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Why I Recommend Rock Climbing to My Patients

Throughout my career as a Licensed Clinical Child and Adolescent Behavioral Psychologist (yes, I know that’s an obnoxiously long title), I have explained to parents the benefits of their children being physically active more times than I can keep track of.  There have been, over the past 15 years, three that stand out far above the rest, topping my list of recommended physical activities: Martial arts, gymnastics, and competitive swimming.

Three reasons these sports are great for kids

These activities have a lot in common: first and foremost they’re individual sports, where the child is able to learn the essential skill of perseverance. One has to work on learning a new skill, work at it for an extended period of time, then after several weeks or months gets to see if their hard work paid off at a belt testing, swim meet or gymnastics competition. Teaching this level of delayed gratification through perseverance is paramount to healthy and happy kids.

Secondly, these three sports are all extremely physically demanding. Quite honestly, these activities wear kids out by allowing them to release their excess of energy.  Subsequently we see that children are better able to settle down, to sleep well, or sit through long school days with better behavior control following participation in these three activities.

Lastly, these three activities provide essential learning in body control, performing deliberate body movements that must be precise in order to achieve their goal.

And now, rock climbing

Well I’m happy to say that since the opening of First Ascent Peoria, I’m adding a fourth to my list of recommended activities: Rock Climbing! Climbing meets the three aforementioned criteria: it’s an individual sport where one must persevere to accomplish a goal (master a route or climbing problem that they have been working on for several trips to the facility). Rock climbing is also extremely strenuous and will use up a child’s excess energy.  Thirdly, it requires very precise and deliberate body movements, teaching better body control.

However, there’s one extra benefit that rock climbing has over these other three sports: you can truly do this as a family!

I was so pleased to see that my wife and I were not the only ones present with our children this past weekend at First Ascent. We saw parents working with and encouraging their children to help them persevere. I saw children helping their parents by telling them the next move they should make with a hand or foothold. I saw families growing stronger by doing something together.

So, moms and dads: get out there and do something real with your children this weekend. Head to First Ascent, and watch as your child and family grow for the better!

Dr. Kyle W. Boerke is a Licensed Clinical Child and Adolescent Behavioral Psychologist and a member at First Ascent Peoria.

Meet the FA Climbers Competing in Bouldering Youth Nationals

This weekend, we’re sending 17 incredible members of the FA Climbing Team to 2019 USA Climbing Bouldering Youth Nationals, and we couldn’t be prouder of this crew! They’ll be going to Redmond, Oregon, to compete with youth climbers from all over the country. Be sure to tune in to live stream the competition (check here on USAclimbing.org for streaming information) and cheer them on. Crush it, Team!

If you haven’t gotten to meet our team members, we thought we’d let them introduce themselves. Meet our Nationals Team crew:

Mary

10 – Female Youth D

Years Climbing:  5-6

Favorite Climbing Style: Slab

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘My mom is scared of heights and after soccer practice would take my sister and me to climb. We were convinced by Alex to move to First Ascent and join the team.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

Devil’s Lake, WI

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘Before the comp, I lay in my bed and just think about climbing and listen to Hamilton.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to have fun and make it to semi-finals!’

 

 

Renata

10 – Female Youth D

Years Climbing: 6

Favorite Climbing Style: Bouldering

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I did gymnastics and saw a climbing wall. I said, “I want to try!”’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘First Ascent- I haven’t been outside yet.’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘Positive talk- I tell myself, “Don’t give up; you’re almost there!”’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to at least make semi-finals and hopefully push on into finals!’

 

 

Austin

8 – Male Youth D

Years Climbing: 3-4

Favorite Climbing Style: Overhang or Dynos!

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I really want to compete and eventually got on the team.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

Horse Pens 40, AL

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

Music

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to get to semi-finals.’

 

 

Mason

10 – Male Youth D

Years Climbing: 4

Favorite Climbing Style: Bouldering

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘When I stopped gymnastics, my mom and I looked up climbing gyms and found ourselves here!’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘First Ascent- Still haven’t gotten outside yet.’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

Music

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to win!’

 

 

Samantha

12 – Female Youth C

Years Climbing:

Favorite Climbing Style: Overhung crimps or bouldering in general

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘My friend from school used to be on the team and she recommended it to me.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

Rumney, NH

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘Music and of course, friends’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘If I qualify for finals, I’m striving for top 6!’

 

 

Eli

12 – Male Youth C

Years Climbing: 7-8

Favorite Climbing Style: Small moves on small crimps

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I was doing gymnastics and decided to try a class at Hidden Peak. I joined their Team and eventually moved to FA with my teammates.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

Colorado

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I think of joy and happy thoughts.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘Ultimately, I want to be in the top 4 and HAVE FUN!’

 

 

Ethan

13 – Male Youth C

Years Climbing: 6

Favorite Climbing Style: Overhang power or techy problems

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I first took a class at an FFC Health Club then another at Hidden Peak. I joined the team there and eventually moved here with my friends.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

Red River Gorge, KY

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘Climbing in ISO at the event before going out helps me focus.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to make semi-finals and perform better than last year.’

 

 

Sarah

13 – Female Youth B

Years Climbing: 8

Favorite Climbing Style: Power problems

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I started on the team with Chicago Athletic Clubs (EAC, LVAC, LPAC). I always wanted to go to nationals, so I joined FA to gain more exposure in climbing and access to different resources.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

Red River Gorge, KY

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I like to watch really good climbers climb cool stuff on Instagram.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to have fun and do my best. I know it sounds cheesy, but it’s true!’

