The Orkney Climbing Club has some of the most dedicated young upcoming climbers I have ever worked with. Last weekend they showed ClimbScotland Regional Development Officer, Robert, exactly what they were made of...

ClimbScotland coaching academies

Over the past couple of years ClimbScotland has run youth coaching academies aimed at offering high level coaching for young climbers in Scotland. Places on these academies are available to all and provide a twice yearly chance to gather together the nation's upcoming talent for a couple of days of intense climbing coaching.

This year we will be running additional local coaching academies. These will offer coaching to young climbers more regularly, and also offer training opportunities to coaches across the country. We have kicked off this new initiative with two days of coaching and fun with the Orkney Climbing Club recently, and what a weekend it was.

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Movement coaching

Arriving at the Pickaquoy Climbing Wall, senior instructor, Ian Rendall, and I started work setting up some new challenges and exercises for the kids to test themselves on. As we dragged out some of the gymnastics equipment, kids started arriving with a look of terrified excitement.

"movement circuit thing was really fun"

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This 'assault course' style circuit featured different activities, all designed to help practice different climbing techniques. Flagging, rock overs, various types of weight transfer - without realising it, all the kids used these techniques in order to complete the challenges.

"I thought that it was great. The circuit thing was really good because it was fun and was at a good level for everyone."

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The look of terrified excitement quickly turned to hyper-excitement when they realised how fun some of the challenges were, even I wanted a go! The rope bridge, proved to be the most popular and they made it look easy, even though it's trickier than it seems.

"really good and interactive and there wasn't any pressure to do anything which made it friendlier for the younger ones"

"Rob, Ian and Ella were all really friendly and made everyone feel comfortable. They would push you to try, but made you know it was okay if you couldn't do something. I enjoyed it a lot"

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Fun competitions

After warming up their skills on the obstacle course, we had a little fun competition.

On Saturday, the kids moved to the boulder cave and we created brand new boulder problems for them to try. The kids made the climbs and we taped them up. I was impressed with how creative the problems were and will be stealing some ideas myself.

On Sunday, we used new routes that had been set on Friday. It's great to see how strong these guys are and how much they have improved over the past few years. Orkney is now home to a really great team that's inspiring to watch.

And what better way to round up a coaching session on movement, than with the best movement game ever... Twister!
Massive thank you to Pickaquoy Leisure Centre and Ian Rendall for having us, and a huge thank you to the Orkney Climbing Club for making this such a success.


If you have a club or a local climbing group and you are interested in developing coaching, then get in touch with us at: info@climbscotland.netOrkney YA 6

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