On January 9, 2016, I had eight members of the Climbing team travel to the Chicago suburbs to compete in the USAC ABS Divisional. This two day qualifier competition at Vertical Endevours was not only a physical challenge but a true test of the kids mental fortitude.
As a coach you learn to find subtle victories in your students performance, even if their performance does not produce a podium finish. This was the first divisional competition for four of the kids. Out of those four, none qualified for nationals. In fact only two of my members qualified for nationals. On paper, this looks like a major failure for our team. However from a coaches standpoint I disagree. Watching how these kids composed themselves all weekend I am confident in saying we were far from failures. If maturity levels were measurable I would say these kids would come in around a middle aged adult based on how they composed themselves before, during and after the comp. I say this because they all had great attitudes (smiles all day even when falling) and they stayed focused on the task at hand giving it their full effort. That is an inspiring thing to witness especially when there are many other kids crying, complaining and giving up on themselves. When you stay focused no matter the circumstances, you can learn something about your performance in order to benefit next time you compete. If you give in and accept defeat then you will continue to set your self up for defeat in the future.
I am no more proud of the kids that qualified for nationals than I am of the kids that didn’t make it to the second day of divisionals. Their ability to compete at a high level all while staying positive during defeat is something special. To show my appreciation, I will happily continue to put fourth my full effort into making every single kid on team a stronger climber. Attitude & Effort.
Team Stats from Divisionals:
8 kids competing
5 placed top 10 in their divisions to qualify for day 2
the final results of those 5
- 10th place, 8th place, 7th place
- two moving onto nationals taking, 6th place, and 1st place
The 10 kids that made the trip from Madison to Detroit for the USAC abs regional comp had a proud showing. The drive to Detroit was long but the kids didn’t let that stop them from putting months of hard training to the ultimate test on the rock wall.
Out of the 10 kids we had at the competition, 8 of them qualified for divisionals. Of the eight that qualified, four never competed in a isolation/onsite competition before. This format can be very mentally challenging, especially if you have never been exposed to it. A very impressive feat to make it through regionals on your very first attempt. I was very proud how everyone handled their selves and maintained their composure before and during the comp. Also we had one climber that won her age bracket.
With just about one month to go before Regionals it is time to buckle down and hit the training hard and smart. If you are competing in regionals, take a quick moment to congratulate and praise your self for climbing well in Detroit. Ok, now that you have done that, completely forget about that achievement and begin to focus on the now. Focus on getting stronger each and every moment you enter the climbing gym so you can reach new glory in the next competition. Focus on using every bit of advice from your coaches in order to make this short training period meaningful. Focus on your weaknesses, because they will be exposed at divisionals.
If you are not participating in divisionals, that does not mean your time spent training and working out with climbing team is not meaningful. Your fellow teammates success or failure at divisionals will reflect on yourself and all the members of boulders climbing gym. The harder you work at team, the harder your teammates will work. The more effort you put fourth as a non competitor will only motivate the kids competition to step up their game. We are a climbing TEAM, so lets work as a team and motivate each other every time you step into the gym. Lets get eight members of Boulders Climbing Team to Nationals on our home turf.
Also on a side note, Boulders finished in 4th place as a team at regionals. Adventure rock had 13 competitors compared to our 10 and they finished 5th. Give your self a pat on the back for that as we have never been in the mix as a team. A step in the right direction for the future of our program.