Updated: May 11, 2020
I (We). Want. To. Climb.
If you’re like me this phrase has begun to reverberate in your head with alarming frequency. Climbing is my escape, and without it in my life I feel like there’s something missing. Running and yoga and whatever else I try for exercise don’t quite scratch the itch the same way a good climbing session does. As far as I’m concerned, nothing does. So naturally, I often fantasize of the day that Coastal is able to safely open its doors again, chalking up and hitting some of the incredible new routes Kensie and the team set up for us.
Now as bummed as I am about all this time off, it has served to erase any bad (and good) patterns from my climbing. It’s just been too long an absence for anything to carry over. So let’s look at this as an opportunity for a fresh start. It's important to note that due to Governor's orders Coastal will likely have time slots and restrictions on how long people can be in the gym when they reopen in an effort to keep everyone safe, so it will benefit all of us to make the most of the time we're allotted. I’ve tried for a long time to impose some kind of training schedule or at least a little bit of organization to my sessions but I always end up defaulting to doing a few warm up climbs, then projecting until I’m too gassed to keep going. I know I should try something with a little more method to the madness but its hard when all I want to do is that problem that I couldn’t quite get last time. Does any of this sound familiar to you? Maybe your issue isn’t quite the same as mine, but never less if there’s something you wish to change about how you structure your sessions at the gym or approach your climbing, especially in light of the new time slots, this piece is for you.
I’ve collected three articles for you all in an effort to “get back to basics.” Now I know many of you are well past the basics despite this long gap in climbing, but maybe it can help you look at your session planning with a fresh set of eyes for the future. If you’re more on the beginner to intermediate side of things, these articles can help you learn to identify your weaknesses and approach climbing with a more definitive path for improving.
This first article from indoorclimbing.com is about as “back to basics” as it gets, going through the various parts of a climbing experience, but regardless there’s still tons of useful tidbits you may have forgotten about since you last climbed. I particularly liked the explanations of static vs dynamic moves. These are things we all do on the wall but may not consider what exactly is happening when we do them. Having greater insight to what is happening during these movements can help us perform them with greater consistency.
This second article is by climbing trainer Steve Bechtel, from climbstrong.com, and focuses on how to approach your climbing practice. This article took me for a loop as I realized I was doing the same things over and over in the gym. One piece that was particularly impactful for me was the “feedback” part, and how instrumental that is to getting better. He suggests filming yourself or getting a friend to so you can see exactly what it is that you’re doing, right or wrong. If you want to take that one step further he suggests the Coach’s Eye app, which runs an analysis and lets you compare one attempt to the next. Its $4.99 on the app store.
This final article by rockandice.com is a collection of many of the individual moves that you might perform during a climb. I chose this one because Bechtel’s article talked about working on weaknesses, and with so much time out of the gym it seemed prudent to give a little review of everything. Running through this list and its explanations can better help you remember what you felt confident doing and what might need some work.
Well there you have it folks. Three articles to help you improve in your climbing and my two cents about them. Each of these articles contain links to follow within them so don’t stop with just these, they were just meant to whet your palate, a primer if you will.
I hope you’re all staying safe and healthy out there, I’ll see you in the gym!