sandwich beta that you might want.