/ ARTICLE: Coaching Kids - 7 ways 7 Year Olds Learn to Climb
When I take my kids to the wall, we take a few lego men and I put them on holds about ten feet off the deck. They have to climb up and save them. This way they are climbing, and learning how to move, without realising it. Quite a good method for getting kids climbing for fun and not just for the sake of climbing, which may seem quite pointless to some.
Duct tape and a sharpie are my go to bits of kit for small ones.
Rip a bit and fold it to make a post-it like thing and draw an emoji or simple pic for them to collect. They can then stick them to their t-shirt and climb down. Sometimes I'd draw spiders and put them on holds to eliminate, etc. Endless fun 😁
Love this idea! I will use it next time I take them to the wall. Cheers.
One of my local walls will lend out soft toy monkeys on request - great for wee kids to rescue, and gets them focussig above, rather than on the adult belayer far far below.
Many little kids like descending, or swinging around suspended, more than climbing, and I think adults should be cool with that. Immersion is all good, and if tinies are happy, that's a big tick right there.
One of the first things we purchased at our climbing wall 6yrs ago was a cuddly toy dog with magnets in its paws so it could stick to any holds. I would bumble up to the top of the wall and give her challenges to retrieve it. 6yrs on that toy hangs in my campervan whilst we travel the U.K. and Europe competing. Brilliant suggestion.
Our 3 year old loves his magnet monkey. Indeed a great motivator for the kid to rescue and with magnets you can ’fasten’ it to smaller holds (on the bolt).
One game I played with the kids when I was still coaching was a mod of the ducktape game mentioned by Jimbo. We used Post-it stickers and had letters on them. The Teams would try to climb the route in question and when one tops out, the team writes the letter down. The letters will tell them where the reward/treasure is.
we also did the laserpointer game where the kid points the holds to the climber. But this only works with a bit older ones (say 12 and up). I also required, that If the climber can’t do the move, then the pointer will need to do it (so no absurd dynos etc).
but Yeah, these were all done on a boulder wall
Watching my own kids grow, and being involved in cricket coaching myself, it's really noticeable how many established sports have developed a totally different approach to kids' development compared to when we were young; emphasis on fun skills and expressing yourself early, then gradually add things until by the early secondary school years they're doing the "real thing." (Hard ball cricket with normal rules, full contact rugby with contested scrums etc).
But I also notice lots of kids super keen across a range of sports who have given lots of it up by 16 or 17. I wonder what the long-term progression of climbing will look like in ten years' time?
And what counts as the "real thing?" (Trollbait!)
Get em beer mate
The International Federation of Sport Climbing (IFSC) has released an updated startlist for the IFSC Combined Qualifier event in Toulouse, France at the end of this month. As previously reported, a last-minute rule change made by the IFSC...