Stuck on what games to play while instructing a climbing session, here’s list of games to play

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  1. Climbing Games

    Games on the climbing wall are fun and create interest. They can add to the value of the workout by creating an enjoyable atmosphere and usually extend the length of the workout. Here are a few games that can be played at a climbing wall. If you know of a game not listed please describe it and send it in at the bottom of the page. Add your name and city to get credit for sending in the game. Also try Cyberclimber. Online climbing game.

    Two climbers of with similar ability play the game. Begin by agreeing on the first sequence of three to five moves. The first climber gets on the wall and climbs or traverses this sequence of moves. When the first climber finishes, he/she adds one more move. The moves can be marked by chalk, tape or memorized. Each time a climber completes the sequence he/she adds on another move. You can play “hands only” where any foot hold can be used, or specify both handholds and footholds. Continue to repeat this pattern until exhaustion. Great climbing game for building endurance and memorizing sequences.
    This is mostly a traversing game since it requires a partner to “point”. The person designated as the pointer will use a broom handle or any pole to point out the next hold. The climber begins climbing. The pointer taps the next hold. This should be times so the next hold is tapped just ahead of the person climbing. A good pointer makes it challenging but not beyond the climber’s ability. The game ends when the climber falls. The climber and pointer then switch positions. This excellent practice for developing your on-sight ability.
    The first person points out a sequence of 4 to 10 moves. There are no markings placed on the wall. The second person has to climb the route remembering each hold. The value of this climbing game is it teaches you to remember the holds in the route, making it an easier transition from preview to climbing.
    Take Away
    Create a route of about 20 holds. Mark the holds with chalk marks. Each climber climbs the route. After each successful climb/traverse the finishing climber rubs out a chalk mark. If the next climber cannot climb/traverse it without falling the turn is passed to the next person. If no one can do it the original climber must prove it can be done. If he cannot do the move the mark is put back on.
    Several people on a bouldering wall play tag. The first person is “it” and tries to climb to another person and touch them. The person being “tagged” then must tag someone else excluding the person just touched. The previous person earns a rest and can climb down until the next person is tagged. Greatly improves endurance/stamina. This is a good climbing game for youth teams.
    Place one or two foot holds and one or two hand holds. Place a large hold higher above the handholds. Each person takes turns “dynoing” to the hold. The dyno can be vertical, off vertical, or even horizontal. Improves dynamic climbing.

    One Arm / One Foot
    Two or more climbers decide on a sequence and attempt to send it using one arm. This can be done as an add-on or take-away climbing game. This game improves dead-point ability and greatly strengthens your arms/legs. The version of this climbing game using one foot will greatly improve body tension and trunk strength.
    Quickdraw Climbing Game
    Designate 8-10 ‘goals’ (eg, holes in the wall, big holds) and place the same number of draws in a location near them (say hanging on another hole. Person must then climb back and forth from the pile of draws, taking one draw at a time to the goals (one for each goal). This also makes players think about strategy, whether to go for the far away goals first or last. Improves Endurance, Strength. Sent In By: Seamus Allan from Christchurch, New Zealand
    One person is ‘in’. They select a place with quite a few good holds. The other partner has to try to climb around then in circles while the person ‘in’ has to try to stop them by getting to the holds before they do. When the person goes for more than 10 seconds without changing a hand or foot they swap places. Sent In By: Dena, Nelson, NZ
    Climbing War
    Two “participants” battle each no holds barred on a bouldering wall. Last person on wins! Note: only do it on small quiet walls. Improves endurance and balance. Sent In By: Matt
    Blind Climb
    Blind fold a climber. Start to climb by feeling with hands and feet all around the wall. See who can get the furthest without falling. Improves awareness and sense of touch for feet and hands. Sent In By: Andrew, from Searcy

