6 April 2010
Climbers I’ve coached are sometimes quite dramatically split on their ability to try hard. A lot of them can move well on the rock, have fingers of steel, but just can’t grit their teeth and fight their way through a crux.
A lot are at the opposite end of the scale, they take a deep breath every single time they step on the rock and get themselves ready to give everything all the way to the top/bitter end.
This has some good effects, acute and long term. The long term effects are that the delivery of a high level of muscular effort provides a stimulus to get strong. The acute effects are you sometimes hit a slap for a hold you otherwise wouldn't. But it’s not all good.
Climbing isn’t sprinting. A continuous output of maximum workrate through the whole bout is the thing to do on the 100m track. In climbing, this causes as many problems as benefits. Application of force (effort) can only be done if your foot or hand is on the exact right spot of the right hold. And to get it there accurately you need to be quite calm.
So climbing hard is tough challenge of switching instantly between a mental state of calm decision making and feedback from the hands, feet and body position, and the explosive delivery of force during execution of the hard move.
Try hard, but only at the right moment.