Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Recruiting For 5 Clients for our Online Dual Factor Training Programme (beginning mid July)

Demonstrating a lovely V5 dyno at RAC Boulders,
(North Wales,UK)
 If you climb between 6a to 7c and are looking to improve your sport climbing grade and wish to join our July Team with our Dual Factor Online Training Programme which will be designed around your goals and current climbing standard, then please contact before the 9th of July.

The programme will run for 6 weeks and involve your commitment to training intensely for 6 weeks. The cost is £100 or 100 euros. Available in English or Spanish...

Si escalad entre 6a hasta 7c y está buscando para mejorar su calidad deportiva y el deseo de formar parte de nuestro Equipo de julio con nuestro Programa de Formación en línea de doble factor que se ha diseñado alrededor de tus objetivos y nivel de escalada actual, y luego póngase en contacto con antes del 9 de julio.

El programa tendrá una duración de 6 semanas e implicar a su compromiso con la formación intensamente durante 6 semanas. El costo es de 100 Euros...

Owen Jones taking his turn! RAC Boulders,
(North Wales,UK)

Thursday, 19 June 2014

1st session with GB Para Climbing Team member John Churcher

John competing in Manchester
 John came down to the Beacon Climber Center in Wales for our first coaching session in preparation for his international competition series beginning in Austria in July.

John is an experienced competition climber who has only been climbing for 4 years. He has developed a very high level of endurance due to his necessity to hold on longer to spot touch the holds
to confirm them from communications from his previous 'callers'. We assessed his level of maximal strength and power then began the hard stuff (for me!) and did some routes as caller/climber and worked a 7a up the full height of the steeper wall. All good...

Finished with bouldering and falling strategies. John is in the VI (visually impaired) category and has lots to gain from this years competition season. But first he has to give...

He has to increase his speed and natural movement momentum on 6b ground, drive his power endurance on 7a ground and increase his confidence in falling from height during bouldering sessions.

There is a fourth give... John is self funding this years competitions and so that is what he is trying to do here:

Good luck in Imst my friend!

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

On One Hand, it may be 8a, with another, it is 6c...

Practicing Contusion (6c) one handed
for Para Climbing Session

My coaching has mainly been focused on VI (Visually Impaired) and Autistic climbers but I thought it would make sense to begin my own work on getting a better understanding of what it is like to climb with one hand. Mainly to see what was possible within my own coaching abilities when working with these guys from the Para Climbing team.

Kev Shields on First ascent of Cu Sith-E7 6c-Pic-Dorota Bankowska

I climbed briefly with a well known climber Kev Shields in Scotland a few years ago and we discussed the possibilities of sport climbing and the technical and physical implications of climbing steeper rock without full use of two hands.

The one handed crux (still working on this move!)
 In Wales, at The Orme, I gave it my first go on the classic wall climb of Contusion (6c) on the Mayfair Wall. Not easy, but definitely possible. I know the route well and was trying to decide which hand to opt for as I felt the crux move would be better with the left hand, then I realized, in real life, you don't have a choice.

Tried it with my right. Not easy but not impossible. All but one move. Very interesting how much one works other parts of the body and how the easier sections become hard and the expected harder sections are less challenging than expected. A different method but great climbing...

If you are a Para Climber and looking for a coaching session outdoors or inside, here in Wales, then please contact me at to arrange a coaching plan.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

Fatigue Phase of The Dual Factor Method with Owen...

Owen finishing off on blobs...
We are now in the Fatigue Phase of the DF method. Lots of increased volume; working and red point  attempts on projects, followed by campus, PE, core and antags then home. Hard days but the gains are coming through in both training benchmarks on the campus board and on the projects.

Owen's reduced in size a little (doesn't look like it in photo! But he has) and his basic power is up now to a good level that can allow us to concentrate on driving Power Endurance from this point.

A few days rest, then tactics change to Increased Intensity combined with less volume to induce a Taper over the coming month, then BOOM!

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Teaching Jay the psychology of soloing while hanging from a rope! Judgement day?

Working a 6c with Jay at the Ormes (Photo: Owen Jones)
Owen and I had an intense session at the Ormes with Jay yesterday, where we rigged up as system to allow me to coach Jay on route as he climbed on real rock outside.

Trying work out what was best for Jay in terms of instruction from what distance whilst trying to add as much value to his climbing experience was tricky. But on the third session, it happened and it had nothing to do with ropes and holds. It was about working out what it felt like to be Jay on that steep wall above the sea in an alien environment whilst trying to tame his urgency and un stoppable will to try hard.

I realized what it was and he went from falling off nearly every move to managing the whole route with one small slip low down. There is this urgency when on a route to get the fuck off it, it's a very natural feeling especially in the beginning of a climbing career but it is obviously what we manage down so we can keep climbing up.

Explaining to Jay that he would have to stay on this wall for at least 10 minutes to successfully complete the red point, resting and shaking out and just concentrating on small sections then managing his breathing down before attacking the next section with gusto was what worked for us.

