/ SPA Assessment Advice
I will be undertaking my SPA Assessment this November and want a little advice.
I am completing this award mainly to use at the school I work at and will be delivering all climbing sessions to students under the age of 16 when completed. I have shadowed many different climbing instructors and have lead many sessions for friends etc but have not been able to see how adult sessions are run. for example, warm ups with young people can be made fun and exiting whereas adults usually need a different approach. does anyone have any advice on what would be appropriate for including in an adult session and or know of any good resource books/videos on this information?
I wouldn't fret about that one. If asked just say "here's what I do with the kids" and make it something people can laugh about.
Hi Jason, have a word with any of the walls and ask if you could shadow a session. Alternatively look through the classified adverts for freelance instructors and send a polite email/ phone call and ask if you could come along to help out.
Why do you feel that a warm up with adults can't be fun and exciting?
well it could be but surely you have to approach it differently to how you would young people?
I like your post. Nice to see an aspirant SPA taking the trouble to think about different scenarios, rather than just getting the piece of paper as quickly as possible.
The suitability of a particular warm-up activity is obviously dependent on the crag and its surrounding terrain, as well as on the numbers, experience and physical condition of your clients. There are, of course, various other factors: session time constraints, weather conditions, etc.
Of paramount importance is safety of the group. Sounds obvious but in practice it's easy to get priorities distorted. For example, bouldering/spotting can be a great idea but perhaps not on slippery rock or with muddy sloping ground underneath, or if your group have unsuitable footwear. Dynamic warm up exercises and those involving stretching exercises can be good, but these may be unsuitable if there's a significant risk of injury.
Personally, I tend not to do exercise or game-based warm-ups with adult groups outdoors. There are various other ways in which a warm-up can be provided. A walk-in to the crag will provide a general aerobic warm-up, as will a visit to the crag top with the whole group. If you are in the position of having to meet the group before setting up, consider taking them all to the crag top with you, and get them to carry some ropes. You can get them interested in the rigging process (be clear about safe/unsafe zones at the cliff top).
A more climbing-specific warm up will often not be necessary, but if it seems warranted, and the terrain is suitable, a short session of easy, low-level bouldering is good for adults. You can introduce spotting skills, as well as a variety of movement skills. Gentle stretching can be done on the rock by maintaining foot and handholds while moving the centre of gravity around.
If a game-based warm-up seems called for, some of the more difficult group games are fun for adults and, if suitably challenging, shouldn't be perceived as patronising. Those which involve both mental skills and physical coordination are likely to be most suitable (I was recently shown a great one called The Typewriter). A bit of Googling should give you some ideas.
Yes, obviously adults and children need different approaches but you can still do things that adults find fun too. Bring the kit up as bpm has suggested works well with adults. And bigger kids as some may like the extra status and challenge of carrying ropes and the like too!!
Get in touch with some outdoor centres in the Peak District about observing some outdoor climbing sessions, looks great in your logbook and can be really beneficial towards your own development as a climbing instructor.
What an excellent post, I found this useful too as have wondered about how to translate the warm up and familiarisation games to an adult group. I saw an instructor getting a group of adults to do a series of traverses at a wall and he hung a whiteboard over one of the holds... they had to write a fact about themselves or draw a picture each time they passed the whiteboard; it worked as a warm up, provided a way in to talking about balance and basic technique and got everyone talking.
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