Saturday, 4 April 2015

Visual Impairment Coaching - Transitions

John at TCA Bristol Competition for
Eiger Paraclimb 2015
I have coached directly three VI's over the last year. All different:
  • Peripheral Vision only
  • Bind from birth (100%)
  • Tunnel Vision (3%)
Gwyn and John have probably taught me the most about VI coaching but in very different ways. Gwyn lead his first trad route with me after losing his sight 14 years ago in Wales and also introduced me to Paraclimbing.

John employed me for coaching and subsequently sight calling for him in the World Championships.

Gwyn (Perif VI)
John and I have been working harder at preparing our partnership for this years International Competition Circuit beginning in June at Imst in Autsria, then Chamonix in France in July, then Eiger Paraclimb, then back to UK for Sheffield Worlds again.

John  (Tunnel VI) on a V4 at
Birmingham Bouldering Centre
Our biggest task is to leverage John's strength gains with more fluid body positioning as he climbs. The 'transitions'...

As someone who hadn't witnessed climbing movement, John has no concept of what position the body should be in or undertake to set up for the best possible chance of catching or reaching the next hold. We use various methods but we are exploring some new stuff now that will hopefully give him a climbing style that is less mechanical and more intuitive through more and more experiential exposure to harder moves through bouldering. I am an advocate of improving peoples climbing technique through increasing the difficulty, because when working harder moves, there is no where to hide and you are forced to adopt the correct body position or your off, off off... Until you climb it like it needs to be climbed.

Changes to our calling strategy is also under review to allow more time for processing a call to a body position then to a move...

Hard moves need hard work. Hard work needs time. We have 3 months to make the transition before Austria.

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)