My coaching time is split fairly evenly between youth climbers and adult climbers. Most of the youth climbers are competition climbers and most of the adult climbers are recreational.
I hugely enjoy both aspects, as the name of the game is improvement and achieving goals set out at the beginning of the year/plan by both me and the client.
When it comes to youth climbers, the rate of progression is faster, they have less inhibitions and with squads, you can set and watch over their entire climbing career. From a bumbly enthusiastic, slightly clumsy 7 year old, to a national winner – the progress is great and the journey is amazing.
I have had a lot of involvement with youth climbers over the last 5-6 years and hopefully it will remain this way into the future.
At the moment, I coach the Surrey Sports Park performance squad alongside Guy Davenport and Morna Middleton.
In 2014, Guy and I took over the squad. They won’t mind me saying that some of the squad were very keen, but technically – well, they sounded like a band whilst climbing – banging and smashing their way up the wall.
From previous blogs you will have seen this has changed. Over 2014 ALL of the squad (now 16 strong) has jumped at least 1 number grade for sport climbing and multiple grades for bouldering.
2 have gone from 7a-8a/+ and from V5-V8/9
Many from about 6a-7b/c
Some even from 5-7b!
The jumps have been incredible and they have all worked very hard – some more than others, but that shows when it comes round to climbing on the rock or in competitions.
This year started with illness – our entire squad (and coaches) were wiped out with a cold/flu virus. Not the best thing considering we had 3 weeks to the first Blokfest and 4 weeks to the first BMC Youth Climbing Series (YCS).
However, they soon got back into the rhythm after a nice rest period over Christmas.
Blokfest was held at the TCA in Bristol for its penultimate round for 2014/15.Many of the squad went down and the results were fantastic – with multiple 1st, 2nd and 3rd positions per category. I was unable to go to this event due to other coaching commitments, but Morna went with the squad and wrote up about the experience – you can read it here.
The fact that they had all done so well gave them the mental edge on the week run up to round 1 of the BMC YCS 2015.
The BMC YCS is THE youth series for the UK.
With climbers split due to age and sex from 7 and 8 year olds through to 16 and 17s.
The oldest category is A and the youngest E.
The first round this year was hosted by Craggy Island, infamous for being one of the first walls in the area – steep, short and hard! The squad had been getting in their training and had all done a recce trip to get used to the walls and setting.
Their training has worked well, with podiums in all bar one category we entered!
Cat A Boys: 1st Sam Jenner, 2nd Luke Fletcher
Cat A Girls: 3rd Phoebe Dyer
Cat C Boys: 2nd Jake Collins, 3rd Rob Cook
Cat C Girls: 1st Beth Christian, 2nd Kat Davison
Cat D Girls: 2nd Maddy Broughton
Well done must also go to all of the other squad members and another 1st place in the London and south east (northern divide) Emma Futcher for Cat C girls. Emma trains with the Westway squad as well as 1:1s with me.
The setting and organisation was great. One issue with this competition is that all judges, chaperones and organisers are volunteers. This is a great thing, but also lends itself to some troubles with judging at times. One category had all bar two climbers disqualified (from one climb) for brushing another hold with their lower toe – more a hindrance than a help – still, we still had a 1st and 2nd place despite this set back.
We have plenty of video footage and much to learn from performances on the day. I have to say that most of the squad just sat back and enjoyed the competition, as they should have – and as a result, they climbed very well.
Areas to work on until the final round of Blokfest and the next round of the YCS in about a month’s time.
Thanks must go to Climbers Against Cancer for the clothing, Urbanrock for their constant support alongside Scarpa and Crimp Clothing for supporting one or more of our climbers and Surrey Sports Park for the support with the squad.
Here are some pictures from the day:
A huge congratulations to Matthew Phillips who came 3rd at the BMC / MCofS (The Mountaineering Council of Scotland) #ParaClimbing competition which took place at EICA Ratho at the weekend.
For those that have watched Matt train over the last 10 months at Craggy Island Indoor Climbing, Surrey Sports Park and White Spider will testify to how hard he has worked and how far he has come as a climber.
Matt had only climbed four times (parties) when we met in February 2014. His progress has been incredible.
I have no doubt Matt will use this as fuel and we will see him on the top step and international circuit soon.
A quick write up and more pictures can be seen here.
The Surrey Sports Park Performance Squad have been working hard this year and they continue to do so.
With the British opens rapidly approaching the team have upped their commitment and efforts in order to perform at these competitions.
With the help of the Surrey Sports Park Strength and Conditioning team (Nick), they are focusing on becoming athletes by improving all-round fitness, strength and power whilst reducing any imbalances and likelihood of injuries.
Here are a few videos and pictures of certain members showing their current form.
Although the team were swamped with the flu (or heavy cold) at the BLCCs, I am confident with their progression and for us, it highlights how any shape/size can progress with enthusiasm and drive whilst following a dedicated and specific training plan.
If you want to find out more about a plan for you, do not hesitate to contact me on firstname.lastname@example.org.
Yesterday was the White Spider Climbing Centre‘s 2nd birthday and to celebrate, they put on SEND, a bouldering competition featuring many other twists to make it a great day out for all.
10am saw the “Fun” competition start. Now this was open to all adults and junior climbers, including performance squad members up to 14 years old.
The problems were varied and tough! Set by Percy Bishton, Yann Genoux and Evie Cotrulia the problems were always going to be of a good calibre, but the real test pieces and great competition blocs were saved for the “Elite” competitors which started at 1pm. This was open to all those that were competition climbers including squad members above the age of 14 and GB members too. They were in with a chance of winning £1000 cash!!
