flyburst asked Andrew Kozak, director of Sportrock in Sterling, to answer a few questions about climbing for kids. As you will read in the interview, climbing may be a great compliment (to team sports) or alternative for kids who are attracted to an indoor/outdoor sport with individual physical and mental challenges. Parents will be attracted to the sport because of the great fitness option it provides for kids and the time flexibility (no hours of weekends lost because of a far away travel games). Kids will like the sense of accomplishment and the social aspects of the sport.
FB: Can you give a brief overview of the sport of rock climbing?
Rock climbing is a sport in which participants climb up or across natural rock formations or artificial rock walls. The goal is to reach the top of a formation or the endpoint of a pre-defined route without falling.
FB: What are the types of climbing that Sportrock teaches?
Sportrock teaches everything from basic skills to lead climbing to setting up top rope anchors. Or if you just want to come in and give climbing a try, we have programs for that as well for both kids (age 6+) and adults.
FB: What’s “cool” about the sport for kids? What types of kids might especially enjoy climbing?
Climbing is a great confidence builder and a great way to meet new people. It also gives kids a sense of accomplishment once they reach the top of each wall. We are firm believers that absolutely anyone would enjoy this sport!
FB: What will parents like about climbing?
Climbing is a great form of exercise that allows you to have fun while working out. Climbing motivates kids to put down the video games and climb a rock!
FB: What physical/mental development skills can kids learn through climbing?
Climbing gives kids a sense of accomplishment. One of our members put it best when he said “It’s fun when you get to the top of a really hard climb because it’s fun to look down and see what you just did.”
FB: What equipment will kids need to climb (indoor and outdoor)?
All climbers wanting to climb the tall walls (both indoor and outdoor) will use a harness and a helmet. A lot of climbers will wear special shoes to help their feet stick to the wall, but these are not required. Other than the gear provided at the gym, kids are asked to wear athletic clothing (mesh shorts, t-shirts) and tennis shoes.
FB: What safety precautions do you take for indoor and outdoor climbing?
Anyone that wants to be able to belay (hold the ropes on the ground) will need to take a class to learn the basics - tying knots, proper belaying motions, catching someone who falls, and lowering them back to the ground. Both climber and belayer will always double check each other’s gear and use certain commands to communicate what is going on.
FB: What’s a good age to start climbing? What type of class should a beginner take?
In the gym, with an instructor, we start at age 6 & up. Parents are welcome to come in and take their younger children climbing themselves, but the parents would be required to know how to do all the rope work themselves. Anyone age 14+ can take our Basic Skills class and we will teach you everything you need to know to get started!
FB: What might be typical weekly or monthly schedule for a kid involved in climbing?
As with any sport, the more you practice the better you will get. There is no set schedule for kids climbing unless you are involved in our climbing team; then there are weekly practice sessions depending on your ability level.
FB: What approach do the climbing instructors take towards teaching climbing?
All instructors want to make climbing as fun as possible and are passionate about what they do. We encourage kids to push their limits and try something that might seem harder than they think they can do.
FB: Can you talk about the costs involved in climbing?
Costs are dependant upon the size and scope of the actual class or program. To get an idea of the cost involved with getting started, please visit our website: www.sportrock.com.
FB: Anything else you want to mention about Sportrock that parents might want to know?
If you’re interested in getting your child started in climbing, here are a couple great options to consider-
- Open Climb is run every Saturday and Sunday between 12 and 5pm. This program is designed for anyone that wants to give climbing a try. Cost for Open Climb is $20. This price includes Harness and Helmet rental. Shoes are an additional $5.
- Kids Nite is run every Friday from 6:30-8pm. This program is for kids age 6-14. Parents are asked to go to www.sportrock.com and reserve a spot for each child wanting to climb. Price for Kids Nite is $20.
- Birthday Parties are another great program we run. Price is $25/climber with a minimum participant number of 8. We require a $10 deposit per estimated participant, refundable up to 14 days before the scheduled even. Parties are offered Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Climbing time is the first 1 ½ hours followed by the use of our party room for an additional 45 minutes. Party times vary by gym. Check our website for availability
Andrew Kozak can be reached at email@example.com