70 of Scotland's best

The 2018 Scottish Youth Squad selection weekend was an epic two-day showcase of just how strong Scotland's young climbers are. With a selection competition, a massive coaching day, 70 kids and 16 coaches, this was intense!


The 2018 YCS qualifying rounds are finished. All the 120+ little crushers that competed put in an awesome effort over the three north and three south rounds, and we now have our 70-strong Scottish Youth Squad. Well done to everyone who competed and helped make this year’s rounds so much fun. Massive thank you all the route setters and volunteers who make these events possible.


The 2018 format

The format chosen for this year was a new one. But why?

Well, we now have to put forward a team of only 30 for the YCS finals. The 2017 format, with the Scottish finals, did give us that top 30. However, the youngsters who didn’t make that Scottish team went home with nothing to show for their efforts and little support to help them come back strong for 2018. We had to do something more.

So we created the new format. This allowed us to have three rounds, giving plenty competition experience for those going on to the finals, and this selection weekend allowed us to gain the 30 Scotland Team members for the YCS finals.


More importantly this format now gives us a 70-strong Scottish Youth Squad. We now have the chance to offer equal opportunities for coaching at the same level and quality across Scotland, where currently high level coaching only exists in a small number of places. This will help develop a nationwide, high level coaching scene and help drive the development of our young climbers.


The Saturday Selection day

Saturday… competition day… time to select the Scottish YCS finals team

Scotland’s strongest youth, came together for one last competition: the competition that would give us the top 30 kids who would go on as the Scotland Team to the YCS finals next month.


As they entered the room they were greeted with a fresh set of 11 routes and 10 boulder problems on possibly the most intimidating wall at EICA Ratho... The Justice panel!


This didn’t stop them! All 70 got stuck in, trying to crush the routes and problems. A hard set of climbs for them all meant maximum effort was given by everyone, and we got to see some amazing climbing all day. It really showed how much these kids love climbing and how much they wanted it. Inspiring to watch.


With the day rounding up early at 15:15 (unheard of!), we had our Scotland YCS Team. Well done to everyone who put in such an effort all day, and congratulations to our team who will go on to compete at the finals.

Massive thank you all the route setters who helped set some challenging and awesome climbs across all the rounds this year: Robbie Phillips, Gaz Vincent, Jay Carr, Euan McFadyen, Matt Berry, Neill Busby, Lisandro Defays, John Milloy, Rob Thomas, Paul Freudenthal, Michaela Howett, Willis Morris, Euan Ryan, Rebekah Drummond, Michael Mason, Duncan Anderson, Johnny Williams, Andy Munro, Calum Mcbain and Robert MacKenzie.

The Scottish YCS Team

Sunday coaching day

A national coaching academy for the 70 best kids in the country! Not nervous at all!


Having only one national academy a year, we have to make this count, make this worthwhile, and make it awesome. Hard to do with such a range of ages and abilities, but I think we did it!

What we aimed for was an opportunity for the kids from the North and South to work together, something they never get to do, but also to offer them something they won’t normally get during normal climbing sessions.

The Workshops

With the help of our GB Squad Representative Rachel Carr, we created a day of workshops, talks and climbing that would cover the most important parts of competition climbing that aren’t often covered in the average climbing session.


The squad was split into their categories and were taken through the different workshops, including international competition style boulder problems, competition psychology, route reading, warm-up tactics and injury prevention.


With either a personal coach for the day, or three coaches at each workshop they visited, there was loads of wisdom floating around for the kids to learn from.


The fun

But it wasn’t all intense learning, there was lots of fun being had all day. Despite being absolutely knackered from two days' climbing there were still plenty smiles, giggles and silliness being shared by all 70 of our squad.


I think the most intense learning part of the day was everyone trying to get this dance right! (I still can’t.)


The coaches

To make a day for 70 of Scotland best as awesome as it could be, we needed a coaching team of Scotland's best. Plucked from all over the country, we had an amazing coaching team to work with: Rachel Carr, Robbie Phillips, William Bosi, Neil Busby, Pete Langlands, Christie Macleod, Jay Carr, Matt Berry, Rebekah Drummond, Michaela Howett, Paul Freudenthal, Hannah Francis, Ian Rendall, Ella Spence, Calum McBain and Robert MacKenzie.

Some big names in there! Massive thank you to all our coaches who put is so much effort to make this day so good. With our 70 kids working with these coaches throughout the year, they are going to be tanks! Huge thank you to Rhonwyn Smith from The Muscle and Movement Company for running the injury prevention workshop. Big thank you to our two photogrpaher Sandy Carr and Iain Bain, and as always a special thank you to Scott and Lindsay Forsyth, John, Elaine and Scott Donaldson and Avril Gall for making sure all our rounds ran smoothly. Stars!


Thank you to the Scottish Youth Squad for making this weekend so much fun for all, thank you to everyone who competed in the YCS this year and to all our setters, volunteers and coaches who make all of this possible.

You guys rock!

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