Like more mainstream sports, the athletes have to advance through stages to get there. Excelling in local competitions like the ones held in Pewaukee, then regionals and divisionals before nationals. "Most of the competitions we go to are affiliated with USA Climbing which is a national competition circuit," climbing team coach Alex Nimmer said.
Excelling at each stage of competition means a lot of practice! "You have to be strong, to get through the moves on the rocks and balance. If you're on a really technical route where you have to slowly reach yourself across, then balance is essential and also endurance. You need to be able to hold onto the wall for a long time," 11-year-old climber Minda Silvestre said.
These climbers say they practice a few times a week, for two to three hours and involves techniques that can be utilized for all types of climbing. "Most kids who come in are going to be strong enough to do the moves, so they need to work on how to do that move better or more efficiently," Nimmer said.
Once the basic techniques are mastered, then climbers move on to learning more advanced moves that require more strength and stamina and conquering tougher holds. "Some holds are really big, where you can get a grip on them, but some are really small and they're really hard to grab," 12-year-old climber Jake Fields said.
Colored tape shows the routes, and the goal is to get as high as possible without faltering. Competitive climbing also teaches team unity, perseverance and builds confidence. "It just kinda changed my life. I'm in a lot better physical shape and I have more muscle, and it's just fun," Silvestre said.