Standing 5’8″ with a +2″ ape index
Originally from New Orleans, Brad moved to Colorado to be closer to outdoor climbing. When he’s not climbing outside, you’ll find him around the gym working with the youth team or private coaching clients.
What is your favorite climbing area?
Horse Pens 40, Alabama
What do you like most about the DBC?
The community of climbers and quality route setting.
Want to know more!? Read Brad’s full employee interview below:
We have a bunch of little crushers on the DBC youth team, and behind their training is our head coach, Brad Richard. Get to know him a bit in this interview, and then learn a little about how a coaching program can help you in your climbing too!
How did you originally get into climbing?
I was introduced to it by a friend after injuries in my soccer career. I did it once and I was hooked. I think I was really drawn to climbing because of how natural it was and how easy it was to grab my shoes and just head to the bouldering wall for a session by myself. It was really interesting to figure out how I should approach climbing, because it forces you to rely on yourself. After coming from soccer for so long, it was so different, so I was really attracted to that as well. I was just really attracted to it from the start.
How old were you when you started climbing?
21. So pretty old, comparatively speaking.
How did you get into instruction and coaching from there?
I always had great coaches growing up, especially in high school, and they were huge influences in my life. After I graduated high school, I helped out coaching my high school soccer team and really enjoyed doing that, and working with some of the younger kids. Then it just so happened that when I started climbing I lucked out and pretty much the only experienced climber in Louisiana at the time took me under his wing and taught me a lot about climbing, and it really helped my path as a climber. I think the experiences with my soccer coaches and that climbing mentor really inspired me to try to help and give back to the community, so I’d always try to help new climbers and give them the same direction that helped me on my path as a new climber. Then when a new climbing gym finally opened up in New Orleans, they started recruiting for a youth team, and it was just a natural progression for me to take the position as head coach. I was in business school at the time and not really psyched on what I was doing, but really loved working with the climbing team. After a while of doing that, I decided to drop out of school and move out here, and here I am.
How does a youth climbing team compare to other sports teams?
Personally, I think kids can benefit from being involved in any sport that they’re passionate about and that inspires them. I know soccer really helped me as a kid in my maturation process and gave me a lot of opportunities that I would not have had otherwise. I think climbing is like that in a lot of ways as well, but different in the sense that it teaches kids to be fairly self-resilient from an early age if they have good coaching and good direction. Also, unlike a lot of sports that are spent primarily inside, climbing can really take you all over the world and show you a lot of different places that you wouldn’t see otherwise, and I really enjoy that.
How do you approach teaching the DBC team?
I go into every practice with a pretty detailed plan for the day that works in conjunction with an overarching plan for the year for each climber. But working with kids it doesn’t always go according to the plan. Sometimes the kids will come in really tired from a long weekend or a rough day at school, etc. etc. So I’m always trying to keep an eye on each kid to know if I should make those types of adjustments to each practice.
What does a typical team practice look like?
It’s mostly climbing, because I think that’s how you’re going to get better at climbing, especially when you’re that young, strength training is not really going to help them so much. But there’s a little bit of strength training in there as well for sure. I definitely try to keep the kids really engaged in what they’re doing. I think there’s a big difference in telling the kids to just go climb a bunch of easy routes, as opposed to telling them to climb a bunch of easy routes focusing on how many moves they’re doing, or focusing on a specific type of movement. They definitely try to go through the motions and just get through it as quickly as possible if you don’t force them to stay in the moment for each thing that they’re doing.
What are some of your favorite things about working at the DBC?
Definitely the community of climbers and the people I get to work with. It’s really awesome to get to work with a bunch of similarly psyched climbers all working toward the same goal.
Where do you like to climb outside?
Right now I’m psyched on Mt. Evans.
What fuels you when you’re climbing?
Definitely sour patch kids.
What tunes do you jam to on the wall?
Pretty boring, just a lot of classic rock.
Any suggestions for an older climber looking to improve?
Anyone climbing at any level can benefit from having a coach to give them an objective analysis of their climbing. You really hit plateaus at all levels and consulting with an experienced coach can switch up your stale training program or approach to climbing to help get through those plateaus, regardless of your level.
Brad also helped us put together some detail about the coaching options available to all DBC members and guests, regardless of age…
One-time, individual 90-minute lesson
Work individually with a coach to determine your weaknesses and get some ideas of how to address and improve in those areas.
Personalized coaching program
Work long-term with one of our coaches to design and implement a personalized coaching program, and work through the program with a coach. This is a more thorough option, and gives you the opportunity to go over each technique, exercise, and drill directly and personally with a coach.
Every Sunday, we host an intro to climbing workshop and an advanced climbing workshop. These workshops are an hour long, and are limited to eight participants, so although they are not guaranteed to be one-on-one coaching sessions, you still get a pretty personal and intimate experience. Workshops are free to members or free with a day pass for guests.
Looking for a different training or coaching option than what’s listed above?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll see if we can set something up for you!