Self-Managed Performance Improvement in Elite-Level Sport Climbing - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

About This Presentation

Self-Managed Performance Improvement in Elite-Level Sport Climbing


Title: Self-Managed Performance Improvement in Elite-Level Sport Climbing Author: Test Last modified by: Eric Created Date: 2/2/2004 10:38:33 PM Document presentation ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

Number of Views:140
Avg rating:3.0/5.0
Slides: 14
Provided by: Test8287


Transcript and Presenter's Notes

Title: Self-Managed Performance Improvement in Elite-Level Sport Climbing

Climb Strong Technique Skill Training
  • Eric J. Hörst

Assessing Your Technical Development
Technical Elements Skills Excellent Good Fair Poor
Precise, quiet foot placements that carry your weight
Handholds are gripped lightly arms play a secondary role
Economy of movement (rhythm, pace, poise)
Use of rest positions
Use of nonpositive handholds (side pulls, underclings, slopers)
Use of flagging to aid stability and prevent barndooring
Handfoot matching and mantling
Twist lock, backstep, and efficient movement on overhanging terrain
Use of creative footwork (heel and toe hooks, knee locks)
Dynamic moves (deadpoints and lunges)
Jam crack climbing
Overview of Motor Learning
Motor learning is the process by which we acquire
physical skills. Motor learning occurs in three
identifiable and overlapping stages the
cognitive, motor, and autonomous
stages. Characteristics of Motor Performance
Cognitive Stage Motor Stage Autonomous Stage
Stiff-looking Movement More Relaxed Movement Smooth/Fluid Movement
Hesitant/Timid Approach More Aggressive Confident Aggressive and Confident
Muscle Through Moves Inefficiently More Efficient Movement Styles Through Moves Efficiently
Needs to Work Moves Repeatedly Figures Out Moves Quickly On-sights Most Moves
Needs much Coaching/Beta Needs Less Input/Feedback Solves Moves and Recognizes Errors by Self
Poor Proprioceptive Feel Better Proprioceptive Feel Excellent Proprioceptive Feel
Rapid Energy Burn More Economical Use of Energy Highly Economic Climbing
The Importance of Proprioception
  • Proprioception is your internal sense of body
    position and movement in space. No matter what
    you do physically, proprioception provides the
    brain with a high bandwidth of sensory data from
    the nerves in all of your muscles, tendons, and
    joints, as well as from the vestibular apparatus
    of your inner ear (provides sense of orientation
    with regard to gravity).
  • This vast amount of sensory feedback from the
    limbs and inner ear is processed unconsciously in
    doing simple tasks such as walking, cranking
    pull-ups, or dancing up an easy climb that
    requires little thought. More complex tasks,
    however, require conscious attention to
    proprioceptionand its in the awareness and
    diligent use of this information that separates
    master climbers from the mass of climbers.
  • Awareness of specific aspects of proprioception,
    or what I call proprioceptive cues, varies on a
    continuum from extremely course and general on
    one end of the continuum to exquisitely subtle
    and well-defined on the other end.
  • Beginning climbers initially possess a course,
    limited sense of internal feeling as they climb.
    For example, they may sense the basic quality of
    a foot placement, whether they are in balance,
    and most obvious, how pumped they are getting!
    This most basic proprioception is important, but
    it represents just a tiny fraction of the broad
    bandwidth of proprioceptive cues that an elite
    climber can perceive and leverage.

The Importance of Proprioception (continued)
  • With increasing experience (hundreds of hours of
    climbing) and a determination to grow your
    awareness of proprioceptive cues, you will come
    to recognize a steady stream of valuable movement
    cues from your bodys internal sense organs.
  • When practicing a new skill or working a move on
    a hard boulder problem or project climb, it is
    highly instructive to ask yourself how does it
    feel when I do it the right way (most
    efficiently) compared with when I do it the wrong
    way. Making this distinction empowers you to
    detect flawed execution and make corrective
    adjustments on the fly.
  • Becoming an intermediate or advanced climber,
    then, will correlate to your deepening sense of
    proprioception in a wide variety of climbing
    situations. Each type of rock, cliff angle, type
    of climbing, body position, and family of moves
    provides unique proprioceptive feedback that you
    must learn to interpret in order to move with
    fluidity and high efficiency. Much of this
    proprioception (and the resultant physical
    adjustments) occurs preconsciously when you are
    climbing submaximal sequences.
  • Crux movements and many novel moves, however,
    demand full attention to proprioception, thus
    leaving little remaining cognitive focus for
    other purposes. Many falls off crux moves that
    you have rehearsed and seemingly wiredor off
    easier moves when on-sightingare the result of
    poor attention to proprioceptive cues.

