Friday, 18 October 2013

ReAch Training and Online Documents - 6 Month Membership

Malcolm Simth on the crux of Blood Diamond (8c+), Anvil

We have been developing a range of climbing specific articles based on personal coaching experience, client response and other sources since the formation of ReAch Climbing Coach since 2010 and are now offering a 6 month membership to ReAch Training & Research Online Documents for £25.00.

Please contact to arrange access to our online training documents.

Owen on working maximal finger strength at the Beacon in North Wales.

Bouldering in Pyrenees.

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Exceptionally empty Headed!

As someone who took a dose of psychotherapy in the Pyrenees to overcome a less than ordinary and apparently traumatic childhood, I am of the belief that the mental aspect of climbing as close to your true personal limit is more important than focusing too much on the minutiae of the training or the apparent tangible goal.

Finding inspiration in climbing for me, has always been about finding the truth in what I am doing and why. The motivation is driven by that single belief that something exceptional can happen and working out what part one needs to play to be part of it. Being open to others and taking inspiration from them to keep you going or closing a little and training alone without interruption from others, can work simultaneously and so I suppose for me, knowing when to do what feels right is the key.

Training obviously needs structure, but the motivation to train hard for sustained periods comes from the mind. Learning more about the interruptions from the mind explained more to me about my erratic performance on rock. Learning to approach climbing with as much focus on being relaxed and as little about performance whilst concise with action in the moment on the climb, is something I have been trying to embed in my psyche for over a year now... A kind of empty headed approach with just one thought of 'UP'!

Bouldering in the Pyrenees (Photo: Ruth Jenkins)
Recent events have made me look at where climbing fits in to my life and where it shifts around in my personal circumstances. A low self esteem has played a huge part in motivating me to try harder but also been the main inhibitor. But perhaps climbing is less about competing with myself and more about enjoying the minutiae of each move in the moment and let the rest just take care of itself.

I think that coaching and transferring a 'real' motivation to others is directly linked with finding honesty in the situation and dealing with it openly to build trust for tougher times, as often needed when trying to do something exceptional. Believing that something exceptional can happen is perhaps the difference that hold things together when the apparent blockages seem un-achievable otherwise, the apparently un-achievable is just allowed  to sadly become unbelievable...

 Exception: "An action that is not part of ordinary operations or standards."

Training from 6a to 8a in 180 days: workshop

Working Reinne De Sabart (8b), Ariege, France
Mark McGowan will be available for coaching workshops in Scotland, England and sunny Wales focusing on the training process and psychological aspects of getting from 6a to 8a in 180 days... Please contact for further information.

6a to 8a in 180 days Workshop

"I've had the pleasure of meeting some coaches in the last few months. Thanks to their interest on trying our training methods and fingerboards, we have started to share information and cooperate in a way that undoubtedly will make all of us progress both as climbers and trainers:
-Carlos Cabrera (Sweden): Coach of Geir Söderin, Matilda Söderlund, Daniel Andersson, Robert Rundin (Sweden National
Climbing Team) and Said Belhaj.
-David Mason (Sheffield, UK): Boulderer (8B Fb) and Assistant British Team Coach.
-Juan Martín Miranda , "Marvin" (Argentina): Personal Climbing Coach and Argentine Team Coach.
-Mark McGowan (Glasgow, UK): Climber, currently working as Personal Climbing Coach at Barcelona, Spain.
Thank everyone, It's a great honour to share experiences with you!” (Eva Lopez)"

Thursday, 3 October 2013

Jo Lucas ... 6c to 7c

Jo sending Silk Teddies (7c)

I began coaching Jo in August 2011 at Ratho in Edinburgh, then a board session, then onto the full program for two long seasons. We have climbed and trained together in the UK, Spain and the French Pyrenees and it was great to hear of her recent news of red pointing two 7c's within a few weeks of each other. Although her previous career was modelling in Tokyo, her ability to train daily and change her body for climbing has been mind blowing.

Jo working an 8a in French Pyrenees
I have never met anyone with such a positive outlook on her life and Jo has always inspired me to try and get the best from my life. A coaching relationship is a two way thing and Jo has supported me in my times of personal difficulty with her unrelenting openness and friendship. Well done Jo, well deserved after 2 years HARD training. And well done to your 'Spaniard' for putting up with it!

Jo and Amanda at Dunkeld, Scotland

... 8a next year? No PRESSURE!...

To join up with ReAch Online Dual Factor Program then please contact for information. English and Spanish Programs available...

Referrals from clients:

"...This training season I decided to get all the help I can to speed up my improvement. I needed guidance to work towards my goals in long term. I also needed more vision and opinions about my exercises and weak links. I am glad I can share my training with Mark..." (Ville Mustonen, Finland)

" I met Mark in Glen Nevis on his return to climbing to check out some lines he had in mind for me, I wasn't really training at this point but after a day or two talking and training with him I had a much more structured idea of what to do to improve and I did" (Kev Shields)