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Youth climbing changes

Monday 22nd January 2018, 2:24pm

Kevin Howett (Sports Development Officer) explains the changes that have had to be made to the YCS for 2018

Changes made at the end of 2016 regarding the UK YCS meant that Scotland had to combine its two regions into one Scottish Region, with one Scottish Team for 2017. We trialled a new format to enable us to do this which involved continuing with two regions but then bringing the top climbers from each region to a Scottish Final. However, the final became very competitive, had a distinctly different atmosphere and was felt to be both unfair and negative by a substantial number of parents and coaches. This led us to consider a further change to the YCS format for 2018 in order to fulfil our aims of encouraging more young climbers and inclusiveness.

We decided to mimic a format used in Ireland and Wales of three (combined) rounds across Scotland. However, the potential size of the competition, the numbers of people attending and number of routes and problems required to be stripped and set, meant there ended up being only one venue (EICA Ratho) able to host such a round. This would have disenfranchised half the entrants to the YCS though simple geography and reduced the numbers attending dramatically. It was also regarded as simply three Scottish finals. This may have made the YCS financially unviable. Also last year we reduced the Coaching Academies to just one weekend because of a reduction in funding and we felt this was a backward step.

We decided to return to a two region format for 2018 with three rounds in each region, and with the extended selection from the rounds of a larger number of qualifiers to become members of a Scottish Youth Development Squad. We intend to support these climbers throughout the year by offering a series of coaching academies. The first of these academies will be a weekend at EICA Ratho split into a Scottish Team Selection day via a YCS Grand Final style competition, followed by a coaching day. The selected Scottish Team will compete against the other YCS teams at the Grand Final in April. In addition, Scottish children who have been selected to the GB Squad have an automatic place on the Scottish Squad and are eligible to attend the coaching academy weekends.

This format allows a greater number of children to gain something from the YCS whilst still securing the best Scottish YCS Team to compete in the Grand Final. We hope this format will be fairer, inclusive and give additional focus to a wider group of children. The aim is to encourage and enthuse them to try out new competitions, help them train better and for those interested in applying for the 2019 GB Squad in December find out more about how the GB Squad works.

Full information about the Scottish Squad will be available through the ClimbScotland website page: Scottish Development Squad