Examples of Proprioceptive Cues
Slabs Slabs Vertical Vertical
Feel relaxed throughout the upper body. Feel soft forearms. Feel a natural bend at hips that shifts your center of gravity over your feet. Feel the shoe edging or smearing on the rock. If smearing, feel your heels hanging low and the calf muscles stretching. Feel the majority of your weight on your feet. Feel weight shifting side-to-side as you stand up over each foot. Feel relaxed and steady belly breathing. Feel a sense of calm and lightness throughout your body. Feel center of gravity evenly positioned between all points of contact or centered over a dominate foothold. Feet more weight on your feet than on your hands. Feel the quality of your shoe contact with the rock. Feel your fingers touch on the rock, and relax them to the point just shy of letting go. Feel tension in your torso increase and decrease as needed to optimize leverage between your hand and footholds. Feel your leg drive propelling upward movement, while you sense the arms playing a secondary role. As much as possible, feel relaxed through your arms and shoulders. Feel relaxed, steady breathing, except for when you need to hold your breath for a hard move.
Examples of Proprioceptive Cues
Overhanging Overhanging Crack Crack
Feel your weight hanging on straight arms with relaxed biceps except on big moves feel biceps contract. Feel soft forearms when you are hanging on good holds feel taut forearms when pulling a small hold or pocket. When climbing straight on (facing rock), feel your legs and hips turning out and your feet pulling your center of gravity closer to the rock. When twist locking, feel tension throughout your torsofeel the tension connect your hand and foot contact points. When twist locking feel your center of gravity drawing in close to the rock (more over your feet). Between hard moves feel relaxation through your biceps and shoulders. Feel relaxed, steady breathing, except for during maximal moves. In finger cracks, feel your fingers twisting and biting in the crack, while your forearms feel somewhat relaxed. In hand cracks, feel the muscles in your palm squeezing and contracting, while the forearm muscles feel more relaxed (wiggle fingers to relax the forearm muscles). When jamming thumbs-down, feel your elbow torque downward to secure the jam. In fist cracks, feel hand muscles contract maximally, feel forearm muscle contract partially. Feel the crack securely squeezing on your toes or foot. Feel your weight positioned over your feet. Feel arms relaxing as much as possible. Feel leg drive propel the upward movement. Feel your arms playing a secondary role. Feel relaxed, steady breathing, and an inner sense of calm.
Lessons from the School of Motor Learning
  • Accept that you dont know it all and that you
    have a vast potential to improve.
  • Regardless of your level of expertise, know that
    theres always room for improvement. No climber
    ever graduates from the school of motor learning!
  • Embrace a beginners mindset.
  • Foster a constantly curious mindset in order to
    discover new moves, distinctions, and
    proprioceptive cues. Be a voracious learner.
  • Engage in scheduled practice sessions.
  • Commit a portion of your indoor climbing time to
    practicing skills, rather than constantly
    focusing on sending boulder problems and routes.
    Dedicate occasional outdoor-climbing days to
    practicing weaker skills and gaining exposure at
    new types of climbing.
  • Withhold judgment of your climbing performance
    during practice sessions.
  • Let go of the need to performleave your ego at
    the homeand concentrate on learning skills and
    refining movement, even if means falling and
    looking bad.

Lessons from the School of Motor Learning
  • Repeat newly learned moves/skills to develop
    accurate knowledge of proprioceptive cues.
  • Take mental note of the specific cues and
    consider writing them down to help lock the cues
    into long-term memory.
  • Train and climb with an open mind.
  • Aspire to glean wisdom from all you doacute
    awareness of subtle distinctions of mind and body
    is a common trait of all master climbers.
  • Accept feedback from a coach (or others) without
  • Recognize that constructive feedback is
    essential to elevating your game. Make it your
    long-term goal, however, to develop the acuity to
    self-diagnose and self-correct technical flaws,
    as your awareness of intrinsic feedback grows.

Tips for Improving Technique and Enhanced
Learning of New Skills
  • Engage in regular climbing practice.
  • Frequently go climbing with the intention of
    learning new skills and improving quality of
    movement, with little regard for absolute
    difficulty. Climb on as many different types of
    rock, wall angles, and areas as possible to build
    diverse skills and true climbing expertise.
  • Practice new skills and techniques early in the
    session while you are physically and mentally
  • Strive to discover the novel feeling of each
    movetake note of the proprioceptive cues of your
    successful attempts at a move.
  • Use blocked practice to accelerate learning of
    new moves.
  • During the initial trials of a new move, skill,
    or sequence, focus practice with repeated
    attempts until you develop feel and quality,
    controlled movement. After two or three
    successful repetitions, cease blocked practice in
    favor of variable and randomized practice.

Tips for Improving Technique and Enhanced
Learning of New Skills
  • 4. Employ variable practice to expand command
    of newly acquired skills over a wide range of
  • Vary the route conditions (angle, hold size,
    rock type, etc.) greater than you expect they
    will vary in real climbing situations. Note how
    proprioceptive cues for a given move change as
    the rock conditions change.
  • Practice known skills in varying states of
  • Practice core skills and recently sent routes in
    various levels of fatigue to increase mastery and
    to build long-term retention. Strive for crisp,
    economic execution despite your fatigued state.
  • Use random practice to enhance recall of widely
    varying skill sets.
  • Climb several very different routes back to back
    in order to mandate recall of many different
    motor programs.
  • Model the techniques and tactics of advanced
  • Also seek out high quality media to obtain sage
    advice and expert tips that will accelerate

Tips for Improving Technique and Enhanced
Learning of New Skills
  • Aspire to dominate at a climbing grade.
  • Focus practice on routes at or just below you
    maximum difficulty and resist the urge to
    constantly work routes beyond your ability level.
    Eschew constantly hanging on the rope as a modus
  • Resolve to find the best way to do a move or
    sequence and resist the urge to just thrash up
    the route and deem that as acceptable.
  • As a practice method, climb a route several
    times to identify the proprioceptive cues that
    will guide you to the most effective and
    efficient movement.
  • Possess a long-term perspective to learning to
  • No matter how fast you improve or how hard you
    climb, realize that you can still improve
    technique and learn new skillseven after ten or
    twenty years or more!

The End!
Write a Comment
User Comments (0)