Monday, 24 February 2014

Coaching for the BMC PARA - CLIMBING SERIES 2014 with Gwyn...

I was lucky enough to be asked to coach Gwyn for his upcoming competition in London at BMC PARA CLIMBING SERIES at the Castle Climbing Centre.

We are into our third week now and have shifted both my understanding of Gwyn's blindness and his understanding of what is actually achievable by him with our joint agreement on an intense training and coaching plan that has seen us begin on 6b+ to watch him working two long 7a's today at the Beacon after a tough weeks campusing and working a higher level of power endurance on the wooden blobs of doom!

Gwyn working the problems in our session preparing for London
Gwyn used to climb back in the 80's/90's until he lost full use of his sight with use of his peripheral vision only. But he decided to try again with climbing as he adapted to his new way of seeing. My challenge was trying to understand firstly, how it might feel to climb for Gwyn and secondly to find ways that would assist our plight of improving his climbing for the competition in London.

Training the body to improve is not too hard, just takes effort and time - training the mind to adjust to climbing at a higher standard is harder, but still not so hard - finding ways to understand what it really feels like with impaired sight was terrifying! I tried climbing a 6c with my eyes shut on lead and have never been so frightened going over a bulge above a bolt (and I have done some reasonably scary shit in my time).

Finding methods to tag holds as we climb through the blind spots has been working a little, but we have 3 weeks to go before Gwyn's first competition... Trying new ideas and training harder as the programme increases in intensity before the taper towards the Competition, towards London.

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)