23 November 2022

The Polish Youth National rock climbing team

Mateusz Haladaj has just been on a trip to Osp - Banje in Babna with the Polish Youth National rock climbing team. We asked him if he could tell us how this team is set up and how you qualify?

"The team consists of a dozen youngsters between 14 and 18 years old. As an auxiliary national team coach I'm responsible (together with Lukasz Debowski) for the implementation of the rock climbing program for eight years already. The program we introduced within the National Federation (Polski Zwiazek Alpinizmu) includes climbing trips for the best youth representatives. Our main task besides helping to develop better technique and new climbing skills is sharing motivation and passion for climbing. Simply put thanks to our groupings the youngster's team up and improve their skills in a good atmosphere. This year we realized three climbing trips abroad and we can say that the effects are very satisfying.

I think this kind of program exists in other national teams within competition programs but in Poland, it is a separate thing. We've been mainly traveling to the Frankenjura, Arco, Osp and for the first time, we went bouldering in the Czech republic a month ago.

Unfortunately, the youth climbing scene in Poland is tiny. When I started climbing 22 years ago it was different. The thing we're trying to do is to raise the level and put foundations for a good start! We have some sort of ranking that tells who is currently the best and it has nothing to do with competitions (although we have the champions in the team as well, as they're usually good in both). For example, Maja Oleksy who just sent her first 8b+ climbs averages 3 to 4 weeks on the rock in total. Her goal is exclusively WorldCup. Rock climbing is only a side activity for some of the members. Well, technically these youngsters also compete, but they get to the program by their rock achievements."
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