18 January 2012

Learning errors? come back fresh

The story behind this new problem from yesterday is on my main blog here. But I wanted to share a couple of lessons I learned from a few sessions trying this rather technical eliminate:
First, while trying it after a summer of trad when I was weak I went backwards on it. I couldn’t understand why at first. I had an awful session when I couldn’t even do the swing move at all. My raw finger strength was still there - I could feel it in how hard I could pull on the holds. But the move wasn’t working. I later learned that lack of recent bouldering mean’t I’d forgotten (relatively speaking of course) how to maintain maximal body tension through a sequence of very sustained moves. In the process of trying it over and over out of frustration, I accidentally learned many errors in the moves. I started taking the holds in a less efficient way, timing the movement wrongly and getting less weight through my feet.
It happened because I was ‘over thinking’ the movement rather than letting my subconscious mind do at least some of the work. Because I was previously able to do the moves easily, I concluded there must be a movement error I was making, and If I just experimentally tried subtle tweaks in the move I’d figure out the mistake. But there was no mistake, I just wasn’t quite strong enough and in the process of looking so hard at one move I learned some new errors and lost confidence.
How to avoid this problem if you are in the habit of redpointing? On the whole I’d still say it’s fine to try one move that you can’t yet do over and over for tens or even hundreds of times. But recognise that within the session you sometimes lose confidence, strength, positivity and make more errors, even if this effect remains largely subconscious. You’ll sometimes find that you come back next session with a fresh body and mind and do it straight off. The correct way to do the move will just happen spontaneously.
Take a break, try something else for a session and come back to it.
One other thing: The first move of the problem required pulling in super hard on a small heelhook on a spike. Wearing slippers (I took my tightest pair that I can’t even get on my feet unless it’s cold!) or even lace-ups if you pull really hard your boot might start to slide off and you’ll lose tension. A good solution in the pic below is to wear a sock for extra boot tightness and run finger tape through the pull-loops around your ankle. Point your toes downwards while you stick the tape down. It works a treat.

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