British Finals

London and the south east winning again!

London and the south east winning again! (Photo Sandy Carr)

Every year the British Mountaineering Council (BMC) host the Youth Climbing Series. This year, the London and south east region was split into two smaller sub-regions – north and south. This meant the first two rounds were essentially qualifying rounds to the regional finals.

This year I have been coaching various youth climbers in the region and the whole of the Surrey Sports Park squad alongside Guy Davenport. For those that I have been coaching since January peaked perfectly. The whole team (those going to Ratho and those staying at home) were going from strength to strength – peaking perfectly for the British finals.

For those that I have been coaching outside the squad, it has been a matter of working on their weaknesses and getting used to competition stresses, both physically and mentally looking at various comp practice sessions.

The day arrived and I have to say I was excited more than anything. Really looking forward to how they were all going to climb. I was confident in their training and their current form and rightly so.

From Surrey Sports Park, we were taking Up Sam Jenner (boys B), Issy Adams (girls C) and Finley Adams (boys E). From outside the squad, Imogen Horrocks (girls B), Beth Christian (girls D) (who are part of the White Spider squad) and Amelie Clarke (girls E).
The format for the finals proves really hard for the climbers to stay warm and prepared for their next climb, switching from boulder problem to route and vice versa constantly. Along with the huge rests between climbs the temps in the arena meant that the climbers were constantly in need of a pulse raiser to get the blood pumping and warm up climbs.

It would be far too long a blog to go on about individual moves and climbs, but all of the guys did incredibly well, helping London and south east win for the 5th year on the trot!

For full results click here

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Imogen Horrocks digging in deep to get 3rd!

Imogen Horrocks digging in deep to get 3rd!(Photos Sandy Carr)

Highlights were Immy putting in a strong performance on the girls route 1 and flashing all of the problems to come in 3rd;
Sam tearing down everything in his path, getting the hardest boulder problem 3rd try (which was quicker than any other), flashing his first two routes and making a few tiny errors on his third route to put him 5 points off 1st;
Issy climbing her heart out – flashing all routes, flashing first two problems and then making a little error getting her third boulder second go. This actually meant 2 climbers were tied for first and two third (Issy). As a result, after cooling down and thinking the long day was over, we (myself, Freddie Naish and Issy) were put behind the wall and into isolation ready to try Boys A route 3! Issy had never been in this experience for real, so it was straight into her home comforts – routine warm up, and reassurance that she just needed to climb as she had been and have fun – she went out and got higher than anyone else – higher than some of boys A;

Last but not least, Fin – he worked hard throughout the day, putting in some beastly performances, highlighting how strong this little guy is. Finley came in 2nd this year and it really was well deserved. He looks up to many of the world cup circuit climbers and I have full confidence that he will be up there in the future too.

Beth Christian came a very respectable 5th and Amelie 10th!!! GREAT EFFORT!

All of these names will be very prominent in the competition climbing in the coming years so keep your eyes out for them.

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Sam cruising his way into 2nd (Photo Sandy Carr)

Sam cruising his way into 2nd (Photo Sandy Carr)

Three from Surrey and three on the podium.

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Issy and Finley Adams 3rd and 2nd respectively!

Issy and Finley Adams 3rd and 2nd respectively! (Photo Sandy Carr)

issy boulder 2

Photos courtesy of Sheron Robinson and Scott Adams

finley boulder 3

 

It was a long day, but everyone enjoyed it. The routes were set well, although I believe there were some last minute admin changes meaning boys B had a 4, 5+ then 7b/+ for routes?

Despite being a long day, the competitors don’t actually climb that much, so as a reward (always planned), we drove south and climbed at Carrock Fell with some good friends taking Sam (Jenner) along with us.
Not ideal temps, but the boy showed his training had paid off – showing us all up really!!!

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Two V5s, a V7 3rd go, a hard V8 within 5 and a V8 flash! This was his 5th day out on the rock.

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I would like to thank all of the parents who have supported the efforts of the team and driven their children from wall to wall to help us deliver our programme. On top of that, Climbers Against Cancer for the tops and Theraband for the warm up goodies. Sam is also supported by Scarpa and Crimp Clothing.

For now a rest period and on to the next competitions. These guys are climbing so well, it is just so exciting to see how they perform at each comp. A few new additions to the team and we will really be pushing things to the next level, watch this space.

Stepping Through to the Next Grade

Copyright - Urbanrock

When we learn to climb, we climb instinctively, pulling with our upper bodies and really neglecting our legs. We climb as we do trees or ladders – front on. When it comes to rock climbing, this isn’t really efficient and as we deal with much smaller holds, or more complicated moves, we tire out and can easily fall off a route/boulder problem if the correct technique isn’t used.

Last month, I wrote a blog for Urbanrock.com on footwork, THE most important aspect of your climbing. If you are yet to read it, please click HERE.

