So, you’ve gotten a taste for climbing, and now you can’t give it up– are you looking for the next step in honing your skills or learning more about climbing? Maybe looking for other folks to climb with? Or, have you maintained your level of climbing for a while now, but you’re just not sure what to do differently?
Whether you’re looking for community, trying to boost your technique or need a little motivation to get yourself to the gym routinely, joining your local boulder league can be just the thing to get you going.
Bouldering leagues, or teams, come in various shapes and sizes. Some are like adult training teams, while others may be a series of competitions. Regardless, in this article, we’ll walk through a few benefits of joining a bouldering league and convince you to take this next step in your climbing career!
Reasons to Join Your Local Boulder League
Regularity & Commitment
Establishing regularity in your climbing can help improve your climbing ability, learn and maintain skills, and get familiar with your gym environment. Bouldering groups’ time commitments and focuses vary, so check out your gym’s programs and online or community groups to see what’s in your area. No matter how often your group meets, leagues can help get you into the swing of climbing regularly. You might find (as most climbers do) that you might not be able to stop once you start!
One of the most immediate benefits of joining a league is spending time in a learning and practice-focused environment. A league is a commitment to, if nothing else, a time when you will be climbing! You’ll learn what sort of climber you are in an environment designed to help you succeed. What could be a better recipe for success?
When joining a league, it can be helpful to think through your goals for climbing. You should climb more complex grades, improve your strength, or learn new techniques. Whatever your desired skills are, coaches and peers are there to support you. Regular attendance at these spaces allows you to track your progress and continue to set new goals. Staying in tune with your skills and technique outside of casual climbing keeps you climbing in healthier, more successful ways no matter when or where you’re sending.
Leagues don’t only focus on skill but strength! Coaches are there to track progression and offer you support in reaching your climbing goals. Peers might suggest a new favorite style of workout. League spaces can also help establish healthy workout practices or teach these skills if you need help figuring out where to start. Just like staying on top of your technique enables you to stay healthy in climbing, keeping tabs on your body and its abilities can help reduce your risk of injury.
Not only will your skills and strength grow as part of joining a climbing league, but your knowledge will too! The world of climbing holds a vast amount of information. The learning opportunities are endless! By entering a league space and engaging in these opportunities with your fellow climbers, you’ll turn up that knowledge an extra few notches. For example, you’re likely to learn more about skills like route setting and grading. You’ll get to know various gear and what it’s used for. You’ll begin to find your preferences, practices, areas of interest, and more! You may even branch into other types of climbing, whether competition climbing, bouldering, or sport climbing – you’ll grow as a climber.
Community & Social
Even professional climbers can get tired of bouldering on their own! Bouldering leagues are an incredible way to meet and build relationships with fellow climbers and get more involved with the climbing community you find yourself in!
Seeing folks with regularity and working on such complex skills in a collaborative, encouraging environment can catalyze any climber wanting to improve their skill or boost their sense of connectedness in climbing. You may meet a belay partner, climbing buddy, or even mentor in your climbing community. Practices may begin as what gets you climbing, but knowing the other climbers around you can help strengthen that routine outside of class or team settings.
So, what’s the downside? Give it a shot! Check out your gym’s league and program offerings, talk to the climbers around you, or check out any local post boards to see what groups are near you.