I’ve recently started picking up some work as a climbing coach and have been looking for resources to help me become better at it. I’m at the stage where I’ve done a bit of coaching, really enjoyed it and now have a great thirst for knowledge on the most effective use of my own training time and how to give my clients the best value for money.
So I’ve scoured the internet and found quite a few handy videos, podcasts and articles that will help you become a better climber and a better rock climbing coach.
Climbing Coach Basics – BMC FUNdamentals
This was my starting point and it was a really good introduction into what coaching in climbing looks like. From my exposure in other sports, I used to think that a climbing coach set routes (i.e go and climb 5 routes at your max grade or one below) and the shouted-up beta which may or may not be useful to the climber. The BMC FUNdamentals course changed that for me and it gave me a new and deeper understanding of what coaching is. You can find out more about the courses, the location and how to book here thebmc.co.uk/fundamentals-workshops
After that I started to piece together bits of information and try out a few climbing drills, Sticky feet for example, but I was constantly on the lookout for other drills and ideas to practice skills. The key consideration is that the climbing needs to be fun, challenging and have a degree of progression so that it challenges everyone in the group.
Reddit – r/climbharder
Reddit has been a useful place to find links to other coaches out there. This thread on resources to improve your skill set has a brilliant reply from u/lm610
I’ve included the links below and expanded on them just in case anything happens to the Reddit post
Climbing Coach Podcasts
- Training beta – I really enjoy this podcast and it’s full of little gems. podbean.com/podcast-detail/4d9mr-3e890/The-TrainingBeta-Podcast-A-Climbing-Training-Podcast
- Strong Mind Podcast by Hazel Findlay – strongmindclimbing.com/podcast
- Power Climbing Company powercompanyclimbing.podbean.com/
- Baffle Days podcast podbean.com/podcast-detail/hd4u6-7f48e/BAFFLE-DAYS—Australian-Climbing-Podcast
- Training for climbing by Eric Hórst – trainingforclimbing.com/category/podcasts/
General Coaching and Learning Podcasts
- Learner Lab – This is focusing on how we can be better learners. It’s not climbing-specific but it’s a good listen on how we can develop as coaches and climbers. Season 3, The Audiobook is where I’ve started. open.spotify.com/show/1iw5fRaLK20KysDpv2MrZ0?si=Zn7Y7HxhRjuUwc3ccAUc1Q&dl_branch=1
- Dan John – Conversations on strength, health, fitness, life, coaching, and anything else that comes up – podbean.com/podcast-detail/u6v3y-d14f4/The-Dan-John-Podcast
- Tim ferris – Author best known for The 4-Hour Workweek –
- Main Podcast – podbean.com/podcast-detail/pjmfb-2ef49/The-Tim-Ferriss-Show-Podcast
- #375: Josh Waitzkin — How to Cram 2 Months of Learning into 1 Day – podbean.com/media/share/dir-wkzuc-666608a
- #412: Josh Waitzkin on Beginner’s Mind, Self-Actualization, and Advice from Your Future Self – podbean.com/media/share/dir-tazrg-8273715
- #55: The Science of Strength and Simplicity with Pavel Tsatsouline – podbean.com/media/share/dir-shak6-15a5073
- #57: Pavel Tsatsouline Answers Your 15 Most Popular Exercise Questions – podbean.com/media/share/dir-vyqp9-15a5071
Climbing Coach Books
- Brett Bartholomew, Conscious Coaching https://amzn.to/3XxqiuW
- Dave Macleod, 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistake https://amzn.to/3H1y9dt
- Eric Horst, Training for climbing https://amzn.to/3R1n8xh
- Kate Brown, Girl on the rocks https://amzn.to/3kAqgnN
- Rhodri S. LLoyd and Jon L. Olliver, Strength and Conditioning for Young Athletes https://amzn.to/3WvNZTa
- Sean Vigue, Power Yoga For Athletes https://amzn.to/3ZWMrVd
- Dr Jared Vagey, Climb Injury Free – (useful but lots of “Basic”) https://amzn.to/3H4wlQZ
- Dr Michael Merzenich, Soft Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life https://amzn.to/3WvOmNy
- Carol Dweck, Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential https://amzn.to/3J8wXYc
Links are affiliate links, I may receive a small payment from amazon which helps me support this blog.
- Train Ugly – youtube.com/user/SabiSushi1
- Ninja nerd lectures- youtube.com/c/NinjaNerdScience
- Sarah SendEdition – youtube.com/channel/UCAAyG437_Q-zfkoOThoAsqw
- Power Company Climbing – youtube.com/channel/UCZh3d0esu6d67-3JX7H7FCw
- C4HP – youtube.com/channel/UClut60GyyoJubQovvHlWdgw
- Rock Sense Coaching – youtube.com/channel/UCW3QTVxeTZDL98EFugZmGvA
- Bouldering Bobat youtube.com/user/omarbobat
- Magnus youtube.com/user/magmidt88
- Carol Dwyck the power of yet – youtube.com/watch?v=hiiEeMN7vbQ
- Jill Cook Current concepts in tendinopathy rehab youtube.com/watch?v=-kKzoi8Zrik
- Dr Merzenich youtube.com/watch?v=Z41BTeAU7DI
- Jain Kim vs Mina Markovic in Kranj 2011 – a side-by-side comparison of the Climbing world cup final in 2011 – youtube.com/watch?v=8JMZZkIqUlQ
- Also, watch good people climb. Not passively watching, really observe them. The way they move, how and when they clip, and where their balance and centre of gravity are. Pause the video and try and predict the next 5 moves. Go back and see how they grabbed that clip (was it a full, half crimp or open crimp).
- Watch climbing comps. Sport climbing and bouldering competitions.
- Crimpd – crimpd.com/
- Grippy – Hangboard workouts – Better with a “Motherboard” and Beastmaker hangboard – griptonite.io/grippy/
- Nike Fitness Club – General Sport – Some useful warmup routines and excellent demonstrations of techniques
Other Climbing Courses
- Strong Mind Climbing by Hazel Findlay strongmindclimbing.com – I’m currently doing the free taster course and I’ve heard Hazel on a few podcasts. I really get her approach to fall practice and that, as an innate fear, it’s something we need to work on.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do climbers have coaches?
Most amateur climbers won’t have a coach in the same way that most runners won’t have a coach.
However, some amateur climbers will reach a plateau in their climbing and will want to progress further and faster than they can on their own. That’s where a coach comes in.
Professional climbers almost certainly have a coach
How do you coach bouldering?
Depends on the level of the athlete. It may be that the novice needs coaching on basic movement skills and climbing techniques such as heel hooks. The more advanced athlete may need to work on jamming and bat-hangs. Good coaching is about making the session, fun, and engaging but also challenging and progressive. The links above are great resources.
What is a climbing partner called?
The person holding the rope as the climber climbs is called a belayer. The device they use is a belay device and the process is called belaying.
Do you need a climbing coach?
It depends on your objectives and where you are in your career but most people would find some coaching useful. It could be on how to lead climb and clip quickdraws, or it could be how to move efficiently up a boulder problem. While you could figure some of it out on your own, a coach will help you progress more.