Foundation Coach

This award is designed to enable coaches to be more effective in coaching the fundamental movement skills of climbing. Foundation Coaches will usually be concerned with the stimulating delivery of a single session to a group of individuals. They will often be assisting a Development Coach who will set the learning outcomes for the session, as part of a longer term progression, course, or scheme.

Coaching younger climbers

Is it for me?

There is a single registration for access to the Foundation and Development Coach schemes, and candidates wishing to register must:
  • Have a genuine interest in climbing and the coaching of groups on climbing walls.
  • Have at least six months experience of climbing on a variety of climbing walls.
  • Be at least sixteen years of age at the date of registration.
  • Be a member of a mountaineering council (BMC, Mountaineering Ireland, Mountaineering Scotland). If you are a member of a club that is affiliated (do check) that would suffice.
If you can tick all of the above boxes, here's what to do next:
  • Create an account on our Candidate Management System or log in if you already have one.
  • Register for the Foundation Coach scheme (this costs £47) - you will automatically be registered for the Development Coach scheme so that should you wish to progress at a later date, you can do so without having to register again.

Frequently Asked Questions


Before you book onto a Foundation Coach training course, make sure you meet the prerequisites as follows:
  • You must be registered on the scheme.
  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must have attended a FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop. Many candidates find attendance of FUNdas 2 is also beneficial at this stage.
Foundation Coach training lasts for 1 day/8 hours and will be run by one of our approved providers.


Coaching Scheme Handbook
(Handbook updated 28/03/18)


The syllabus for Foundation Coach focuses on three key areas:

What to coach

This is largely based on the FUNdamentals of Climbing 1 workshop run by the mountaineering councils. A solid technical understanding of these skills will allow you to deliver sessions that are appropriate to the group or individual.

How to coach

This element of the scheme will focus on delivery of the skills mentioned above. Key areas at Foundation Coach level include: coaching behaviours, planning, preparing and concluding, managing, sporting values, movement skills, physiology, giving feedback and evaluating.

Safe supervision

The Coaching Scheme is offered in parallel to Mountain Training's existing climbing qualifications, which means some people will already have covered safe supervision as part of a different award. For others, Foundation Coach may be their first engagement with Mountain Training and the safe supervision of climbers at all levels is an integral part of being a good coach. Topics covered include: equipment, belaying and the climbing wall environment.

Coaches are also required to attend a Safeguarding and Protecting Children in Sport module.

Detailed information on the syllabus for each level can be found in the Coaching Award Scheme Handbook and the onus is on you to be competent in all of them by the time you come to assessment.

Looking at centre of gravity


The period between training and assessment varies in length for each person and is an opportunity to develop your skills, paying particular attention to any weaknesses identified during the training course. You are expected to gain extensive personal climbing as well as coaching experience during this period.

The secret to effective development lies in diversity and variety of your experience. You should aim to work with as many different individuals and groups as possible while you hone your coaching skills.


Before you book onto a Foundation Coach assessment course, make sure you have done the following:
  • You must be at least 16 years old.
  • You must have attended a Foundation Coach training course.
  • You must have completed DLOG with your climbing coaching experience.
  • You must have prepared lesson plans which can be reviewed by the assessor (before the practical assessment).
  • Be appropriately experienced and qualified to supervise safe sessions in the environment in which you choose to coach. E.g. a site specific sign-off by a Technical Advisor for bouldering; a Climbing Wall Instructor for roped climbing; Climbing Wall Development Instructor for coaching lead climbing and Rock Climbing Instructor to coach on single pitch crags etc.
  • You must have completed a Safeguarding Children in Sport module.
Foundation Coach assessment will be practical, with a maximum of one hour per candidate to include observation of a coaching session.

Watch the video

Support and Development

Join the Mountain Training Association and be part of a community of like-minded people on our schemes. The Association offers a range of workshops for trainee and qualified leaders and coaches across the disciplines, as well as a quarterly magazine, gear deals/discounts, a monthly newsletter and an insurance deal. You can join the Association at any point after you have registered on one of Mountain Training's leadership/coaching schemes.
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Traversing to warm up

The next phase in the Coaching Scheme is Development Coach.