Young coach, Christie MacLeod

Christie has been climbing for 10 years since she was eight years old. After competing in Scottish and British climbing competitions and climbing in many locations across the UK and Europe, she has started coaching. We asked her a couple of questions about what it's like to be a coach...

Tell us about your climbing. Where did you start and how did you progress?

I started climbing with my dad when I was 11. I soon joined the Young Explorers Scotland club and started competing after a few months. I have competed in the Scottish youth climbing series finals, Scottish school climbing competitions, as well as in Scottish and British climbing and bouldering finals.

When I was 15 I joined the Glasgow Youth Team which was where I really started to progress. The structured training and atmosphere of motivation had a huge impact on me and my climbing came on hugely during my time on the team. It also meant I could meet and train which other climbers my age and level which has had a lasting benefit.


How long have you been coaching?

I've been coaching for almost two years. I became a coach at Glasgow Climbing Centre - supporting the team I was previously a member of!

How did you become a coach?

I had always liked the idea of coaching climbers, so when I became too old for the youth team I started coming along to shadow evening coaching sessions. I did this for a couple of months until I was able to run my own sessions.

What interests you about coaching?

What interests me most is how rewarding it is to see kids progress and develop their climbing. Every day's coaching is different and there is a huge amount of enjoyment and satisfaction to be gained from it.


How many kids are on the team?

42 young people in total. The main team consists of 36, split over two sessions, and we also run an aspirant team of six.

That is a lot of kids, it must be difficult keeping up with them all?

They are split into groups with each coach being responsible for six kids per session. Training plans and session plans are written up and filed so that each child's training can be tracked and managed.

There is always plenty of opportunity to watch how kids outwith your own group are getting on and the coaching team has regular discussions about how it’s going so we don't have any trouble keeping up with them.

Do you plan to continue coaching?

Definitely. I plan to study physiotherapy next year, so coaching will only get more interesting and rewarding.


You're not much older than some of the kids on the team, does this cause you any problems?

I actually think it’s a huge benefit to my coaching. Being young and having been in the same position as the kids so recently allows me to coach with a level empathy which would otherwise be difficult to achieve. At first it was tricky with the older kids, especially those I'd trained with myself, but it wasn't a problem for long.

You're currently working through your coaching awards, what hints and tips could you offer a young person who wants to start coaching?

The most useful thing I did when I was starting out was definitely shadowing other coaches and looking at their training plans. The more experience you can gain from working with and watching existing coaches the better.

The coaching awards and FUNdamentals courses have been really useful too. They are especially useful for getting ideas about coaching younger kids just starting out, as they cover a huge amount at beginner level which was where I initially struggled with coaching, as that period of my own climbing seemed so long ago.

Photos by Finalcrux Films

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