About Masterclass Coaching Academy

Book your place on the next course

MCA courses are currently running at our South West Centre, the Quay in Exeter.

The next course (Module 3, redpointing and competitions) will run in early Spring 2014 and we will announce dates shortly.

Click here to book your place


Our rigorous assessments are the key to ensuring that Masterclass coaches operate at the highest possible standards.

All courses must be attended prior to assessment. Assessments must be carried out a minimum of six months and a maximum of thirty months after attending all training courses. After this period has expired, re-training needs to take place. The assessment is for a combination of practical coaching skills, knowledge of theory and personal climbing ability.

Personal Climbing Performance - practical assessment

Personal climbing performance will be assessed using a combination of assessment on the day and supportive logbook evidence.

Criteria - personal climbing performance
  Onsight Redpoint Boulder Yrs experience
Masterclass Coach F7a F7b+ V6 6-7
Masterclass 'Master' Coach F7c+ F8a+ V9 8-10



On the first day of the assessment, after a warm-up, you will be required to demonstrate a route, 2 grades below the limit grade with 'perfect technique' and also onsight a route at the limit grade.


Candidates must present logbook evidence of having redpointed the limit grade on rock at least three times, and at least five routes the grade below that.


Whilst warming up for your onsight route assessment, you must complete a boulder problem a grade below the limit grade. Note that you will need logbook evidence of having climbed the limit grade on rock at least three times and at least ten problems the grade below that.

Routes and boulder problems chosen for assessment will be at the middle or lower end of the grade. Any angle or style of route or boulder problem could be selected for assessment, from slabs to overhangs.

Assessments will be conducted under mock 'competition conditions' (i.e.: with isolation).

Near misses may be accepted, at the examiner's discretion, if exceptionally good form is shown and if the coach has significant supportive logbook evidence.

Candidates will also be required to perform 'demos' (eg: right & wrong versions of different types of move) during the practical coaching assessments.

'Past Masters' - assessment of older coaches

For coaches over the age of 50 (who no longer climb at the required standard) assessments will be weighted less towards current personal climbing level and more towards logbook evidence. These coaches will need to show evidence of having climbed significantly higher than the assessment grades over a substantial period of time in order to qualify for a given level. Older coaches will still be assessed for current personal climbing ability, but the grade levels will be lowered (by 1 for over 50s, 2 for over 55s, and 3 for over 60s).

Personal climbing performance assessment - logbook

As well as completing a sufficient number of onsights, redpoints and boulder problems on rock at the required grades, all Masterclass coaches must be able to show broad experience of different climbing areas in different countries and on different types of rock. In addition, coaches must show evidence of competition attendance and participation. Note that recently logged climbs and competitions carry the most weight - the majority (approx 75%) of logged routes should be within the last four years.

The following must be recorded:

i) List of significant ascents, with approximate dates.

Please provide a name and contact details for your belayer/partner for all hardest routes.

ii) Overview of crags and areas visited during climbing career.

This should be centered around sport cliffs and bouldering crags. Trad climbing experience may also be recorded, and this will be taken into consideration but it will not count as a substitute for sport climbing and bouldering experience. An area can only be counted if you have climbed there for at least two days and climbed a notable number of routes / problems or a redpoint project. Please provide a name and contact details for partners on all significant climbing trips.

Approximate assessment criteria are given below:

Onsights on rock at limit grade 5
Onsights on rock 1 below limit grade 10
Onsights 2 on rock below limit grade 15
Redpoints on rock at limit grade 2
Redpoints on rock 1 below limit grade 2
Boulder problems on rock at limit grade 5
Boulders on rock 1 below limit grade 10
Boulders on rock 2 below limit grade 15
Total years climbing experience 7 (Coach) - 10 (Master)
Crags visited in UK 15 (Coach) - 20 (Master)
Total no. of crags visited in Europe 8 (Coach) - 10 (Master)
Countries visited for climbing in Europe 4 (Coach) - 5 (Master)
Countries visited for climbing outside Europe 2 (Coach) - 3 (Master)
Regional level comps attended 7 (Coach) - 10 (Master)
Regional level comps competed in 4 (Coach) - 6 (Master)
National level comps attended 4 (Coach) - 6 (Master)
International comps attended 2 (Coach) - 3 (Master)


iii) Coaching assessment - logbook

Evidence of practical coaching experience must be logged during the period between training and assessment. Coaching experience for a 1 year period before training commences may also be logged and will be taken into consideration. This must only include the relevant type of performance coaching (IE: intermediate improvers). Instruction work with beginners can not be logged)

Coaching logbook notes for aspirant coaches

Aspirant coaches are required to log the broadest possible range of different types of coaching session. For example: leading, bouldering and competitions as well as dedicated sessions for technique or training (including programme setting). Evidence of the use of video analysis is an essential requirement. Aspirants should also log a combination of shadowing work, as well as their own sessions. Coaches should provide evidence of working with clients at different levels (within the specified grade range) and a mix of 1:1 sessions and group work. Note that when aspirants are working with clients who climb significantly harder than them, they are advised to do so in a shadowing role, under the supervision of a higher level Masterclass coach.

Approximate guidelines for minimum number of coaching sessions over a 6 month period are 10 sessions shadowed and 10 sessions conducted.

iv) Coaching Assessment - written examination

All assessments will include a written exam, which will involve multi-choice and short answer questions on all coaching modules. The written exam will also include a video-analysis component.

A manual is given to all candidates at the start of each training course. Whilst course providers aim to cover all technical points from the manual during the course, inevitably, some will be missed. Note that any point that features in the manual may come up in the written exam.

Masterclass coaches are also required to have a good general knowledge of climbing areas, which should be gained from practical experience as well as background reading, and this will also be tested in the written exam.

v) Coaching Assessment - practical

At every assessment, candidates will be required to demonstrate relevant coaching techniques and work with mock clients under assessment conditions. Assessments for Masterclass coaches will also involve diagnostic skills, 'demos' and the use of video-analysis.