    Get Dressed!
    Hang different items on the wall (hats, gloves, pants, shorts, jackets, shoes, etc.) or even on the ground. The idea is that the climber must pass through the wall and whenever he or she finds something, they must put it on! Try the same thing but now undressing. It is a great climbing game to work resting positions and endurance. Sent In By: Rulas from: Queretaro
    This climbing game is where 1 person boulders from 1 point to another. Other people from a set distance throw a small Frisbee at the climber. If a limb of the climber is hit then climber can no longer use that limb. If the climbers head is hit they lose. If climber is hit in the back 3 times they lose. If climber falls they lose. If climber gets to the last point then climber wins. A spotter returns the Frisbee to the throwers. Works strength, balance, and endurance ( sometimes ). Sent In By: John Cooper, Grapevine, TX
    Lay out a section of the wall just like a play field for the game “Twister” (™). It has the same rules as normal twister. Improves endurance and balance. Training Value: uhm? Sent In By: Marco bij de Vaate, Rotterdam
    One person ties in and climbs maybe 1/4 the way up the wall (a wall with larger holds) they then pick a hold at least 7 feet away in any direction (not usually up though) and calls it out. The belayer then locks off the rope when the climber yells “I’m Spiderman!”. The belayer will call out that the rope is locked off. When this is done the climber jumps off the wall and swings for the hold. If they make it, they get to try again. if they don’t, the two people trade places. I suggest getting permission before playing this game, as it takes up a lot of space and often gets a response from onlookers of “what the %&$! are they doing?” Training Value: Improves ability to judge distance. Sent In By: John, New York
    Works with two or more people and is basically the same as the basketball version. The first person chooses a point to begin and a point to end. They then roll a dice to see how many holds they can use the starting and ending holds. If the first person completes their route then the rest of the players must complete it, getting letters for failure. If the first person doesn’t complete the problem, then it goes to the second person and so on. Training Value: strength, balance. Sent In By: Matt, From City: Texas
    This climbing game includes as many players as wanted. The first climber traverses across the walls and makes the most laps as he can. Then the second climber breaks the record of laps the forst climber did. If he does, he wins, and if does not, he loses. Training Value: endurance/stamina. Sent In By: Jireh Climaco, From City: Cebu City
    Pick four routes you know you can do on the bouldering wall. Do each one four times, make a loop and see how many times you can do each one. Training Value: Bouldering, Sent In By: David From City: Stamford
    Time’s Up
    For as many players as desired. Start with a ten second time limit. First player gets ready, and a time keeper says when to go. The climber gets to as many holds as he/she can before the time keeper yells, “Time”. Second climber tries to beat that number, (same path if you wanna make it harder). If the climber does, he wins, that’s the new goal. After everyone goes, end of round one, add time, start round two. Games continues until one remains, or everyone is tired. Training Value: endurance, stamina, fluidity, memory, recognition; Sent In By: Jack Nagel; From City: Chaparral, NM

