20 April 2011

For climbing coaches : “In a Hurricaine…

...even Turkeys can fly”
I go on in my book and this blog a lot about influences and their importance on how well we climb. The above quote, reminded to me by a CEO talking about economics, made me nod and agree.
In a social group of climbers, like a group of friends, a climbing wall scene, a club etc there are some who are the beacons - they have so much energy and drive that it radiates onto everyone else nearby and helps them learn more, have that extra attempt, try that different foot sequence or bear down and hold that swing. If you are that person - great! All you need to do is learn to focus your energy and unleash it without inhibition at the right moments.
For everyone else, it’s a problem because without the warmth of external energy, you might not keep progressing, or may even go backwards in your climbing. The paradox is the that your challenge is to take what you can from the beacons, but also learn to be able to go under your own steam. This means understanding well what particular parts of the climbing game motivate you to do the mundane stuff, like try that problem all those different ways or complete those physio exercises, or do that training session on your own.
For coaches looking after a cohort of climbers - your task is tricky. You have to identify the beacons, channel their energy, not let them settle for just being the best in their little group.   Show them the next level of challenges before they lie back and forget how to be hungry for improvement. You also have to look for the turkeys (I’m only calling them that in ref to the above quote!) - the ones who will not keep showing up and giving it some if the beacon wasn’t there with them. Showing them how to stay patient, focused and enjoying the routine of climbing from within themselves rather than the social framework where it normally occurs is easier said than done. It’s best taken in small steps, with gentle  encouragement.