In order to sustain a long and happy climbing life, at any level, it's important to climb well. People who learn to climb well have many options available to them, for example they might go on to climb socially, climb for fitness, climb for adventure, climb for work or climb competitively. As well as this blend of motivations, climbers come from the full spectrum of age bands which suggests that it's not something you'll ever have to give up.
So how do you 'climb well'?
If you're new to climbing, as with any sport, it's a good idea to learn the basics first. These basic skills will set you up for a lifetime of climbing and discovery, and are based around understanding how your body moves in order to climb efficiently.
Foundation Coaches are the ideal people to introduce these basic skills because they are climbers who have completed a nationally accredited climbing coach training and assessment process. This means they have some structure and coaching know-how to add to their own valuable climbing experience. They love climbing and they want you to love it too, which is why they're committed to giving you the best possible start. If you learn the basics early on, you will make quicker progress and ingrain good habits that will stay with you for the rest of your climbing life.
What is a Foundation Coach?
This short film outlines the essence of what makes a Foundation Coach. Coaches fulfil the same role in every sport: they develop people and performance. That performance will vary for each individual and at Foundation Coach level it's all about:
The Foundation Coach qualification is the first step on a pathway for climbing coaches developed by Mountain Training, the national awarding organisation for climbing qualifications. The following two levels are Development Coach and Performance Coach.
How do you become a Foundation Coach?
If all of the above sounds like something you'd like to get involved with, maybe you should think about aiming to become a Foundation Coach. Prior to training you need to register for the scheme with Mountain Training which incurs a small fee. This fee covers access to both the Foundation Coach and Development Coach qualifications, so if you decide to progress further in the future there'll be no stopping you.
To register you must be at least 16 years old, have a genuine interest in climbing and the coaching of groups and be a member of a mountaineering council (BMC, Mountaineering Scotland or Mountaineering Ireland). Prior to attending a Foundation Coach training course you must have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop run by one of the mountaineering councils. This workshop constitutes the 'what to coach' element of training, which means the training course can focus more on 'how to coach'.
Safe supervision of climbers is the third element of becoming a coach and this can be obtained by gaining the Climbing Wall Award or through an in-house accreditation (for example, from the wall you work at). This element must be in place prior to Foundation Coach assessment.