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General Climbing Discussion

Youngsters getting into Climbing

12:57:55 AM
I've recently had a few thoughts about the characteristics of the younger climbers in our school club.
What i mean is the attitude that they have as beginners.
Each year the club sees old climbers leave and new climbers start but only a select few actually persist in climbing and continue to come after a couple of sessions. Whenever we do a demonstration in the assembly (a very fun assembly i might add) we are overwhelmed by the young kids (year 7 especially) that pitch up. but as you'd expect after about 3-4 weeks only a few have stayed.
I've pinned it down to one aspect, their attitude and in a sense their maturity but im not sure if thats the right word.
Last year we several kids that were intent on doing EVERYTHING but climb, they were hyperactive, unstoppable and didn't really care about climbing although they figured it was "fun". They've given up now (thankfully) but from the start one could see that they just didn't have "it" (wat ever "it" is). This year we have several that have "it", they rock up every session (twice a week) and give 100% to try reach the next hold, and don't squeal and run away when you challenge them to try the overhang or the roof but rather smile and begin tying in.
From these experiences it's interesting to note that the ones that climb the best and try really hard are the more quiet, sensible and 'mature', at least at this age.
It is an absolute pleasure to coach these ones, watch them battle their way up a climb and push themselves. But even more pleasing is the smile that they have when they finish a climb and you know they're addicted like you are!!
4:47:09 PM
When I read your comment "more pleasing is the smile", it brought one to mine. I certainly can't offer any in depth analysis of youth in climbing and this, to a degree, will be a generalization. I am a late starter to climbing myself ( addicted and almost felt like you were describing my own reactions actually) but as a mother of two boys, can make some comment on the commitment to a sport or leisure activity that a younger person can make.

The testing of new sports or activities is a relentless trek of excitement and then waning interest - and yes, often to the frustration, and cost, of parents and those involved in the running of it. But despite this, it is the only, and natural way to go about it. The ones that drop off along the way, more often than not - it just wasn't their thing and they will move onto the next to try and find it. And the ones you describe with the smiles on the faces and determination have found something that gives them that wonderful rush but also fills that headspace enough to block out distractions. It's the right shoe for the right foot!
Many Year 7's still have the unfocused eyes of childhood and are just dipping their toes.

On a personal note, I have taken my 2 boys(eldest year 7) indoor climbing twice now,the second visit only last night. They have also been a couple of times with holiday camp groups. It was an absolute joy to see,in these early days, their desire to choose a route that would challenge them, and to be aware that they were putting their problem solving skills to use. Those smiles were so wide when they achieved what they wanted (I know that feeling!)
For me - I would love them to continue and I will encourage them every step of the way.
Both are problem solvers by nature and very athletic. Does this bode well? Only time will tell. Of course, now I will have to find new ways to finance this!

Anyway, check with me in a few months - it could be lawn bowls by then.

10:05:43 PM
On 3/06/2006 rubiblu wrote:
>The testing of new sports or activities is a relentless trek of excitement
>and then waning interest - and yes, often to the frustration, and cost,
>of parents and those involved in the running of it. But despite this,
>it is the only, and natural way to go about it. The ones that drop off
>along the way, more often than not - it just wasn't their thing and they
>will move onto the next to try and find it.

I agree rubiblu. The only way to know if you like something is to give it a go. Thank goodness not everyone loves climbing and I found at my school that not many people liked sports at all. I try to expose my daughter to lots of different activities and not just stick to what I like doing. Take note climbers! I find in most families kids just have to take on the 'family sport/s'. In mine it was more tennis! It bored me to tears! In high school, thanks to some school programs I was able to try some sports that I still do now. I think people often find a type of sport they like. eg. running sports or ball sports or speed sports or maybe endurance or extreme.

Sounds like a great school Sabu! I don't know of any schools with a climbing program like yours. It must be very satisfying for you to help those kids. It's a great job you're dong there matie!! Being involved in things like that can really change people's lives.

5:46:49 PM
Hello Mr Sabu,

It is a very fine thing that you are doing by introducing the young ones to the noble past-time of climbing.
How is it going these days? Still good I hope.
I have given this some thought, and have come to the conclusion that you need a hook (waving madly at you on the Friday funnies thread Mr hero!), to keep the young ones interested after they have tried the delights of your climbing wall.
You could really engage their adolescent minds long term by letting them know of such post-climbing activities as frequenting the fabulous Chockstone Website.
Why there they can learn charming new climbing vernacular (I swear by it!) words; learn how to ridicule other-state climbers (at least how they spell jamB!); learn the ethical nuances of retrobolting etc. Dare I mention it, they might even get a glimpse of the dark arts of Bouldering, Sport (grid) bolting, Clean-aid climbing (as opposed to bolt pulling in the name of sport?), and let us not forget Trad with all its vagaries from smearing to heel-hooking!!

You could also engage them in peripheral pursuits like climbing Photography (how to say nice things about anniversary shots); and you might even improve their geographical (where is Werribee Gorge again?); engineering (Don’t build a belay like that silly, do it this way!); chemistry (How to degrease your ropes dry-treatment by soaking in petrol!, or maybe is this glue right for bolts in a marine environment); historical (Did milk really climb with Hot Henry?, or maybe Why did Ewbank decide the pommie system of climb classification was less than desirable?); abilities!!!
All this without the further warm’n’fuzzy considerations of taking your beloved family pet to the crags and other such novelty topics.

The world is yours for the giving Mr Sabu and some time in the future you may be stopped in the street by a new generation advocate of climbing who will thank you for it!
Maybe even better is that some time further into the future when your climbing grades are old and ordinary, one of those youngsters may drag you up a marvelously hard climb for your pleasure!!

Kind regards,

9:03:09 PM
Sabu: It's bloody great when theres that connection. It's the best description. Some connect right away. others later, others maybe not at all but passion is contagious. It's pretty simple. You decide what your passion is then you spread it.

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