Today we bring you an interview with Honza "Jany" Novotny, who is a founder and head-coach of the Rockbusters. Climbing project dedicated to coaching, education, various climbing courses and camps all over the Europe.
Read more about what they do in Rockbusters, what are the differences between climbing courses in Czechia and other European countries or how their courses differ and what the participants do not experience anywhere else! Or just find out what Rockbusters appreciates the most about working with us and what are "Jany's" favourite climbingpieces of Rafiki clothing.
Hi Honza, could you briefly introduce you to readers? Who are you? What do you do & how you live?
Hey, I am the "guy-behind" the Rockbusters project. I have been hooked on sport my whole life and when I was younger I tried a few different things, but these days I just focus on my two biggest loves: climbing & skiing. I have always skied and I have been obsessed with climbing since I was introduced to it. That was during my trip to the U.S. when I was 17 years old.
Rockbusters is a community of climbing coaches and guides that grew out of a true passion for climbing. We love and live what we do!
I have a master's degree in Social Politics but I have never been a role-model student, every spare moment at University was dedicated to the sports. The good thing about University was the extra amount of time. It was quite obvious that combining "normal" work with my hobbies would not be easy! Freeride skiing and rock climbing takes a lot of time! One day chatting with my mom she said:
"You either have to be super smart or lucky to make a lot of money or you have to turn your hobbies into a job"…
AND HERE WE ARE WITH ROCKBUSTERS! (he laughs)
You are the founder of Rockbusters, where you with other team members coach all climbing enthusiasts. What makes the Rockbusters so specific? Why did you start it and what are your plans for future?
As I mentioned in the first answer, I just love to be outside: climbing, skiing and having fun with a friends! And as I am not good enough to be a professional athlete, Rockbusters is my way to climb as often as I can!
I plan to keep climbing and skiing as much as possible, also keep running and building the business and of course: try to balance all of this with my family life as we now have "two little Rockbusters" to look after.
Over the last decade, Rockbusters has partnered with some of the best climbers and coaches in the world and I plan to continue offering this type of high-quality climbing experience at great destinations all over Europe…and like always: try to go “BETTER, HARDER & MORE!”
You organize many climbing courses and events. In which destinations do they take a place? What is your target group of people?
Our focus is primary on world-class and well-known climbing destinations across the whole Europe. For example: Mallorca, Margalef, Rodellar, Albarracin or Oliana in Spain, Istria in Croatia, Frankenjura in Germany, Ceüse and Chamonix in France, Finale Ligure or even the Dolomites in Italy and of course our homeland/heartland: "Labák" the famous sandstone Elbe Valley in Czechia.
We help complete beginners as well as to all climbing levels up to the elite climbers. All of our courses and coaching camps are kids-friendly and also suitable for families (expect of multi-pitch, big wall & trad climbing courses).
We help complete beginners as well as people of all performance climbing levels, up to the experts and elite climbers.
We provide sport climbing courses & climbing road-trips. We work together with professional climbers and thanks to that we organize Pro-climbers coaching clinics. We offer also Bouldering courses, Learn to Lead Climbing and Women-only climbing courses.
The offer of climbing courses is quite large in Europe and Czechia nowadays. This means greater competition, but also makes it harder for clients to decide which course choose. Why choose the Rockbusters?
The only thing we can do is to be the best in what we do, create unique experiences that will separate us from others and find good ways to promote this.
If you look at our event portfolio and coaches/guides working with us, compare it with the offer of others, it is a little bit different. There are not many two-month climbing road-trips crossing the whole Europe or Advanced and Performance Coaching Courses with pro-climbers.
We try to create a less structured laid-back environment to make people feel like they are on a trip with friends while also encouraging them to climb hard and we providing individual coaching and support every time when they needed.
We have grown a great community of regularly returning clients which is not only great for the business but also helps to build this positive climbing experience that welcomes more new clients.
In the close future you organize Advanced sport climbing course together with a former pro-climber – Patxi Usobiaga, who trained Adam Ondra, Chris Sharma or Daniel Woods. How did you manage to arrange cooperation with Patxi? How will he enrich your course?
Wanna long story or short? (he laughs)
When setting up the Rockbusters I had done a lot of climbing in Spain myself as there weren't many clients back then. I lived a simple van life under the crags. I had no money, but life was pretty cool. I have grown a lot as a climber and the most important, I have created a big social network. Patxi is just one of friends I met while living and climbing in Spain.
Similar situation with other pro-climbers I have met. I offered them a cooperation within Rockbusters. Patxi wants to share his knowledge and experiences with all other motivated climbers and at the same time: climb as much as he can and of course…make some money.
Everyone is different, as Patxi is. Every team member brings his/her approach, view on climbing and coaching, different experiences and expertise. Apart from being a world-class performance coach, something that Patxi brings (that I appreciate the most) is his motivation and excitement!
It is great to spend a week climbing with him and see the intensity he pulls out when he is trying own projects. It’s quite eye-opening and shows us that is possible to dig way deeper on hard climbing moves.
What will be the biggest highlight of this course? What makes the course specific and what participants won't find anywhere else?
