"Finding the balance between school work, training and of course - the ladies"


Hi I'm Sammy. A 16 year old punter from the West Midlands who keeps falling off the easy part of Mecca. I am currently competing for the British youth and senior lead team. However being 16-nearly 17- means, unfortunately, I can't just climb full time and go all out dirtbag like Alex honnold. I am currently doing my A levels at Hagley RC in chemistry, PE and Geography (colouring in). Finding the balance between school work, training and of course - the ladies ... can be a tough task at only 16.

There are only 168 hours in a week, 30 of which have to be spent at school - no matter how much you complain. Another 63 of these hours my coach tells me have to be for sleep and 18 of these hours AT LEAST are for training. However I am slightly bias towards favouring this time so sometimes it gets longer. This leaves me with 58 more hours for eating, seeing my girlfriend ( who lives in london!) and I am told I should be doing 2-3 hours schoolwork a day. Add in to the mix competitions in Sheffield, Edinburgh, Manchester and even further afield taking up whole weekend every other third weekend. I am also supposed to have friends and a social life but I sacked that off for climbing time years ago. I am also supposed to find time to earn money and do a job in this short period of time. All of this adds up and leaves me without 30 seconds a week to relax.
Climbing outside (real climbing) is difficult to fit in but as often as I can I do it! I also put a huge importance on seeing my coach (Ollie Torr, who lives in Sheffield) as often as I can even if this means catching a train to Sheffield after school once a week and getting back at half 11 that night before getting up again for school and training the next day.
Luckily for me I have a pretty decent training board in the my loft, amazing sponsors like Bison Grips and Redpoint Worcester and a very supportive pair of parents behind me to make it all easier.

Sometimes of course one of these has to suffer. For example at the end of last year I had my GCSE exams so I had to knuckle down with schoolwork and put it before training. For me this was the worst thing imaginable but the feeling of satisfaction on results day and having a full summer of training and climbing as much as I want motivated me to get it done!

I am writing this in the 6 and a half hour journey back from Edinburgh at 10 o clock at night whilst half heartedly doing my chemistry homework before school tomorrow, so I hope it's not a terrible read and was vaguely interesting.
Cheers for listening.

Follow me on Instagram @soakesy if you want.