The staff and management at Durham Climbing Center have been really proactive of late to try and improve their clients' experience of using the wall. Although this wall maybe doesn't have the highest volume of climbing in the UK it is really good to see the team trying to give their customers a great experience. Once a wall is established then regular high quality route setting is the most important thing in my opinion to keeping people coming back and Durham have recently been employing myself and Mick Page quite a lot to ensure that this is the case. On top of that there have been a number of events such as adult and junior competitions, informal Tuesday night coaching and also a workshop on how to use their latest bit of wall, the "Beastmaker" training board.
When I was asked to put together a 2hr coaching workshop I was at first a bit daunted, however, after taking the first step of putting pen to paper I was amazed at how much I had to say about the subject - maybe using all my spare time researching the Internet for training advice over the past 10 years wasn't such a waste of time? I kicked the session off by gathering the group round my laptop screen for a youtube viewing of Splinter (below).
With everyone suitably psyched, we went through pretty much everything to do with using this style of training device, from the blurry distinction between "training" and "climbing" as the video of Malcolm displays so well, to the relative merits of training on a board rather than other tools such as fingerboards or campus boards and not forgetting the specific aspects of actually training on the board itself! The session went really well and I think everyone came away a lot more confident to take a more structured approach to their training and start really getting the most out of this great bit of wood!
Michael Daglish was also on hand playing with his cameras as usual so lookout for a bit of footage from the session soon...
Additionally I've also been at Durham for the past couple of Tuesdays to lead their informal, open to everyone coaching sessions. The relaxed atmosphere with these session doesn't really make them feel tat much like work but I suppose thats an advantage of your job also being what you do in your free time anyway! It is really cool to be able to help people out in such an informal manor, with different people after different levels of coaching ranging from beta / demos of a problem to specific advice on how to address their weaknesses. This all being in a friendly chatty atmosphere makes it great fun and I look forward to doing more of these in the future!