Moving on from this, we have just released the second part of the series, Training for Climbing. It is on the “step-through“. This is such an important technique to use as it keeps your body weight over your feet, making your legs do the work so your hands/arms can relax. It is a fast and efficient style of climbing that will transform your climbing.

Have a read about how to perform the technique HERE.

I hope it works for you!

Toeing the Line

Robin on Deliverance. Photo Courtesy of Paul Keleher - DOSummitGood

Robin on Deliverance. Photo Courtesy of Paul Keleher – DOSummitGood

Footwork

The foundation of climbing. If you can’t use your feet, then you’ll be throwing away energy and climbing inefficiently. Explore what are the signs of bad footwork and how to improve yours by reading the Urbanrock’s Blog on footwork.

In this blog, I explain how to determine if you are not placing your feet correctly and how to correct sloppy footwork including how to smear and foot-swap/match correctly. Most indoor climbers neglect their footwork to focus on more “obvious” weaknesses – such as strength and endurance. The truth of the matter is, start with the basics and improve what will dramatically improve your climbing.

This is the first of the series of climbing technique, so keep an eye out and let me know your thoughts.

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Resin to Rock

With a wet start to 2014, the majority of my climbing and coaching has been indoors. Winter, the season for us to train and the season for us to get ready for our projects, competitions and goals. However, with the seasons changing, so does our focus and the last few weeks has allowed me to get on the rock with my clients. For most of them, this has been their first experience ever, but it didn’t really hinder them at all.

Sam on Not To Be Taken Away - photo Paul Keleher

Sam on Not To Be Taken Away – photo Paul Keleher

Stanage

Over the CWIF weekend, I headed up to the Plantation with an eclectic bunch. From competition youth climbers to friends and family. The old and wise vs the young and naïve? Not so much…

Three of the guys who came up with me are clients – two boys on the Surrey Sports Park performance squad (Sam and James) and Paul – an experienced mountaineer (Everest summiteer). It was all of their first time on Grit. With cold and windy conditions, they immediately absorbed themselves with the overwhelming friction on hand. After showing them round a few classic warm-ups, we got stuck in (along with team Ireland) on the Green Traverse.

Robin demo deliverance Rol, Paul and CAC

From James and Paul, it allowed them to know this problem and have something to return for. For Sam, it was the start of the send train…an easy flash, great going for someone who had only been outside climbing once before. From here we went on to get very close to Zippy’s traverse, Deliverance and The Storm…we will be back for his unfinished business! The tips went through and it was time to leave, but enthusiasm was high – Paul went back for the following three weekends, dragging his wife along too (who also loved it)!

James Stanage

Portland

Back with the Surrey Sports Park team, a few others and Guy Davenport – the other coach at Surrey. Again, for most, it was their first time on rock and from 8 year olds to 14 year olds (plus parents), it was great to set some goals. Bouldering was on the agenda at The Cuttings boulderfield with routes in reserve for later.

Rob Crack b t

Everyone made flashes of all of the Warm-Up boulder’s offerings, from VB to V3. It was very impressive to see these youth climbers make short work of some tough in the grade problems. They all moved well and they were loving it…top outs were interesting at first, but once we went through how to (ideally) do it, the beached Whale approach stopped.

Acertop out

Moving on to various V3s and V4s, the team did really well. Sam had joined us again and we set Lightning Strike as his goal for the day. Lightning Strike is a superb boulder in the middle of the boulderfield. Starting in the roof of a cave and turning the challenging lip, the boulder gets V7 and I think it’s fairly good at that grade.

We talked through the beta, showed him the holds and it was done…4th go a solid effort with some interesting footwork at the end!

Sam LS

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Sam LS top

We moved on to some routes and it was good to see some good onsights of 5s and 6as from Rob and the others on some dubiously bolted routes.

Sam V5

Rob Lead C

Cheddar

I’ve been down to Cheddar a few times this year and a route I want to do is still a wet streak amongst dry limestone…plenty more to do though. I went down on Friday with Paul (from Stanage) – and again, it was his first time at the crag (climbing).

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Paul has been training hard on a programme I have written him. He certainly did well at Stanage, climbing some V4s and V5s which were personal bests at the time. On sport routes, his previous PB was a 6b. Knowing how he had been climbing and his strengths/weaknesses I told him a few routes that would prove as good goals for the day.

After a shaky start, Paul and I arrived at one of the goals for the day, his first 7a. I made the decision to get Paul to bolt-to-bolt the route on his first go, getting used to the moves, holds, footholds and falls (getting the head in game). He looked pretty comfortable on it, so on the way down got him to iron out some slight issues and link through the crux…

From here, we had a good rest period and started reminding ourselves of the beta – feet and hands, sequences, body positioning, clipping and shaking points. When to climb slowly, and when to pounce.

Paul started off smoothly, getting to his first crux in short time. A little hesitation, but he was through. Now, onto the final crux and a big dynamic move…one miss fire, two miss fires, third time lucky, Paul gave it a little more and topped his first ever 7a! Great effort and a good day.

