We provide a series of technical top tips in our newsletters. These are based on the enquiries we receive via our website and on questions our Technical Officer and Coach Development Team get asked at the sessions they run.

These tips will be added to this webpage. We hope they help!

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Running a great session Here are some top tips for running a great climbing session:

  • Plan and prepare for the session in advance
  • Make sure you are familiar with the activity and can explain it easily
  • Give thought to the sequence and relevance of games/activities, try to ensure variety and follow an inactive session (route reading/knot tying/etc) with something active (climbing/bouldering/working cruxes/etc)
  • Choose activities suitable to the size of the group, the space available and areas of the wall used
  • Be prepared to adapt activities to make them relevant to suit different ages, mentalities and abilities
  • Be prepared to act as a role model and take part
  • Give plenty of praise and encouragement
  • Be enthusiastic and have a sense of humour!
Competition preparation WWe have the following tips on getting prepared for a competition (for climbers, parents and coaches)

  • Pack and prepare the climbing bag the night before
  • Always be on time for training and sessions and the competition, allow time for roadworks and weather
  • Give or encourage 100% at training and competition
  • Teach them how to tie their shoe laces and put their own climbing shoes on
  • Stay properly hydrated and fuelled throughout the day
  • Warm up before every route, not just the once at the start of the day
  • Let them dream that they can be Shauna Coxsey or Adam Ondra, but don’t give them any expectations
  • Make sure competitors know the order of the routes and boulder problems
  • Get them to other walls to experiment with different setting, angles and hold types, let them see what it’s all about.
  • Watch suitable climbing training and competition videos on YouTube
  • Research the walls they will be competing at
  • Win or lose, flash or fail, love the sport
  • Parents, tell them you love watching them climb
  • Have fun and take every experience as an opportunity to learn and get better.
Thoughts on coaching Some thoughts and notes from our Technical Officer about the responsibilities of coaching:

I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say "Because of you I didn’t give up". As coaches, we have a responsibility to ensure the well being of our clients. Whatever the sport we have a duty of care. Coaching tips can be found on page 8 of both the NICAS Climbing and NICAS Bouldering coaching handbooks. Here is a list of statements that should remind us what we are doing and why we do it:

  • Coaches should remember that the sport you deliver may be linear and structured, but the young people you deliver to are complex, developing and human
  • As a coach you should remember it’s about fun, learning and social engagement
  • Goals that you set as coaches should be appropriate and achievable
  • Children grow and develop physically at different rates and varying ages – know your participants!
  • Over training and overuse injuries are directly related to training volume and intensity
  • A good coach will make people see what they can be not what they are
  • Good coaches give people the most important life lesson; they believe in them
  • Coaches are not there to join in and participate, they are there to help people identify the areas they need to improve and set targets
  • What makes a good coach? Complete dedication
  • Sport is undertaken physically, experienced psychogically and understood socially. Coaches need to understand their athletes in this context
  • Coaches should avoid negative criticism and controlling statements
  • Coaches should spend as much time developing their coaching skills as their climbing/sports skills
  • A coach can use the STRIDE model:
    • Strength – What's going well & working?
    • Target – What needs working on and could be better?
    • Reality – What's the current situation, causing problems or obstacles?
    • Ideas – What have you tried, what did or didn’t work, what would you do if the obstacles were not there?
    • Decisions – What are you going to do, what are the steps, when will you do it, what support is needed?
    • Evaluate – How will you know it has worked, what will be different?
  • Coaches should remember, if plan ‘A’ didn’t work the alphabet has 25 other letters!

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