 

 

Sophie

14 – Female Youth B

Years Climbing: 7

Favorite Climbing Style: ‘I like routes with tricky moves and dynos, especially if they have big, colorful holds!’

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I started at Hidden Peak and moved with my teammates.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘I don’t have a favorite route, but I love the Motherload at RRG, KY.’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I’ve always had a routine when competing. The routine is to wake up, try to eat breakfast, can’t because I feel sick, so I just go off to the comp.

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to feel confident in understanding the beta and trying different moves.’

 

 

Spencer

13 – Male Youth B

Years Climbing: 6

Favorite Climbing Style: Juggy overhanging volumes or big volume slab

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I was climbing at LVAC for a few years and eventually moved to FA and I’ve been happy ever since it opened.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘I really look forward to going to the Red one day.’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I try to think things out and visualize what is going to happen.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to make semi-finals.’

 

 

Estelle

15 – Female Youth A

Years Climbing: 5

Favorite Climbing Style: Anything with lots of volumes

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I liked competing and wanted to join a team with very stylish uniforms and coaches that were almost as cool.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

RRG, KY; Lion’s Head, ON; Zion, UT; and Bishop, CA are all great! I want to climb in Squamish, BC; Grampians, Australia; Kalymnos, Greece; and Fontainebleau, France. My favorite route is the IFSC speed route- also Easy Rider and Paradise Lost!’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

Music and friends

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to make nationals and National Team’

 

 

Conor

16 – Male Youth A

Years Climbing: 3

Favorite Climbing Style: ‘Anything with slopers or dynamic moves! Or whatever Lucy hates.’

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I started at a different gym, but I switched over after meeting some friends on Team FA. I’ve never regretted it!’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘I love climbing at Smith Rock, OR. My favorite route there is probably Torrid Zone or Chain Reaction.’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I do a long warm up and turn my headphones up when I’m waiting in the chair to climb. I usually listen to local artists. My favorites are Pooky, The Slaps, Corn on my Dinner Plate, and Case.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

This is my first nationals. I want to make semi-finals.

 

 

Lucy

17 – Female JR

Years Climbing: 3

Favorite Climbing Style: ‘Heinous crimps and lock-offs – or whatever gives Conor pain and suffering’

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘My parents signed me up. I wasn’t good at first, but then I got better and better.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘I’m going to Red Rock Canyon this spring!’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘Clif Bars’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I want to have fun and cheer on the rest of the team!’

 

 

Belinda

17 – Female JR

Years Climbing: 14

Favorite Climbing Style: Weird slab routes

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘Maya and I were kidnapped and locked in a climbing gym and forced to send all your projects!  Send help!’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

RRG, KY

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I like to play games and joke around with my friends in ISO.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘Have lots of fun!’

 

 

Maya

18 – Female JR

Years Climbing: 8

Favorite Climbing Style: Crimpy Overhangs

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘Belinda and I are trapped in here! We haven’t seen the sun in daaays because we’re sending so hard. We haven’t been out in years! …except for climbing trips.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘I love the Blue Mountains in Australia. I’m looking forward to road-tripping through the west and climbing along the way!’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I play card games in ISO with my friends and we get very competitive. I sometimes call upon the ancient demon Cthulhu for extra strength before a climb.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

I hope to make finals, but I really just want to climb well and enjoy it!’

 

 

Connor

17 – Male JR

Years Climbing: 11

Favorite Climbing Style: Bouldering

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘I first started by passing a rock wall in a health club. After a climbing summer camp, I was completely hooked and eventually dragged my whole family into the sport. Over the years I’ve been on many climbing teams and thank all of them as there was much to take away from each experience. I’ve been with FA since its beginnings when it first opened its doors. I love training hard with my teammates and sharing the whole experience. It’s all more than I can describe!’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘I love the Holy Boulders, IL. However, when it comes to sport, nothing beats the Red! I look forward to climbing more internationally (especially Europe)!

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘I listen to music in order to regulate my emotions. Breathing exercises and some meditation also helps to focus and keep a clear mind.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘Simply put, I want to climb my heart out pulling on plastic while I’m in Bend.’

 

 

Spencer Kapayo

17 – Male JR

Years Climbing: 11

Favorite Climbing Style: Bouldering

How did you start/what brought you to Team FA?

‘My twin introduced me to climbing. He somehow managed to get me roped into things and we’ve been climbing partners ever since. As for FA, we (Connor and I) wanted to continue down a path that had a team dynamic after our previous team fell through. We love to learn from others, and it only made sense to continue seeking that knowledge. So upon FA’s establishment, we became some of the team’s founding members.’

Where is your favorite place to climb/place that you’re looking to go to next?

‘One of my favorite bouldering spots has got to be Stone Fort Little Rock City located in Soddy Daisy, TN. Amazing place when you’re with the right people. On the other hand, I thoroughly enjoyed climbing in Rifle Mountain Park (located in CO) for sport.’

What helps you to get in the right mindset to compete?

‘Usually the day before a competition, I watch clips from a variety of movies or TV shows to hype myself up for the upcoming day. Whether it be Rocky IV, The Matrix, IP Man, and yes, even Naruto, they have one thing in common…to believe in oneself. In a way, watching these clips allows me to shrug off most of my bad karma. On the day of the competition, however, I usually listen to dance or rock music.’

What are some of your goals for nationals weekend?

‘I simply want to put on an entertaining show while in Bend’s entirety, including the delightful conclusion.’

 

Wish all of these crushers the best as they compete!

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