On September 23rd, 2015 David was invited to the podium “Freeride, Parcour, Slacklining: Trend Sports with or without Expiration Date?” by the Academy of Sports in Lower Saxony (GER). The panel dealt with trend sports and their influence on youth life styles and organized sports (General report in German). David was supported by Axel Hake (IG Klettern / DAV-Landesverband Niedersachsen).
David explained that sport climbing has exceeded the initial stage of a fun sport towards a trend sport on the way to a well-established sport. There is already a recognized organized, competitional and economic infrastructure including gyms and distribution channels for specific sports products. But compared to established sports there are aspects missing such as an extensive support system for athletes, media presence as an advertising medium and a tourism and leisure economic marketing. While some regions, for example, in the Alps are already further developed in such aspects than they are in northern Germany, on the other hand, however, there are already some of them, such as Arco, that are overrun by climbing tourism with its downsides.
From Hake’s perspective who was invited to the auditorium it actually should be also important, in addition to the opportunities for young people arising from the booming gym situation and the increasing use of artificial climbing walls, to raise the possibilities for climbing in freely accessible natural areas, because they represent, just for the “gamer generation”, a close to daily life available space and a low-threshold access to natural movement experiences. Unfortunately, such freely available natural areas are on the wane in northern Germany. There is still much work to do for sports politics to achieve the potential of the forests fully recognized as a recreational sports resort and important source for youth health and athletic experience of self-efficacy and also personal limits without a social barrier.
Another essential point in the discussion was that the sports clubs and associations should use just the trend sports in the context of school cooperations to win children and teenagers and to bring them “into motion”.
Overall it was a successful event which has commanded a lively discussion with many impulses to continue.