Saturday, 30 August 2014

Jamie Owen working on what is working in his climbing, coaching and life stuff: From the spectrum....

Coaching for Autism , ASD, D.A.M.P
(Jay Owen)

Previous Challenges:

  • Trying to listen to instructor on how he was trying to explain things to me and get things wrong all time 
  • haveing diffitculty remembering the ways in group with out haveing one to one help i cant have a understanding on how they explain things to me evan though they said it countless of times i lack memory things promoted to me   about tieing knots it taken me long time i had to go evening classes to be taught how to tie the figure of eight . It took me 6 weeks before i managed to complete and tie knot on my own . i still struggle even now with tieing knot and i climb twice a week 
  • Coordination with foot work i felt that use of my foot work was clumsy 
  • In the begining with hands i found it hard   to read right & lefts when I am thinking with lots of other stuff in my head and makes me lose concentration  i move into certain angle not only with hands but feet as well , things dont come easy to me but i have so much determination and i am determined to overcome my challanges , i was  useing the palm of my hands fingers did not feel like they was connecting on the hold 
  • I did not know anyone when i was bouldering at the wall i try gain social interaction but some peers would talk , some would not talk but i guess that's same for everyone am just chatty person and collective person that like's lot things to talk about with peers to meet them , my confidence is better than when i was little , people with autism would feel in lonely place i no how that feels from my background in schools , so i feel climbing helps in end with social interacton  with peers 
  • The challenges i faced with having a  meeting on telling specific person on my back grounds with my Autism and not many people can be open about there autism and feelings because they find it hard to speak out explain things others cant. Every person with autism is different  , and that friends of mine that have autism dont feel very open , and it   wasnt very easy either but i was happy when i met my coach 
  • I found clipping the rope into the karabiner  very hard extremely difficult. taking one hand off when my balance and coordination was not that good . it has  been better over the months  , but was not easy. this was  a similar problem to when i was little to useing a knife and fork and tieing my shoe laces . i found it easy to grab the quick draw with both hands because it was less frustrating to put the rope in the thumb would not open the clip. I also went to practice with my coach in the corner while standing on the ground to practice with quick draw and the rope . i also took a karabiner home to practice . 
  • When i was route reading on my own i found it hard to read a problem and get right and lefts correct  when someone would say do it this way , i cant relate to the following because there saying it to quick for me to understand anything feels as if there saying it to quick draw for me to read the problem , i would use to much energy on every hold to find out if that was right or left hand. Now when i am bouldering i stick to tactics that my coach says to me in each session and act as if he is there at bottom shouting left right on the problem.  The way we made it work was with useing touch on the holds and on my hands or arm and also the coach would wave witch hand to use from a distance , while i was bouldering climbing to help me understand on were to put my feet and hands and trying to listen to what my coach says sometimes i got it right and sometimes i get frustrated with my self because am trying concentrate but when someone explains something to me its like my body there but mind floating away somewhere else so i find it hard to read people instructions 
  • How we learned the coach kept   repeating by saying same things over and over so i grew to know some things not all things , still find it difficult but try my best to listen to what my coach says when am so high up i find it easyr he is  standing beside me or on the rope to call out cause am not sure if you got keep conversation going cause i dont understand when it goes silent  
  • When i was bouldering i felt down hearted annoyed angry at home because why do things take so long for me be able to accomplish things and you see others that have not been climbing that long but get the things right maybe one side brain works and once you start understand what your body can do and your brain you can push your self to your limits  ashamed of taken so long to do problems. The solluation was for me is through repeatedly trying the boulder problem my body referred back to muscle memory i get a tick in my head when i no am trying my hardest , The reason the method works for me because i never give up. ill always keep battleing till the end 
  • When i am training at home i get very frustrated and kick things in my room chuck things . my frustration whilst training at home seems to come from being angry at not getting things right .  because it dont seem as if am showing progress i have days were i feel am not doing things right it feels as if am back to sqauare one . I have fantastic session when being coached but when am on my own at home on the hangboard i cant seem get momentum so that causes angy frustrations . The problem with a written  training  programme for the home is i cant understand even though i want to , i forget things very easy that's why once i look at films or listen to music  they promt my memory. its like everything comes back from years ago but i cant say it out lould to express my self in conversation on certain topics of my intrests.  from the training programme to work at home it has to prompt my memory from exsperenices. 
  • My improvement in climbing from 4C to leading 6C has come from doing it in small steps intensely  were we focused on particular things that were specificly a problem to me. 
  • Climbing has had a massive impact on my life by helping me mentally and psphysicall with day to day life. Also meeting new people and having guidance from my coach and beleiveing in me that i can overcome my challenges. Having one to one with my coach as well has helped me a lot through my life with autism because having autism is not always happy smily days. It can be a very lonely place at times and not many people can understand what it is like to live with autism. When I am climbing, I am not thinking negitivaly about life and no one is judging me and it feels like a safe place. Its a great community scene with so many great people that have a good outlook on life its self. 