    Works best with a maximum of four players. Find a route each of the players can do. The first player chooses a hold to take away. If you come off you have 3 chances. The first player then goes to the back of the queue and this goes on until there is only 1 player left or no holds left. Works best with fingery holds. Training Value: strength, perseverance. Sent In By: Haighy boy. From City: Shipley
    Shark Attack
    This climbing game can be played with as many climbers as you can fit on the wall. It is very similar to musical chairs. The climbers start in a circle in the middle of the floor facing inwards – when you shout “Shark Attack!” they must get onto the wall as quickly as they can. The last person on the wall is the looser. The looser is either out of the game, or “looses” an arm or leg. You can add many variations to this game e.g. climbers may not use legs, etc. A great game! Training Value: A bit of fun and competition! Sent In By: Ross From City: Edinburgh (Scotland UK)
    Pirates of the Carabiner
    Buy a couple of haggard foam swords at a dollar store and boulder around the gym bludgeoning each other with them. Last one to fall wins and pull ups are awarded to those who are foolish enough to drop their swords. Training Value: none but its friggin fun eh! (ok, endurance) Sent In By: Timmy lomax From City: Halifax Nova Scotia
    Pick a section of wall with lots of holds, and a starting jug at a moderately low height. Start matched on the jug, and see how many other holds you can move to and hold. The end hold must be matched, and held for 2 or 3 seconds. Use a few different colors of sidewalk chalk to see who can tag the most number of additional holds. Each time one is matched and held, it is tagged with the appropriate color chalk, and then is off limits. Training Value: footwork and balance Sent In By: Ike Eisenstadt From City: Orlando
    Lucky Draw
    This climbing game is great for a group of climbers or for training by yourself. Write down all the climbing moves you can think of (eg. lay-back, gaston, drop-knee, pinch, dyno etc…) then cut it out fold them and put into a hat/chalk-bag. Now draw three papers and make a boulder route using those movements (the ones you wrote on the paper). or get someone to do that movement and others must guess what it is. It sounds boring but kids and teens love it and I have never learned so much by training with it. Training Value: Use of techniques, Sent In By: Nic of the rock From City: Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
    Add On – Pointer
    Ever thought of combining your two favorite bouldering games? Your partner chooses your fist moves ( 1-3 moves depending on you), then he/she must do those moves and the next moves you chose and so on until one of you cant do the move. You find out your partners weakness and find your strength and end up working both your strength and weakness. Training Value: endurance, memory and technique. Sent In By: Nic of the rock. From City: Durban, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa
    Dyno war
    Play this game with as many people as you want. For this exercise use an easy wall (W1-2). Start with you hands matched on a jug and dyno to a new hold. This dyno can be vertical, or horizontal or anywhere in between. After completing this first dyno, plan for another one. The object of this game is to complete as many dynos as possible without falling. You must hold onto the last hold you reach for at least 2 seconds for your climb to count. The climber to complete the most holds is the winner. WARNING!! Do not dyno to high if you are bouldering, for risk of falling. Training Value: Improves Explosive Climbing; Sent In By: Ian. From City: Spokane, WA

    Best played with 4 people two climbing two belaying. the climbers number themselves 1 and 2. 1 ties a short sling around harness loosely enough to be pulled off but too loose as it will fall off. climber 1 then goes up the wall about 1/4 of the way the climber as to chase him if climber 1 gets to the top without losing his sling he wins if climber 2 gets the sling he wins. when done swap over. Training Value: Increases speed; Sent In By: Dan Steele; From City: Swindon England
    Over and Under
    One person climbs on to a wall and traverses several moves along, the next person traverses to them and has to go over them. The next person traverses along and goes over the first person and under the second person (between there feet and hands). Once everyone is on the wall, the first person goes over and under everyone and it starts again if you have enough wall! This can be played with as many people as you want and the more people, the longer you have to stay on for. Good for all ages from young to old, just watch the falling off. Training Value: endurance and use of foot work Sent In By: Glyn Ethelston From City: Southampton, England
    Simon Says
    You can play this with a group of people. There is a leader (Simon, I suppose), this leader gives the group 15 seconds to get off the ground and stay there. After that time, the leader calls out various commands: “Simon says… move your left foot.” for example and everyone must move the nominated limb to a new hold unless the command is not prefixed with “Simon says”. Players are out if they fall off or do not obey the commands. Training Value: Erm… stamina? Sent In By: Rob Houghton From City: Singapore