The biggest highlight is one week of climbing in one of the world’s best sport climbing destinations and coaching with Patxi himself.
Our motto is "Climb BETTER, HARDER & MORE"…that says it all! No matter where and what course or trip we have, we try to provide great quality and quantity of climbing, choosing the spots according to the seasons & conditions plus helping people to reach their limits and far beyond!
Another camp of yours is the Sport climbing performance, technique & mental coaching.
Improving climbing performance and proper technique is a desire for many climbers, but a frequent topic in the last years is mental coaching. How do you approach to "head game"?
This is a good question and if I had one universal answer or manual on how to do it, the work would be easy for us.
However, it is quite individual. Everyone has different obstacles in their heads created throughout their life. So the most important thing is to find those sticking points, define them and make a plan of how to deal with them...
Most people are instinctively trying to find a way to stay in their comfort zone and they think that improvement can come comfortably. After my years of coaching, I see that my biggest job is to put people in front of the mirror and find a way to pull them out of this comfort zone.
I try to show them that technical, physical and also mental improvement will only come through a bit of pain, discomfort and frustration. When they accept this, things usually starts to happen. Of course, everyone is unique and if you need a shoulder to cry on, feel free to use mine…(he smiles)
You know: those moments when you meet someone, exchange a few words and it is totally clear that this is "my man".!
We met in Margalef a long time ago during a course we offered which was led by Daila Ojeda. Klemen expressed an interest in working together and here we are with Performance, Technique & Mental Coaching. Klemen is a great person to just be around and climb with him as a friend or as a client. His positive attitude and love for climbing are reasons enough to do the course, but there is much more…
As you might imagine, it is hard to have a rigid structure with any of these courses and we always have to react and adjust things accordingly to the level and experience of all our clients. We aim to thoroughly analyze each person as a climber and try to give them all possible tips to improve. As with Patxi and our other courses, you can expect to climb “BETTER, HARDER & MORE!”
I will mention one last course of your current autumn offer – the RED POINT Coaching Course. What is the main content? Who will lead it and how does it differ from the previous two?
A typical approach of myself and many other climbing friends is just to come to the crag, choose the most appealing route, and try to climb it!
However, after meeting and learning from many pro-climbers such as Alizée, Patxi, and Adam Ondra I have learned that there is much more to "Red Pointing" a route than getting your ass kicked until one day you send it!
Sure it’s a great fun, but it’s not the most efficient way to work on and send your project. Again, there is a need to be flexible and react accordingly to the level and experience of the participants but the idea for this one is to: choose a hard project, learn some useful skills about projecting the moves, and after that, finally send it!
This course is led by Alizée Dufraisse, a French female climber having some 9a’s RP in sport climbing, 8B+ boulders and a World Cup podium in her portfolio, so she certainly has a lot of experience and knowledge to share or pass on. I think this will be interesting also for me to learn new approaches for my own climbing projects, so I am looking forward to being a part of this and I am really grateful that I will be coaching together with Alizée.
What do you see as the main differences between climbing courses in Czechia and Europe? What is the quality and how important is education of people who lead them? You think that education or practice itself, is more important?
Ok, the question has been made so…
In my personal opinion all that matters is the satisfaction of the clients and their safety in the end (for me these are the only relevant measurements). There is no proof that experience, education or any other license will bring you a success. However, there is no doubt that any of these are helping you to develop yourself as a coach. Every client or friend I spend time climbing with, every book or article I read, every time I speak about climbing with someone is helping me to develop myself and get better in what I do.
Of course from a safety point of view: there should be some standard minimum of knowledge defined by passing an exam or something similar, to be able to take people on climbing at all. I would look mainly at, firstly: who is leading the course, and secondly where it is set, because climbing in December you will probably enjoy more in Spain or Greece than somewhere in Czech or Austria.
This is a new and fresh partnership, but I hope it will grow into a nice friendship that will benefit both sides. So for now all I can say for sure is that Klemen looks way better in Rafiki clothing!
What is your favourite piece of Rafiki clothes in your current climbing wardrobe?!
Definitely the LEAD II SHORTS! Simply comfortable, light and airy…just absolutely perfect.
And the down jacket FUEGO, for sure!!!
Describe Rafiki and our climbing products in three simple words.
I remember the first time I saw the Rafiki brand when my good friend who has a big on-line sports shop in the Czech Republic gave me 10 bags of Rafiki clothes to bring them to Spain to sell it all around the climbing spots. That was around 15 years ago. Now I have friends who have climbed in Rafiki pants and T-shirts in places like El Capitan and Patagonia…yeah and some of them: still wearing their first pairs!
Honza, thank you for this interview and we wish you full capacity of your climbing events and a lot of happy clients with the Rockbusters! Have a nice time out there in the nature!
Did you enjoy reading this? Are you interested in more details? If so, then visit Rockbusters website and try one of their climbing camps yourself! Make a new climbing contacts and friendships all around the world. Work towards your individual goals and make your climbing dreams come true! Or just experience the relaxed atmosphere and good quality time spent with climbing…