This was sent on by one of our students on a CWA Course. Many thanks Michael. Its great to know that our experience and time in valued.
I did the CWA 2 day course in July, Awesome walls, with Rob Davies of Vertigo Outdoor. There were 3 other climbers taking the course, whom I learned a variety of things from them sharing their goals and thoughts regarding the course as well as their previous climbing experiences and future aspirations.
On the first day we learned an assortment of games, methods and tricks to make warming up for climbing fun as well as functional. With a good group of people this was a lot of fun for us, we learned a lot despite the laughing and playing around. Next was learning how to get the kids/ beginners to have a fun focused activity whilst learning how to climb without realizing it. From an instructor’s perspective this would give the added benefit of seeing how each individual moves naturally and what you can add to their movement to improve their technique. Also covered were ways to keep a group entertained while one climbed. I was impressed at the variety of innovations and fun factor in this section of the course.
Over the 2 days Rob’s work ethic of safety was evident as he emphasized that, as instructors, we should be avoiding problems by using best practice from the start. This would reduce the possible injury and rescue situations that can arise. We learned (fairly thoroughly) how deal with situations (such as securing the system while assisting a climber who got suck/injured on a climb) as part of the course but I like this philosophy of problem prevention through best practice.
On the second day what we learned about games for kids was put into practice; each of the other trainees added their own unique elements of fun to it. Our lead climbing abilities were assessed and Rob shared his simple but effective video playback coaching with us. Safety topics ranged from knots, belaying, falling (fall factors), rope stretch and lead climb dangers, karabiner and harness uses and limitations. Also mentioned were facility in-house rules and how they can vary, something instructors need to be aware of if we are taking groups to new places.
Having had time to reflect since my training I’ve realized that one of the important criteria for taking a training course, especially one that is hands on with learning through practical experience, is choosing an enthusiastic and capable instructor. I got lucky; initially choosing Rob as he was one of the first to bring the course to Ireland and I was keen to get started but his wealth of knowledge, strong safety ethics and passion for climbing became apparent on the first day. A great instructor who gave me so much climbing and safety tips as well as keeping the 2 days intensive learning fun. I highly recommend the CWA course for aspiring instructors (even SPA holders) who want to learn about safety, movement coaching and keeping things fun for kids and adults
Michael Slattery. CWA Training August 2013