Thanks to V12 for equipment sponsorship. I will try my best!

Friday, 29 August 2014

Route Setting at Big Rock Climbing Ltd

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Blind sight versus onsight! Gwynfor Roberts leads his first trad route since losing his sight...

Me and the 'Guru' Roberts! 
You know, there are methods that instructors and MIA's use to manage a climber when they are learning to 'TRAD' lead by being on a rope alongside them to ensure the gear is good and assist the person by being close to the action.

But today was not that kind of day. Gwyn had lead up to E4 as a sighted climber 14 years ago and today he spontaneously decided to go back 'up' into that place where you are on your own. He asked to lead (well, he TOLD me he was leading the route!) and so from that moment on my day became really exiting and truly emotional to watch my friend step up and feel his way up the rock and work out the width of the cracks from his fingers and work hard to place gear based on touch.

 I gave him my opinion on the key elements of the route but it was always going to be his truly personal journey. All I could really do was to tell him to sort his footwork out on the first few moves with more concise pressure on the rubber of the shoes and the rock then reassure him that if his gear ripped then I would still catch him from splattering all over my nice walking boots.

Gwyn is a better climber than me in terms of technique and flexibility and ultimately courage but I'm stronger at the moment, but I am confident if he continues as he is with his training the gap will shrink. His initial mindset for his lead reminded me very much of mine when I used to onsight near my physical limit with and without ropes where the analysis was mainly focused on wither one could physically climb the wall and then secondly worry about the gear. But I hassled him to death to place more gear so he wouldn't spoil my footwear.

He climbed to the top of his first trad lead as a VI set up his belay then brought up Jay. What a great day today, for Gwyn, Jay and myself. It felt more historic than when I last belayed someone doing something special up there in that magical place in the windy quarries of Llanberis. Tomorrow, I get to enjoy a morning run with a special woman then coach a person with MS in the afternoon. A good day ahead I think. It was a hard start getting settled here in Wales again but I think life in Wales is getting more real and more worth the effort...  Gwyn & I want to climb Right Wall (E5 6a) on the Cromlech. I did it when I was 16 but to see Gwyn do this will be mind blowing and truly exceptional...

Top out!

Sunday, 24 August 2014

Working the core... No sex?

Grotte de Sabart 
It was something I paid little attention to when I returned to climbing in 2010 but it quickly became obvious as an important factor for contemporary climbing.

For my sins, I probably had my most effective core when training with Haston in the Pyrenees for the cave climbing in Grotte de Sabart.

Knee bar rest on 8b 
After 4 sessions on a project at the cave we would head up to his 'boot camp' for further core work which involved all sorts of training torture  with heavy weights on chest during inverted sit ups which was sometimes finished with a run up the mountain to completely annihilate what core was left until it was difficult just standing up.

In the cave in the morning, he would growl if my core seemed anything less than robust during what became our 8a warm up discouraging me from morning sex with my girl friend at the time on core days! For a 28m cave route, core is absolutely key, I failed on the 8b. So the moral of the story is no sex on core days, or no core on sex days or something like that...

