Advice on starting a competative/ developmental climbing program at a university.


Original Post
Artem B · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Title pretty much says it all. I'd like to organize a cohort of dedicated climbers at my university into a formal training/development program. It would be quite a flat structure in which everyone would contribute to coaching and training to help one another.

I have a few preliminary questions I have that I was hoping to get input on.

- What's a good measure of 'success' or way to define goals for a group of climbers?

- What's an efficient way of organizing training for a group of climbers with a variation in starting skill level?

- Which training resources would be the most beneficial to such a group? (We have access to a climbing gym, weight gym, outdoor trails, climbing library)

- If you have experience either developing or being part of a climber training program, what was it like? What worked well and what didn't work well?

Stormannorman · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0

For a start you need a dedicated coach or two so that they can work on the individual needs of every climber. You will also need a fitness coach and train hard every day and enter competitions.

Otherwise what it sounds like you are looking for is more a climbing club that gets together for meetings.

greggle · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jul 2016 · Points: 0
Artem B wrote: What's a good measure of 'success' or way to define goals for a group of climbers? - What's an efficient way of organizing training for a group of climbers with a variation in starting skill level? - Which training resources would be the most beneficial to such a group? (We have access to a climbing gym, weight gym, outdoor trails, climbing library) - If you have experience either developing or being part of a climber training program, what was it like? What worked well and what didn't work well?
I was on my university's climbing team. We competed in the USA Climbing Collegiate Series. That was my only involvement with competitive team climbing.

Stormannorman summed up nicely what I'm driving at, but here you go.

1) That's the problem. Climbing is highly individualized. Even if two people climb at the same "level", their training needs, taken individually, might be vastly different.

2) I'm unsure of an "efficient" way to organize training for a varied group. And it's because of that "variation" in skill level (and style/technique) you mention. Observation is necessary to determine the needs of the group, which, again, will likely boil down to individual needs.

2) There are loads of training regiments tailored specifically for climbing. But are they appropriate for your group, or even a single climber? Hard to say. Again, climbing is highly individualized; different strokes, different folks.

Furthermore, I'd be hesitant to start anyone on a climbing-specific program, mostly because I'm not a trainer/coach/expert and it would be irresponsible of me to do so. I fear someone could injure themselves from any of the familiar over-training tropes. No one wants that.

Basically, in the absence of an experienced coach, I [personally] wouldn't prescribe any particular "program". More general things like, "everyone do 100'/30m of warm-up climbs" or "traverse for 10 minutes" probably wouldn't hurt.

Stormannorman mentioned a climbing club. That's really what my university's team was. The team had officers and the like, yes, but the structure was flat and we just trained by climbing, which is way more fun than focused training anyway! If we needed help, we reached out to the more experienced climbers. The only thing we really did as a group was stretch, which I always blew off because stretching is stupid.

Good luck!
Artem B · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Jan 2014 · Points: 0

Thanks for the thoughts. Climbing club is pretty much what we have already and that's great. I guess a way to reformulate the question is;

What are the responsibilities of a 'Climbing Coach'. What do they do?

ViperScale · · Unknown Hometown · Joined Dec 2013 · Points: 165

Very hard to judge how well someone is doing in climbing. Noway to really say this person started at this grade and now climbs this grade is better than this person climbing at this grade and now climbing this grade.

Climbing is more of a personal thing, some people climb to climb hard and others climb for the experience of being out there.

I would say all you need for a basic coach would be someone who understands the movements of climbing and can work with those climbing to improve their technique and give advice on what they can do to get better. Depending on what type of climbing you are doing it could be useful for someone who knows how to build anchors / place gear. If all you are doing is top roping they just need to know how to tie in and belay.

Guideline #1: Don't be a jerk.

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