    On slab or corner climbs get the climber to hold a tennis ball in each hand and then climb the route. This climbing game allows some use of hands for balance and a little pulling on massive jugs, but real success comes from the thighs. This can be run either as a skill developer on its own or as a wee competition. NOTE: watch as some people will try and use finger tips to cheat and makes themselves prone to finger tweaks. Training Value: Improves footwork. Sent In By: Ged Mac. From City: Glasgow
    I went to the wall and used…
    One person starts at one end of the bouldering wall. Their spotter calls out “I went to the wall and used a…” then they call out a move e.g. crimp, undercut smear etc. After the move has been completed the climber steps off and the partner repeats the move. The new spotter calls out the next move to be used. “I went to the wall and used a crimp and a smear.” Repeat the moves for as long as you can manage it. Training Value: develops stamina, balance. Sent In By: Tim Whitmarsh From City: Carlisle
    Tag Team
    Two people start at the bottom and race up to the top then jump down and “Tag” the next person then they race up to the top and race back down last one down loses. Training Value: speed and stamina Sent In By: Dallas From City: Sioux City
    Leap Frog
    As many people can do this. It is like its said. On a bouldering wall, the last person must climb past the other person. Now that lead guy is at the end and must do the same. The leaper cannot use the same hand or foot holds that the person that they leap are using. And the head guy should leave some space for the leapers. Unless he/she wants to make it hard. Training Value: Just alotta fun!!! Sent In By: Franki From City: Dallas

    There will have to be a person on the floor to keep track of totals. This game was made up to assist the young climbers with concentration. What they have to do is climb like normal but every time they use any hand they have to first tap their head and then count out loud starting at one. The goal is to have the climber try to beat their personal best by trying to lessen the number of times they use their hands. Training Value: Concentration Sent In By: Daniel C. From City: Las Vegas
    Arch Runner

    For this climbing game find a decent wall at least 20 feet long (horizontal) and about 12-16 feet high, and some colored chalk or tape (something to mark holds). Start at one end and climb all the way up, then all the way across, and down. Run back to the starting point and repeat, however you may not reuse old moves. Ground starts are allowed and recommended. Depending on the number of holds on the wall, try to get at least 4 or 5 runs in under a set time. The idea of running back to the start keeps the heart rate up and hinders setup for the next climb, forcing you to think on the wall. Also, try to stay at least 2/3 up (like its an arch of a bridge). Training Value: Endurance, quick thinking on the wall, strength, and reduces use of unnecessary hand moves. Sent In By: Cody. From City: Akron
    Tap Its
    Working in pairs or more, one person chooses a hold for each hand and one foot. With the other foot they then see how many holds they can touch whist their partner counts. They then swap places using the same holds, the person that touches the most wins. All about flexibility and realizing where and how far they can reach. They are not allowed to move the other foot or hands. Training Value: Realization of reach and flexibility. Sent In By: S. Beardsley. From: Derbyshire, UK

    This climbing game is most fun on a traverse. All participants engage in traversing at the same time in the same direction at different locations on the route while one stays on the floor and randomly calls out “freeze.” When that command is given the climbers must cease all movement, even if in the middle of moving from one hold to the next, for a pre-decided amount of time. Climbers may not move until given a “go” from the officiator timing the freeze. If a climber moves while in a “freeze” or falls off the wall he/she is out until next round. Last man standing (hanging) wins. Difficulty level can change based on the route or the time to hold a quot;freeze.” Training Value: Endurance strength, body position technique, and fun. Sent In By: Andrew Wild From City: Cumberland

    I use this game at the beginning of training (after warm up). All that you have to do is to mark the starting hold of a boulder line and the top (last hold) of it. Usually I use finger tape for markers.
    Kids have to start and end with climbing at the marked holds. Between them they can use any holds, foot steps, edges, … If they are good climbers you can limit holds by colour, use only foot steps for foot or limit the number of holds that they can use.
    Value: visualization, warm-up
    Hide & Find
    You will need some items which you are going to hide all over the wall. I use plastic caps (many different colours). Give the cap to each child. He has to remember the colour and shape then give it back to you. Then all the kids turn their backs while you hide all the caps. You place caps on the holds all over the wall. Hide them according to how good the climbers are (make them harder to find for the better climbers for example). When you are done every kid must find his own cap. If they are good climbers they must search for them while climbing. When a kid finds his cap he must climb to it take it and bring it to you. You can also play this game in pairs. One kid hides the cap and the other searches for it. Kids really love this game.
    Value: endurance, adaptability

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