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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Possibly the best and worst videos recently on performance in climbing, and a discussion on motivation

On DeadPointMag, lovely video on just going climbing for the enjoyment of going climbing. Pretty much why I travel to new climbing areas as much as I can, don't get into long-term projects, spend most of my time focusing on my best average level and not my maximum.

The other, from Adidas Outdoor (you know Adidas, the company that now owns FiveTen, and making a massive push into the outdoor arena...), again with Sasha DiGiulian, from the opposite perspective. Lovely comments in parts, a good example of why having a light physique is bad at times (i.e. I suspect she's had all those injuries while bouldering as her muscular structure isn't strong enough to take the impacts), and shocking at 4:25 on the bit about her fingers and the bends in them as the tendons didn't allow the bones to form correctly.
If you ever wanted an idea of why it's a bad idea for youths to train too early without proper monitoring/coaching this is it! Essentially, until about aged 16/17, the bones in your fingers haven't fused yet so due to strengthening of the tendons in your fingers can leave to life-long damage. Want to read it from a more official source? See this article from Audrey Morrison on the BMC: http://www.thebmc.co.uk/growing-pains-training-young-climbers

That's not to say that youths shouldn't be climbing, and even climbing hard, it's that they need to be guided sensibly and sustainably, staying away from high intensity training tools such as campus boards and fingerboards!

Personally, I've had the similar experience with introduction to climbing at Dublin City University (DCU) at aged 18. We didn't know any better, and I was psyched. We climbed tons (I mean TONS - I think in second year of college, I climbed every day for about three or four months straight), and we climbed a lot on smaller and smaller crimps as the boulder problems we set got harder and harder. Of course, I got really strong in that one type of hold (I remember being told by a UK visitor of one of my problems being Font 7c or harder - not that I cared what grade it had as we didn't really grade anything at DCU - which it turns out is a bad thing in many ways! - , I was just psyched for trying hard moves) until I trashed a tendon from crimping too much. Of course, research (this was back when the Internet was not the fountain/most-of-it-junk-mountain of knowledge, or videos, that it is nowadays) and experience in time introduced me to open-handed climbing (of which I'm wayyyyy stronger now), smarter attitude to climbing, and I learned gradually.

Climbing training is largely in the stone ages  - unstructured, haphazard, erratic, uninformed -for most people which I always find fascinating considering how much people are psyched on their sport and the amount of time spent doing it that they don't seem to plan out what they're doing (although I've come across a few people this year who were following rough plans and willing to chat about it which always helps motivate everyone - but I do suspect that there's a few out there doing stuff and not really willing to open up unless in the inner circle) but it's cool to see it's developing continuously and shared motivation continues to develop. See this commentary about Ireland 'Mission Marathon' here as an example in another sport. Short story, if you went to do better in your sport, surround yourself with motivated and motivating people and you'll all progress.

I love seeing stories like the one of Chris Webb Parson flashing the 8b in Wales and re-writing people's perspectives of possibilities. I remember watching him, one of many pros to watch over the years, last year in Sheffield and some of the strength levels were off the chart of my mindset, even in comparison to strong locals (and just as much and more so over anyone in Ireland, I've see some really strong people here but nothing world class yet. Not for lack of ability, just that the perception of maximum level is lower). I don't see it as anything impossible for myself or anyone else with the correct mindset - I see it as a culmination of motivation, willingness, and surrounding yourself in the right people/mindsets (see Mission Marathon, and the paragraph below).

I've gotten complacent over the years (I think with hindsight I'm like the description at the start of this video in the first 1-4 minutes - and yes, it's not a climbing video so keep your mind open!) - and it's all down to surrounding yourself in high performers to bring up your own level. That's a hint to all those who are keen and motivated - surround yourself people with high standards/experience/levels/vision and learn from them! Become "the small fish in the big pond" and have "your game dragged up"!
Want an example of this? Magnus Mitboe, you know the guy from the cool training video below, with this description: 
"He ended 4th in the last World championship. Here you can see why! He can do 6 pull-ups using his middle finger, and 60 one-armed pushups"
He followed the 'high performers' and lived in Innsbruck where many of the top competition climbers are based, learned from them, returned to Norway and used that as his benchmark, not the local level. Who's going to be the first to do that here?

What do you think on these videos?

p.s. in case anyone is wondering, I'm feeling in a controversial mood the last few months in relation to some ideas of mine! All thoughts welcome :)