Paul Raw Deal

I get a lot of satisfaction coaching people indoors, but this is only exaggerated outside for me. Seeing people experience different types of rock, new crags, new areas and new climbs is just amazing, but seeing them achieve their goals as well is the icing on the cake.

Hopefully this weather is here to stay and with it, more days on the rock and more goals ticked.

If you would like to find out more about being coached outside, drop Robin and email on coaching@robinolearycoaching.com

 

 

 

 

How to train hard and not get injured?

 

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Youth climbing has become a hugely competitive aspect of our sport. Today, we see the likes of Ashima Shiraishi, Mirko Caballero, Cameron and Jonathan Horst as well as Shawn and Brooke Raboutou climbing at an exceptional level at such a young age. They are following in the footsteps of Alex Megos, Adam Ondra and of course Chris Sharma, Dave Graham and Tommy Caldwell.
We see many guidelines on how to train safely for under 18s, but surely this would not allow these guys to achieve such high levels of performance? Do they fingerboard, do they campus board? Do they train?
In my latest article, I have joined up with physiotherapist Nina Leonfellner to ask many questions about training safely as well as approaching Mirko Caballero, Molly Thompson-Smith, Sierra Blair-Coyle and Alex Megos, asking them how they are climbing at this level at their age? Did they follow these “guidelines”? Have they ever been injured? Do they have any words of advice for the next generation?

Find out more by reading my latest article on UKClimbing.com here.

BMC Youth Climbing Series 2014 London and the south east

Youth Climbing Series
.SSP CACssp teamSam Trophy

In mid January I joined the Surrey Sports Park to coach their squad. We had a tough job on our hands with very little time to prepare for the BMC Youth Climbing Series (YCS) 2014. After putting their training programme together with Guy Davenport (who also coaches the team), we have been working furiously to get ready in time, and what a good job they all did. Throughout the first two rounds, we got six 1st places, three 2nds and 6 thirds, taking the whole team through to the finals which took place Saturday 29th March at The Castle Climbing Centre.

The Surrey Sports Park squad has really improved over the last two months and it was great to see them compete at such a tough level. All the team should be proud of how they climbed.

The 3 stand-out performances for me were by, Sam Jenner, Issy Adams and Finley Adams who all won the regional finals in perfect style, well done guys!!!

ISSY B2 ISSY BOULDER SAM BOULDER FIN boulder

 

After a slight rest week this week, the team will be back to work getting ready for Ratho and the other upcoming national BMC competitions later this year.
Bring it on!

A quick note to say that we are very proud to support Climbers Against Cancer with our new kit, thanks John. Also a big thank you to TheraBand and Coach’s Eye for your products and support.

If you are looking for youth performance coaching, please drop me an email on coaching@robinolearycoaching.com for more information.

Finger Injuries

POP is usually the first thing you hear (and feel) when you get a finger injury.
Nina and I have been writing away to create our latest article on all matters fingers.
From pulley tears/sprains to DIP and PIP joint inflammation.

If you are feeling like your fingers are bruised or recovering from a finger injury have a read and read what you should be doing.
If you’ve never had a finger injury – read it for tips on how to avoid the finger injuries.
Click UKClimbing.com to read the article.

Next up – youth climbers and injury prevention.

Video Update: Demo of Elbow Exercises

In case you are yet to read the article about elbow injuries, please visit UKClimbing.com. This is part 2 of the series which Nina Leonfellner and I have released discussing the common injuries climbers suffer from and how to combat/treat them.

I had some requests asking to clarify how to use the Thera-Band Flexbar. This is a great tool which can treat various conditions, from elbow tendonitis to wrist and shoulder injuries.
Click here to buy your Thera-Band Flexbar, well worth it.

Have a look at the video below, hopefully it will clear things up.

Elbow Injuries

Golfer’s elbow? Tennis elbow?
If you are suffering from either condition, have a look at my latest article on UKClimbing.com which I wrote with Nina Leonfellner. It is a condition that WILL affect you at some point in your climbing career. I know many very competent and knowledgeable climbers that have been wiped out for 3 months, 6 months and even up to 2 years. It usually strikes when you are at your strongest, which is why people try to climb through it…this is not a good idea.

So that you understand this debilitating condition, read the article and take note of the exercises. If you add them to your strength and conditioning sessions, you will keep it at bay.

As we discuss in the article, many of your injuries occur due to poor posture and technique when climbing. If you would like to have your climbing assessed, please drop me an email on coaching@robinolearycoaching.com and we can book a video analysis session.

Shoulder Impingement

Robin 7b+

Having written the injury management and prevention articles, Nina and I decided to release the series through UKClimbing.com. The first part is for shoulder impingements/shoulder injuries. If you are suffering from a pain “in” your shoulder, it is definitely worth a read – click on the hyperlink here.

If you have any questions, or need video analysis to assess your climbing style to see if there are technical flaws causing damage/injuries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

The next part of the series is on elbow injuries and will be highly useful for those suffering from that annoying twinge that stops you pulling hard.