Sunday, 17 August 2014

Recruiting for 5 clients for September Online Training Programme...

Pulling through on the crux of a great
8a+ in the Grotte de Sabart, Pyrenees
We are looking for 5 new clients for our September Dual Factor Online Training Programme. If you climb between 6a and 7c sport and are looking to improve your grade then join our 6 week programme by contacting . The programme costs £100 or 100 euros and bookings should be made before 25th of August to allow us to design the programme around your climbing goals.

The Climber's Ariege Base

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Grass Roots... Finding the fun man!

Same height but thankfully
less grown up than the grass!
After a productive coaching session with John from the GB Para climbing Team at the Beacon climbing center, I decided I wanted to get out of the valley and get back to my roots a day early and hopped on the afternoon train to Glasgow, with no change of clothes just my coaching bag. I don't wear pants so it was just a matter of finding a tee shirt in Glasgow and taking the odd shower in between Glasgow showers!

Finding fun in climbing is what feels the most real element of it all. I arrived at the Glasgow Climbing Center to some smiling friends from the past. The atmosphere was great and as I waited for my mate Colin to finish his work I noticed 4 young students probably new to climbing ( 2 guys and 2 girls) climbing together. As the center began to empty they started mucking around on the mats together and then one of them set off on this traverse off the mat onto the wall round the building and then next student followed by the next until the were all traversing back to the mat on the other side where the first student semi somersaulted onto to the mat with the others following like puppies. It was great to see them so uninhibited and just having fun with climbing like that. 

It's funny as we get older, we feel obliged to act differently but keeping the child inside is what seems to be where all the fun is! I saw a post on facebook about growing up, saying 'don't do it, it's a lie' and it seems to be the case. Fun and happiness seem to work together and yet at 46 I feel more in touch with the fun side of my life than I was as a boy.

1984 with a head full of grown up stuff...
Visiting my old haunts where I used to boulder obsessively, sometimes twice a day where I would dog off school in the day to have a session then wait for my cousin to finish and then have to put super glue on my skin to get through the evening session on the hard sandstone. But it was nice to just touch the holds and not feel compelled to pull up this time, just look and smile at the things I could do as a boy and look forward to the things I am going to do as a man.

A nice evening with my best mate, a few beers and great discussions about our lives going forward. We share a birth date within 24 hours of each other and so we are able to compare and reflect on our mutual experiences, lovers and the other important ingredients of life. 

Climbing makes the child in me happy and coaching is making the adult me more fulfilled and helping me learn about el humano and the positive transfer between like minded people and friends.

Happy that the holds haven't grown up too much and are still small.
 I realized a couple of years ago that I wanted to do what I wanted to do with my life (so long as I didn't hurt others) and having fun and never letting one's inner self grow old looks like a good path to be on. Being adult for me is not about judgement, it was about being honest in relationships or carrying my broken mate alive from a dark winters night on a savage mountain or holding a persons hand while they took their last breath of life or watching my babies pop out into my hands as a young man...

Tuesday, 12 August 2014

Progression with Jay - Driving Power to Power Endurance...

A hot days Bouldering at RAC 
The last few weeks with Jay have been about driving his power through campussing and bouldering to increase his power endurance so we can complete his first 7a red point. We had a few months outdoor climbing both for fun and to improve his footwork and route reading skills. But now it's back to it with some focused training for his big goal of F7a this year. A big step from his 4c lead at the beginning of the spring.
Jay warming up for his 6c onsight at the Indy

Today stunned me as Jay managed his first F6c onsight lead and then worked and completed his first font 6c boulder, so his climbing has changed dramatically over the last few months where he is climbing like a different person from when we first met - a bit of helpful guidance from me "chain this f*&@$*" and an unbelievable amount of effort and self determination from Jay.

We tried a 7a earlier in the summer but we weren't ready but now I am sure that Jay is about to achieve something very special for himself. A truly inspiring person...

font 6c

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)