Being free of ropes and giving in to climbing only 'up' when ready was what soloing was for me as a boy and it was this that created a space for Jay to accept the slower pace of climbing to assist in the completing of the route versus rushing into moves without consequence.

Jay's efforts are unbelievable some days and for me to learn what he sees and feels whilst climbing needs to match. We are getting there! It was the best coaching experience I have had to date.

We had a laugh while he was resting in the cave below the final crux and was 3ft away being a dope on a rope. We both hate being judged and I used this to fire him up to rip down on the crimps like his life depended on it. (well, it does!)

The real goal is much bigger than any wall or any grade. It's about using climbing to make Jay's journey to a more independent living real and achievable.The big solo...

Soloing Shibboleth... Judgement day!

Friday, 6 June 2014

Filming n stuff...

Final Crux Films came down from Scotland to film the coaching journey that Jay, Gwyn, Owen and myself have been on as a team. It was good fun and a little intense being in front of a camera again. But Jay's determination to do the interview for me (something pretty fucking frightening for a kid with autism) nearly made me cry. What a brave young man he is!

I was nervous doing my own interview in the comfort of my home in Llanberis and for Jay to face a fear and talk as articulately as he did was bloody awesome! Looking forward to seeing the film, looking forward to seeing Jay climb 7a, looking forward to seeing Gwyn compete in Austria, looking forward to seeing Owen enchain his first 8a and looking forward to getting a bit pissed tonight!

I am looking for equipment sponsorship for Jay... Please contact me if you make stuff!

Wednesday, 4 June 2014

Para Climbing Coaching in North Wales (UK) with Mark McGowan

(Photo: Screen grab from Bryan Azzopardy's MTA Video)
Mark McGowan is currently looking to recruit new para climbing clients for coaching and training sessions based at the Beacon  and Indy Climbing Walls in North Wales.

If you have a disability and enjoy rock climbing and would like to improve your sport climbing grade then please contact to discuss a coaching plan and costs etc. The first session is free to allow for a mutual understanding of climbing goals, disability challenges and development of a workable coaching plan.

Accommodation can also be provided in Llanberis just 7 miles from the climbing wall. Get in touch with Mark if you are looking for quality coaching specializing in Para Climbing and are looking to improve your climbing and training strategies...

Sunday, 1 June 2014

Brave, kind and open reflections from young Jay after BMC Para Climbing Competition...

"My Joruney with my coach were do i start , How i met was bouldering at beacon climbing wall not haveing no clue how to do boulder problem so i asked someone for advice got chatting was very friendly helping me so i thoght yes took his advice then tryed that boulder problem falling over but saying to my self Jamie you can do this dont let nothing try stopp me i no it takes me longer to work things out and go over over in my head to understand But once i have that momentum on doing things it starts work my brain lot more. Haveing the abilty to be Training on my own other times was harder with out being pushed but sometimes i would boulder with Emlyn pushing each other and to me problems not easy its what your body and finger tips are use to plus doing moves right , with me i was falling all over place quadronation was all over the shop , one thing i never thoght to my self is dont you dare Give up on that boulder problem even if its pushing you to limits for example getting blisters each day use kill but got use to that feeling, then after think it was Year bouldering . I emailed Mark on coaching lesssons said to my Dad to meet Mark and come down and speak on my behalf since he is my next kin , to explain on my Autism on how it effects me with learning things doing things but he said he can help and met loads people in my life saying they Help and fucking toright he was Right , Being in my own world not about being differnt about understanding that person and i thank everyone i have by me every step way meeting great people enviroment on life its self i wont step my self into bad enviroment to cause Anxiety anxious feelings melts downs with certain peers or places or haveing mixed overwhelming feelings , But climbing has helped me loads with interaction socializing confidence has helped lot with climbing i say is medicine to me and it just helps with things i do to day to day life , and haveing Mark as my coach now he understands way i climb but not only that i have fully trust in talking about things that would never speak out only people close to me no what means lott as well , and much i am for typeing down my thoghts not so good on doing storys on my life , Climbing aspects helps me mentally physically but the Journey has helped loads still not end am still going have so much Determination in me and Dedication and help from my amazing coach Mark as well he's insperation on way he helps me with things we be chilled out mother fuckers in our sessions and pushes me to my limits intill am beasted and cant climb no more , that's what i like ill always push my self intill body cant take it no more and brain its self . 1st Achivement on climbing in Paraclimbing for catogory Autism won medal was so pleased got on the redwine chardonnnayy fantastic celebrations so again i thank my Coach and Gwyn his wife driveing down Manchester for Experienceing and being Inspired its self by watching all the other climbers on other abiltys was amazing , but Mark is still pushing me to my limits on climbing , campus board system board then going bolt to bolt 7A immense ill keep pushing as much body brain will take me , still have lot to be up against but i say for my self feeling strong , am keep going , if can over come lot Goals through out my life well am sure ill be able undertake these not end Jamie :------)"

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)