Chris Eather’s philosophy at Freestyle Bouldering Gym boils down to one thing – enjoyment.
He wants people to create healthy habits along the way but he wants them to have a good time doing it.
That has played a big part in the increase in popularity of the sport in Tamworth.
Another reason for the increase comes down to exposure with bouldering now offered as an elective for sport at some schools.
“With the high school guys, we’ll have 800-1000 come through here this term and that’s individual people, not a collective group,” Eather said.
“Since going into the school sport space, we’ve gone from one session to three sessions a week.”
With more and more more kids being exposed to the sport, more are taking it up.
“That’s the funnel. They’re coming in with the school but then going ‘we enjoy this, we can do this as a sport’,” Eather said.
“The hardest part it seems to be is getting their friends, at least three of them [to compete as a team], to say yeah right, we’ll do it then.”
Eather, who has a youth development role on the board of NSW Sport Climbing, said the feedback from schools had been great.
And the results by the climbers, of all ages, has been promising of late.
In total, six representatives from Tamworth finished in the top 10 of their categories at the titles at the Sydney Indoor Climbing Gym.
Eather was chuffed with how the team performed.
“Everyone did really well,” Eather said.
“Everyone is happy with how they went and that’s most the important thing.”