Today I attended the BMC FUNdamental Course run by Katherine Schirrmacher. Katherine is an experienced Mountaineering Instructor and one of the first generations of Climbing Coaches. This is my first foray into the coaching of Rock Climbing. Now, there is a long discussion to be had as to the difference between Coaching and Instruction when it comes to climbing. I do beleive that coaching is a very important part of an Instructors role in bringing on a climbers 'soft skills' as opposed to the 'hard skills' of learning how to tie knots and build belays etc.
After the initial introduction we looked into warm up methods for both adults and kids. It was very much a peer to peer learning experience with all the attendees able to give there own ideas with Katherine filling in the gaps in our collective knowledge.
We played a few 'Warm Up Games' (for which FUNdamentals is famous for) and discsussed the problems of warm ups in restricted areas and differnt methods that can be used.
By this stage I had managed to get my breath back after being the Cat in the Cat and Mouse Game. Katherine moved the discussion on to understanding movement skills and discussed our knowledge of the Centre of Gravity and what relevance this has to people climbing in control. Though we all knew the importance of CoG to climbing it was interesting to see Katherine's different methods of illustrating this to clients (Luminous bands on Ankles and chalk bags and then video).we also climbed blind folded which was a very strange experience but did focus the mind somewhat.
The rest of the afternoon was spent discussing footwork and hand holds. We all had to come up with ideas as to how we would coach people about foot placement and avoiding
Continual Foot replacement
Not using the correct side of foot
Not trusting the foot placement
The Photo's above and to the side show some of different methods we came up with. Hover on the photo's to get a fuller description.
We then moved into the Classroom to cover a little more theory on Long Term Participant Development and more of the science behind the ages that children can really start taking on different types training. This was very interesting as it was not an area that I had ever thought of.
One of the main things that I took from the course was that Coaching is NOT for the Elite Climbers only. There is a lot more to Coaching than most people realise and it is also NOT just for indoor climbing. A lot of the coaching skills I learnt today could be taken outside. Why not throw in a quick Top rope session at the end of a day to carry out some movement techniques, footwork techniques, jamming techniques?