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The Castle Academy

Launched in 2014, the Castle Academy is a fundamental part of The Castle’s Youth Development Programme. The Castle Academy runs structured climbing sessions where children focus on progression and consolidation of their climbing skills in a fun, inspiring and supportive environment.

What's it all about?

The goal of the Castle Academy is to develop ‘climbers for life’ through participation on competitions and training, on a Long Term Athlete Development (LTAD) model. Academy members must have a solid interest in competition climbing, thrive to improve their climbing skills to an elite level and commitment to do several sessions of climbing per week (both with the coaches and on their own/ supervised by their parents or guardians). 

The Castle Academy sessions are not about climbing dozens of routes at the highest grades of difficulty. On the contrary, we believe it is more important to develop athletes who are able to move well, on and off the wall. The central pillar in our training structure is the NICAS scheme of progressive development of the safety skills required for climbing indoors. 

All climbers are encouraged to join the youth competition circuit each year (BMC Youth Climbing Series and Blokfest), as well as to regularly climb with their parents and peers to further expand what they learn on the Academy sessions.

The aim of the Castle Academy is to empower children to make their own decisions about their pathway of progression, enjoying a lifetime of safe, injury-free climbing.

The Selection Process

The pathway to join the Academy is either through the Castle Climbing Club or through the summer selection event (usually held around mid-July). The minimum requirement to join the Academy is to have completed NICAS Level 1 or to have equivalent climbing experience. Enthusiasm, commitment and a desire to improve are also important elements we expect from the Academy climbers. It is desirable to have participated in local, regional and/or national youth climbing competitions.

For the 2017-18 season, the selection process for the Castle Academy consists of a 3 stage process: 

-    Participation in the ‘Castle Academy Profiling’ sessions
-    Questionnaire - Application letter
-    Young Guns Summer Competition 2017

During the selection process we are not only examining the people who can get to the top of most climbs. We are looking at the way each climber tactically approaches the set challenges, as well as their technical proficiency to solve the puzzle. Determination and the ability to adapt to each challenge are also desirable attributes the coaches will be looking for on the competitors. 

To be selected for the Academy, climbers must demonstrate they can cope well with the physical and mental demands of a competition. Climbers must also show an emerging range of technical and tactical skills, specific to the sport. 

If you can't attend the competition on Saturday 24th June, we cannot guarantee we will be able to fully consider your application for the 2017/18 team. 

More Questions?

Please email


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