2010 Banff Coaches Conference

Over the weekend I went to Banff, Alberta with Aaron and Leigh to go to a coaching conference out on by Competition Escalade Canada (the Canadian version of USA Climbing).

Banff is beautiful even without snow, the three of us got to see a postcard worthy sunrise on the opposite side of Mt Rundle (pictured above) and even the architecture in the village is inspiring.

We spent about three days just outside of the main village at the Banff Centre for the conference being taught everything from strength training to nutrition and development stages of youth. Overall it was a very interesting and valuable experience. I found it great because over the last year I got thrust into instructing Youth Program at Spire and Coaching the Thundercats at the MSU climbing wall on campus. it also helped me from an athlete standpoint as well. Our keynote speaker Dr. Stephen Norris deals with Canadian Olympians for the winter Olympics. He talked to us about the relative ages that go into the Olympics and at what ages people normally have their best chances of making a podium finish. Most podium medals are given to athletes aged 26 to 29. It seems like every time I’ve gone to Canada I come back with a inspired vision of continuing to train and compete on an adult/national level. The North American Continental Championships I competed in in 2008 are the reason I still compete as an adult even though I finished second to last in the open category. Interestingly the only thing we did talk about was how to teach kids how to climb.

The main focus of the conference was three fold:

1.) Teach people how to be a coach and give them the tools to do so

2.) How to keep young athletes in climbing past the youth level (life long climbers/competitiors)

3.) Where we are going as a sport, nationally (Canada) and globally (Olympics)

The really new things to me were the periodization of training on macrocyles and microcycles. A macrocycle is a three part cycle with a 15 microcycles (one week) where you get a preperation phase, a competition phase, and a transition phase. without getting into the technical stuff to much I would pretty much take training and coaching as more of a lots and lots of micocycles in the competition phase without the transition or preperation phase. Now I’m going to try and work on the periodization of the Thundercats training regimen because The Prince and Princess of Plastic Competition (MSU’s biggest competition of the year) is in January, approximately  15 weeks away, go figure that is just about one macrocycle!

Since Leigh is in charge of the youth program at Spire I’m not going to have that much control about what the periodization will look like on that end but we did talk about some potential changes to the structure of the program, how and who we teach what to.

On my end of the scale I finally got a good look at the competition schedule for next year’s open competitions and I’m really excited. the SCS Adult Open Nationals got moved from January to April (so I may have to step down from the spring fling championship for a year). Canada is hosting a Bouldering World Cup in Canmore, Alberta in late May. And for the first time in 20 years the US will be holding a Lead World Cup in Boulder, CO in October exactly one year from last weekend.

So naturally I really really want to go to the world cup next October representing the US. To do this I’m starting a training schedule for myself starting as soon as I get it worked out to hopefully be in the best shape of my life going into Adult Nationals in April so that I can hopefully have a shot at going to the World Cup, but everyone and their kid is going to want to do the same, so I’m going to have bring back a few old tricks for my training. To quote Fletcher: “more core than ever before starts tomorrow”

The weather here in Bozeman finally cooled down to real fall weather. Its time to finish up some projects before the snow and training keeps me inside. For as much time as I spent inside last weekend I don’t think I’ve ever been this psyched for climbing and training. It should be a good year.

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