Encouraging That First Trip to the Climbing Wall

Using a climbing wall to get students engaged in fitness. 

Trying to change the mentality of college students can sometimes be like pulling teeth. They have minds of their own and are glued to either their computer or smart phone – which takes up most of their days (aside from classes). Fitness is likely the furthest thing from their minds (unless they are an athlete); in fact, their idea of fitness may be giving their credit card a workout at the closest mall or Starbucks where they will probably order the Venti Frappuccino with all the trimmings. Their idea of fitness is probably very different from yours – if in fact they think about fitness at all.

Today’s students are all about being social (on Snapchat mostly) and sharing experiences. And that intersection is exactly where today’s climbing gym comes into play. Not only are climbing gyms becoming the place to socialize with friends, indoor climbing is looking like it is becoming the next fitness craze.

Smart recreation center operators are positioning themselves as not just as a place to climb, but as a “new type of community space” where people can work, play and relax — with cafe-type amenities such as comfy couches, Wi-Fi and fresh roasted coffee, as well as offering a variety of social programming – a perfect way to lure that college student who may be hesitant to try new things – especially a sport that may look daunting because climbers are naturally incredibly buff.

Here are 10 tips to encourage that first trip to the climbing wall:

  • Consider teaching a class there
  • Pair like students with similar skill sets
  • Serve refreshments
  • Make it social – ask students to develop a social media initiative to support their visit to the climbing gym
  • Have students make a video of this visit
  • Have one student write a blog
  • Consider hosting a class competition
  • Award most improved during the class
  • Designate student to take photo to turn into a class calendar that is sold for class fundraising
  • If successful, plan class trip to local climbing area to take this to the next level



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