BMC Long Term Athlete Development: Learning to Train Workshop

Foot work exercises
Foot work exercises

I was very lucky to get a place on this brand new workshop that has been developed for the BMC by a small team of coaches, a scientist and a guide (although many of them fit two or more of these compartments). The workshop was going to move on from the BMC FUNdementals workshop that has been successfully running for several years now, and look particularly at the Biomechanics of more advance movement.

There are plans to develop further workshops that will fit roughly with the idea that performance has three major pathways biomechanic, physiological and cogntive. The next one planned is the one on training which is more the physiological determinates of performance, and then one of the more psychological aspects.

What these learning to train workshops seemed to be aimed at is the terrain the climbing takes place on so FUNdementals looks at indoor slabs and vertical, this learning to train looks at more vertical to overhanging terrain. As the courses develop and they move onto the training to train, training to compete and training to win. The emphasis will shift to steeper and harder terrain. Whilst the course are aimed specifically at indoor climbing and the Long-term develop of athletes. Much of the content can be adapted to outdoor climbing.

Corked Footholds to promote accuracy
Corked Footholds to promote accuracy

The stages of the long-term athlete development model (LTAD), is based on Istvan Bayli’s late specialisation model, which climbing fits better than the early specialisation model. My one minor bug bear is the use of the model for competition. Interestingly Canoe Sport uses a parallel system that refers to the stages in to ways. So Training to win is referred to as training to excell, making it seem more openly inclusive to the ‘recreational’ participation, of which climbing has a lot. It is only a name though, the content is still key, and that is what the organisers have done well.

Specifically this workshop was aimed at children of a set biological age, which is set out by Bayli in his LTAD model, that highlights key ages to focus on specific aspects of training or performance. With key times for training agility, coordination, technique, aerobic fitness, and strength.

Labeling different type of handholds and making a problem
Labeling different type of handholds and making a problem

The course was almost a trial run for the organisers, so we had the benefits of four of the organisers Ian Dunn, Dave Binney, Katherine Schumacher and Neil Johnson. The course is about to be rolled out across the country, and could well be coming to a wall near you soon. You will have needed to attend the FUNdementals workshop prior to attending the course.

What was even better was that some of the stuff these four great minds of training have come up with is basically the content of my fourth coming book. As such whilst i have worked in isolation, I feel that I have managed to reach similar results from a different angle. However many of my exercises are more specific to the outdoors.

The course looked at using footholds and handholds, more advance climbing features like corners and aretes, steep rock technique and reading routes. All had various games or exercises that can be adapted to virtually any climbing wall, and used both bouldering and on routes.

Anyway I am off to see what parts of this course I can apply to my outdoor rock climbing coaching with adults. Mainly because I don’t spend that much time teaching young people indoor nowadays.

Corked Footholds to promote accuracy
Corked Footholds to promote accuracy

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