Last weekend was the Junior British Bouldering Team's first ever team meet. I was pretty psyched to get to know the team and the managers and to have another shot at getting to go to Grindewald, the location for the European Youth Bouldering Championships this year.
The weekend started with a meeting for both the Lead and the Boulder team. All the parents, kids, and managers met at the hotel for a quick talk. We were told what we would be doing over the weekend and what the team wanted us to achieve over the year. The talk from Tom Greenall, our manager, was really inspiring as he didn’t tell us that we had to win. We were told that most of us were “training to compete” and only a few were “training to win”. It took off some pressure because it showed that they weren’t expecting too much from us as a new team.
After the talk we got our new kit, which looks smart, and then we all headed to the hospital to do some medical tests. The team wanted to make sure that we had the right mindset about our bodies and that we weren’t ill or in pain. We were weighed, measured and given a questionnaire about how we think about ourselves. Then we were tested for sight, hearing and a small body check-up. I thought this was good because it showed that they weren’t just focusing on how strong we were, but also how we think about ourselves.
Following the tests the two teams split up to head to the Foundry for Lead and the Climbing Works for Bouldering. Once we were at the Works we had a bit of time to warm up, start climbing and get a chance to know each other. I got a chance to talk to Tom and tell him about how my training had been going, and got a chance to try a few problems with my fellow team members. Once everyone arrived we all went to get a short chat about the fitness tests we were about to do. It was different to what I had done when I was with the lead team as we weren’t just testing strength, we were also testing our mobility and flexibility. We did things like squats, lunges, and lying leg raises to test our hip, shoulder and back mobility. I thought I had done quite well as I found the tests quite easy but confirmed that my shoulders are pretty stiff. We then did the usual strength tests by seeing how many push ups, sit ups, and press ups we could manage in one go. We were given feedback on how to improve on the areas we were weak in after the weekend by being sent videos and exercises on how to improve our mobility.
The Sunday was the Assessment Day. We had another meeting in the morning with both teams to talk about the child protection. After both teams went separate ways again for assessment. We headed to the Works and started warming up straight away. We were told the set up. It was going to be in the style of the semi-finals and finals of a boulder comp. We went into isolation to wait for our go. We had 5 minutes to climb each problem with 5 minutes rest between each. I managed to top the first problem and make it to the last moves on 2nd. The third one however I struggled to make it off the ground, scraping my arms and shins after my feet slipped off the volumes.
Later I found out I’d got furthest on our second problem and got to the same place as Tara on the 3rd one. I was quite happy and I felt strong. I thought we would have a while for food and a break but we were only given 20 minutes to get straight into the finals. Tom and Lu (assistant coach) told us that they had seen enough after the semis and they were just trying to get finished now. I think this made me too calm because I didn’t have the right mind-set to climb hard enough. I hadn’t warmed up enough and I was tired so I didn’t top any of the finals even though I easily topped 2 of them right after. I was quite disappointed and sure I wasn’t going to be selected for Grindewald. We sat down to have a final talk about the weekend and Tom said he’d selected a couple people to go to the Euros with Nathan and Tara, I didn’t think it would be me but sure enough he said Gracie, Hamish and I were all getting to go to the Euros. We were unbelievably happy and I have already been training hard so that I can climb my best in May. I’ve got just under 2 months to improve my endurance, shoulder mobility and to become as strong as I can. I’ve got school exams as well, but they don’t matter that much…. I’m ready to crush.