7 October 2006

lessons from Gadd

Will Gadd enjoying Ben Nevis - straight talking is what you need when you want to break out of a rut and improve, Will comes through for us!

The Gadd has posted 8 of his hard earned lessons on training over on his blog. In this post he's talking about a general approach to training, and says he's been re-learning all this wisdom in his rock climbing training recently, not the ice bashing he's really famous for.

The main overarching thing I noticed about Will's list of training thoughts is what I've been trying to get over in this blog and my own climbing blog - that the same rules of life, (work, laziness, lack of time, and general s**t like that) apply to everyone including folk like Will who climb hard. Try being a world class ice climber, rock climber and paraglider all at the same time and throw in lots of work writing books and designing gear - being a pro-athlete means you have to be better at plate spinning that anyone else, and there are more plates, not less!

The best climbers have the same issues as anyone else. A lot of the time it's just about bot accepting the setbacks and getting of your ass and making it happen. Once that attitude is there and you have accepted your circumstances and got on with it, then you can progress to the nitty gritty, and the results will always follow. As Will says "its not complicated... Not enough time, not enough food, too late, too early, too hot, too cold, whatever, there are always going to problems. Deal with it and do your best. Despite my belief that yesterday's effort was a less than perfect it was still a hell of a lot better than having done nothing, and I can feel my upper body did at least get some sort of workout despite the fact I could barely do my normal warm-up problems. I need to rest today to climb on Yam tomorrow, so I'm glad I got it done even if my ego said I sucked at the time. I didn't suck, I trained, and tomorrow I will be stronger for my goal."

Canadians can always be relied upon to give it straight, and Will is no different. Its worth reading his post, 20 years at the top of his game is wisdom worth taking note of. For more of the same, check out Will's book:


Anonymous said...

"being a pro-athlete means you have to be better at plate spinning that anyone else, and there are more plates, not less!"
Of course it does Dave the rest of us have an easy life what with family(children and parents), careers, climbing, training.

Anonymous said...

Very reassuring when you want people to pay for you to coach them but don't have clue about the pressures they might be under. I seem to recall a piece by gresham where he took the opposite stance. he seemed to understand he was lucky and whilst he had to juggle he could focus much more on climbing without the distractions of the other things. elitism is not dead but alive and well in Dumbarton

Dave MacLeod said...

I'm sorry but I disagree with you. What I am saying is the exact opposite of elitism, it says that EVERYONE, both high level and low level climbers have life pressures. I am saying that ultimately life pressures are not in control of you, but you can be in control of them if you have the right attitude to them (the right attitude in this sense being one that leads to performance). The attitude that is needed for this is that the exercise of free will and application are what makes the difference between progression or lack of it in sport.

Of course some people are luckier than others to have less outside pressures, but to think that athletes succeed because of this is mistaken. Athletes succeed because they work harder, plan better, and find ways to deal with pressures so they can avoid being limited by them. That is what I have seen in my study of sport. Life is full of examples of extrordinary achievements made under exceptional life pressures. This demonstrates that attitude is key, not luck or fortune.

So when coaching climbers, I would take account of general life pressures and the constraints they put on time and energy, just as I have done for my own climbing, and work with them rather than be defeated by them.

Anonymous said...

So why say pro-athletes have to be better at plate spinning than everyone else if both high and low level climbers have life pressures. I've seen and know plenty of amateur athletes in all sorts of sports who have very heavy pressures and yet they perform week in week out.Its not about pro-athletes having more to juggle, some do, some dont. Many pro-athletes have the time to focus that is the envy of non pros and some "pro-athletes" could learn from the time mangement of non-pros. the elitism sits in your sweeping and generalised original statement not the view you present later.

TimHUK said...

First of all I have to state that I am in no way a pro-athlete, I am married, work in London, and my wife doesn't climb.

We all have pressures that get in the way of things we want to do in life but I can not understand how these "pressures" are the reason for not succeeding. Overcoming these pressures is a "choice", we are empowered, not subjects of them. Dave has made a "choice" in his life that enables him the opportunity to be one of the best climbers in the world, BUT, he also has to cope with the consequences of that choice, irregular pay (huge stress inducer), time away from Family, etc. Yes - some people are naturally better at plate spinning but this is only part of what gets you to Dave's level (plus plate spinning can be learnt/improved with practice). If you moan that external pressures stop us achieving our goals in climbing then I guess that this excuse can be used in all areas of your life - job, family etc.

Phil Wilson said...

Everyone has other things\pressures in their life which have a bearing on their training and climbing. What I think Dave is saying, is that pro-athletes also have these, and that in a lot of cases they may have more. Sports such as climbing are not an easy way to make a living, and so professional climbers often need to juggle a dozen income streams in order to afford to live and climb. He is not trying to say they have it worse or better, just similar in that there are lots of things to think about other than climbing.
I believe that if you really want to do something, you can always find a way. That way may not be very appealing but as I say, if you REALLY want it you will do it. Excuses are just that.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps if you brown tonguers go back to the original article you'll see that is not what he said at all. He said "being a pro-athlete means you have to be better at plate spinning that anyone else, and there are more plates, not less!" I disagree.

Nik G said...

Rich Simpson has said that he trained up to 35 hours a week in order to climb Action Directe (Fr9a). Jonny Wilkinson will spend 8 hours a day practicing his kicking. I think its easy to underestimate how much effort successful athletes put in to be the best. If it was easy, we'd all climb 9a. I think thats what Dave is getting at when he talks about spinning plates.

I'd be interested in how much time Dave spends training/climbing per week (I imagine it is loads). When you remove up to a working week of your time training, it doesn't leave a hell of a lot of time for having a normal life/earning money/etc.

lee.cujes said...

Hey Dave, it's been a few months and you've gone quiet. Are you planning on continuing the onlineclimbingcoach blog? I'm super keen to keep reading your thoughts.

Dave MacLeod said...

Hi Lee, Its been impossible for me to write for this blog for a few months due to a backlog of other writing work. Sorry! Things should be calming down soon though and I will have regular posts again.


lee.cujes said...

Excellent - looking forward to it.