I was there along with some of the Surrey Sports Park squad who featured both in the “Fun” and “Elite” category. For us, this was a good chance to see where we all are at the beginning of our new programme – specific weaknesses and areas for improvement – ready for team and individual climbing coaching sessions.
The squad performed well and as expected had certain weaknesses, we can go away and focus on. They loved the problems and the other features – such as a Slackline masterclass and high-line, the “leap of faith”, Wild Country Crack machine, mobile pizza oven, face-painting and some great DJs.
The squad went around in little groups – Kat, Rosie and Maddy; Issy and Fin; Jake and Rob, then the older ones all seemed to muck in – Phoebe, Rachel, James and Sam.
Each squad member had highlights, but it was great to see Issy Adams win the female youth competition (Fun) and Jake Collins come in 3rd for the males.
The older members were against adult competitors, such as Gaz Parry, Jon Partridge and Matt Cousins, so it was good for them to get beta and be inspired, as well as getting some tips for some of the problems, but non of them made the finals – next year!
Sam did perform very well and impressed the top boys and GB team too.
Thanks to all involved in organising for making it a good competition and day out for all ages – and the setters for their great blocs!
To keep up to date with the performance squad and other clients’ progress, as well as more information about climbing coaching please like and subscribe to my Facebook page.
Every climber will at some point hit a plateau. You will rack your brains and keep climbing, but no change – your next grade seems just as far away.
Whether you are a relative beginner and need technique coaching, or an experienced climber trying to break the higher grades, I can help you from coaching sessions to bespoke detailed plans – specific to YOU.
I will be highlighting some case studies over the coming months, but over the last 8 months alone ALL of my clients have achieved their goals. Whether that came from technique sessions, training sessions and/or a training programme my clients have made huge improvements (safely) and continue to do so.
From youth climbers going from 5+ to onsighting 7a in 6 months, teenagers going from 7a to 8a or adults with full-time jobs breaking the key grade barriers – from 6a-7b+ and from 5-6c+ all in less than 6 months.
I have a 100% return rate and am 100% confident I will be able to help you achieve your goals too.
Every year the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) host the Youth Climbing Series. This year, the London and south east region was split into two smaller sub-regions – north and south. This meant the first two rounds were essentially qualifying rounds to the regional finals.
This year I have been coaching various youth climbers in the region and the whole of the Surrey Sports Park squad alongside Guy Davenport. For those that I have been coaching since January peaked perfectly. The whole team (those going to Ratho and those staying at home) were going from strength to strength – peaking perfectly for the British finals.
For those that I have been coaching outside the squad, it has been a matter of working on their weaknesses and getting used to competition stresses, both physically and mentally looking at various comp practice sessions.
The day arrived and I have to say I was excited more than anything. Really looking forward to how they were all going to climb. I was confident in their training and their current form and rightly so.
From Surrey Sports Park, we were taking Up Sam Jenner (boys B), Issy Adams (girls C) and Finley Adams (boys E). From outside the squad, Imogen Horrocks (girls B), Beth Christian (girls D) (who are part of the White Spider squad) and Amelie Clarke (girls E).
The format for the finals proves really hard for the climbers to stay warm and prepared for their next climb, switching from boulder problem to route and vice versa constantly. Along with the huge rests between climbs the temps in the arena meant that the climbers were constantly in need of a pulse raiser to get the blood pumping and warm up climbs.
It would be far too long a blog to go on about individual moves and climbs, but all of the guys did incredibly well, helping London and south east win for the 5th year on the trot!
For full results click here
Highlights were Immy putting in a strong performance on the girls route 1 and flashing all of the problems to come in 3rd;
Sam tearing down everything in his path, getting the hardest boulder problem 3rd try (which was quicker than any other), flashing his first two routes and making a few tiny errors on his third route to put him 5 points off 1st;
Issy climbing her heart out – flashing all routes, flashing first two problems and then making a little error getting her third boulder second go. This actually meant 2 climbers were tied for first and two third (Issy). As a result, after cooling down and thinking the long day was over, we (myself, Freddie Naish and Issy) were put behind the wall and into isolation ready to try Boys A route 3! Issy had never been in this experience for real, so it was straight into her home comforts – routine warm up, and reassurance that she just needed to climb as she had been and have fun – she went out and got higher than anyone else – higher than some of boys A;
Last but not least, Fin – he worked hard throughout the day, putting in some beastly performances, highlighting how strong this little guy is. Finley came in 2nd this year and it really was well deserved. He looks up to many of the world cup circuit climbers and I have full confidence that he will be up there in the future too.
Beth Christian came a very respectable 5th and Amelie 10th!!! GREAT EFFORT!
All of these names will be very prominent in the competition climbing in the coming years so keep your eyes out for them.
Three from Surrey and three on the podium.
It was a long day, but everyone enjoyed it. The routes were set well, although I believe there were some last minute admin changes meaning boys B had a 4, 5+ then 7b/+ for routes?
Despite being a long day, the competitors don’t actually climb that much, so as a reward (always planned), we drove south and climbed at Carrock Fell with some good friends taking Sam (Jenner) along with us.
Not ideal temps, but the boy showed his training had paid off – showing us all up really!!!
Two V5s, a V7 3rd go, a hard V8 within 5 and a V8 flash! This was his 5th day out on the rock.
I would like to thank all of the parents who have supported the efforts of the team and driven their children from wall to wall to help us deliver our programme. On top of that, Climbers Against Cancer for the tops and Theraband for the warm up goodies. Sam is also supported by Scarpa and Crimp Clothing.
For now a rest period and on to the next competitions. These guys are climbing so well, it is just so exciting to see how they perform at each comp. A few new additions to the team and we will really be pushing things to the next level, watch this space.