This coming Saturday the Dutch National Youth Climbing Championships (NJK Lead) will be held in Utrecht.
One of the starring athletes is Jens Peeters. Member of the Monte Cervino Youth Climbing Team. As the sponsor of 'Team Monte Cervino', we thought it would be a nice idea, to do a little interview with Jens. And to introduce you to this young athlete from Rotterdam.
Jens, please introduce yourself
I am Jens Peeters, a high school student, 18 years old and I practice in Rotterdam and area. Next to climbing, I love cycling and of course I like to meet up with my friends.
Tell us, how did you began your climbing career?
I started climbing at a campsite which I often visit (Agricamp Picobello). The owner of this campsite I know him very well and is also an enthusiastic alpinist. He then built a climbing wall on his campsite, where I tried climbing for the first time. That was 6 years ago.
Then I went to do a course at Monte Cervino (climbing center, Rotterdam), together with my little sister. The first 2 years we spent climbing at the Kids Club and to eventually end up here with this team (Team Monte Cervino).
How was your first climbing experience?
The first time was amazing, I loved it! I was looking for a nice sport for a few years and from the moment I topped my first route, I knew it: THIS IS IT! I always used to get feared of heights, but from first moment I started climbing this got pushed away by adrenaline.
Funny thing, that fear of heights. We hear it often among climbers. Do you still get very nervous for heights these days?
I usually do not get feared of heights anymore. Though when I climb a very high outdoor climbing wall (just like the A-wall at Monte Cervino Climbing Center) and hit the crux point, high above, while clipping the last set. Then it often returns. Funny to mention, I never get nervous for heights during climbing competitions. Probably the adrenaline.
How often do you practice and what is your favorite exercise?
On average I train 3 times a week, which is about 11 hours total a week. I do 2x lead training and 1x bouldering. My favorite training exercise I think is, interval practice. Climb one minute at a very high level, followed by a half minute of resting, and repeat this several times in a row. I enjoy this practice very much, because it really challenges me to the limit. And I notice that it really helps my performance.
You hear often about “Pre-Competition Nervousness” among athletes. How do you deal with it?
I too have often a bit of pre-comp nervousness. But I noticed that if I distracted myself, for example by doing a warmup, that this would dicrease. In the beginning I did that by often watching other climbers perform (during qualifications). But my coach and I started to notice, that this was only making me more nervous. So now I mainly focus on warming up, by climbing easy routes.
What are your climbing goals for this season?
For this year I hope to win the Youth Nationals Lead category. I was qualified for this competition so that must be my goal. Next to this I have already achieved my other goals for this season: I won the regional competition and got the first place during the qualifications. So it already has been a succesfull season so far!
Final question, what is your favorite place for climbing outdoors?
Roca Verde is my favorite place of all places I've been to so far. I find it an awesome and diverse climbing spot. From slabs to extreme overhang routes. And there are many routes for each level. The food in this place is by the way very delicious.