/ Coaching

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GridNorth - on 28 Nov 2012
How has it come about that a person can coach climbing without any formal qualification but in order to instruct one needs some form of certificate. I know this only applies to under 18's but it seems a little odd. How do those who administer this ensure that coaching does not involve any instruction? I would have thought it would be quite easy to stray into instructor mode. How can you coach trad climbing without resorting to use of the rope?

John
The Ex-Engineer - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to GridNorth: You seem to be a bit confused.

You don't need any qualifications in order to professionally instruct or coach anyone in anything climbing and mountaineering related.

The only complication is where the person you are instructing/coaching is under 18, is NOT accompanied by their parents, you are getting paid for it and you are doing so outside on rock. At that stage you need to be covered by an AALA license but that still doesn't mean that the instructor/coach necessarily needs any qualifications.

Also, when it comes to the licensing regulations they make no mention or distinction between instructing or coaching. The only issue in question is whether the activity being undertaken constitutes 'climbing, traversing, abseiling and scrambling activities except on purpose-designed climbing walls or abseiling towers' and whether the other criteria have been met; namely that the participant is under 18 and not accompanied by parents and that someone is being paid in relation to the activity.

The HSE would take a very dim view of anyone attempting to argue that coaching under-18s professionally in climbing outdoors, no matter how it was done, was in any way exempt from the regulations.
GridNorth - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to GridNorth: Ok, that's very enlightening but I think that you are playing with words a little there.
AlH - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to GridNorth: How so? He has summed things up quite well.
There is no law that says you have to have any certification to Instruct Climbing unless you are undertaking an activity covered by the Adventure Activity Licensing Act.
Competence to undertake activities can also be shown in other ways than holding a National Governing Body Award or other 'certificate':
"According to the Health and Safety Executive there are four ways to demonstrate the competence of leaders, namely: to hold the relevant national qualification, to hold an equivalent qualification, to have received appropriate in-house training or to be competent through experience"
Mountain Training National Guidelines for Climbing and Walking Leaders 1.4 pg 14
So whilst a Certificate (especially one provided by a NGB) is a robust way to demonstrate competence its not the only way. Many very experienced climbers and coaches hold no certification in climbing or coaching but have run training attended by certificated instructors (including me) and very valuable it has been. My own experience of these sessions is that they have very much been aimed at coaching performance and movement in climbers who are already competent in the skills needed in that environment (be it the wall or the crag). No attempt was made to teach ropework, knots or gear placement. In fact most of this coaching took place in a bouldering environment.
Mountain Training are also in the process of creating an award scheme for coaching in climbing. Owing to the practicalities of creating such a scheme it will initially be aimed at the lower end of the performance spectrum. How far it develops remains to be seen.
GridNorth - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH: Yes he did sum it up very well and I acknowledged that despite my confusion. Perhaps I didn't explain myself very well so I'll try a different tack. There appears to be different standards applied with regard to the two disciplines, "Instructing" and "Coaching" and I was wondering why. I don't mean legal requirements and H&S but rather expectations and what appears to be happening out there.

As an aside, I'm not sure how anyone can claim to give trad climbing coaching if all they do is teach body movement on a bouldering wall but we can let that pass for now.
biscuit - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to GridNorth:

Would it improve your trad climbing ? If so the have coached your trad climbing.

Again it may be playing with words but this ( and life in general ) is not black and white.

As the others have said it is generally taken that you will not be instructing in safety aspects of climbing therefore there are different standards.

I took it that you meant from a legal/insuarnce point of view as well so if that's not what you meant what do you mean by: " expectations and what appears to be happening out there." ?
AlH - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to GridNorth: Ok I begin to see where you are coming from now (and the coaching on the bouldering wall was movement based not trad climbing- I do know of one trad 'coach' who purely focuses on psychology).
The issue of the perceptions and expectations of people with regards to climbing coaching is quite interesting. I was running an SPA training today where one of the students was the parent of 2 keen talented children who are climbers. She commented something along the lines that if she wanted someone to teach them knots (she was alluding to safety skills, systems and techniques) she could see the value in hiring a certificated instructor (someone whose ability to impart safe techniques has been ratified by a knowldegeable body) but that for coaching she'd go for an inspirational climber with fair communication skills every time. Perhaps that was because she has less ability to measure the effectiveness of the person imparting safety information herself whereas the coach's influence is self evident and measurable to her in terms of her children's enjoyment and improvement?
GridNorth - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to biscuit:
> (In reply to GridNorth)
>
> I took it that you meant from a legal/insuarnce point of view as well so if that's not what you meant what do you mean by: " expectations and what appears to be happening out there." ?

To a large extent I did but tried to steer away from that because of the responses. Trying to frame a meaningfull sentence after a bottle of Shiraz was probably not a good idea. What is they say about "when you are in a hole stop digging", well I've put my shovel away now and the wine is finished. :-)
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GridNorth - on 28 Nov 2012
In reply to AlH: I like that distinction, it explains a lot even if it is only from the consumers perspective.

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