Time to develop some competition tactics . . .

Last weekend was the British Bouldering Team Selection Event at the Castle, a competition to decide which of us would be going to the World Cup Events. It was also the event which finally proved to me that I have to change the way I approach competitions; I finally know now that being strong and knowing I can do the problems does NOT mean that if I give each problem everything I have for five minutes straight I will get them done. Instead I get fairly far on a few of the problems, but never have quite enough energy to finish them, and end up with a terrible score due to giving everything a thousand attempts each when other competitors only tried each climb two or three times.

I realise now, after speaking with Gaz Parry about my perfomance in the competition, that I get far too pressured by the time limit. After having a few solid attempts at one of the harder problems, I had begun to make progress but was running out of energy. I looked up at the clock, and, according to Gaz, saw that I had two minutes left. In the same position, Gaz said he would have thought “good, two minutes left, I’ll rest for a full minute and think hard about how I’m gonna get this sent, then get back on it after recovering a bit more”. What did I think when I saw the clock? “OH MY GOD!!! TWO MINUTES LEFT?! I’D BETTER GET BACK ON IT ANOTHER EIGHT TIMES!!!”

I also found out that I was rushing things before I’d even tried the climbs; the best competitors would come out for their 5 minutes attempting an unknown problem, and spend a MINIMUM of 30 seconds viewing the problem and visualising themselves climbing it, sometimes not starting to climb until a full minute had passed. I had always begun climbing within the first 5 seconds of my time, which usually meant I misread the sequence and wasted a yet more energy.

For some reason this is an enormous revelation to me; from now on, I’m going to climb smart, or try my best to do so anyway! My first opportunity to try out my new tactics will be at the Last Friday of the Month competition this week at the Biscuit Factory. Last month Tom Arnold and I tied for first place, this time I will DESTROY him 😉

In other news, I have been offered a new Job as a Part-Time Duty Manager at the new Vauxwall Bouldering Centre, which will be opening in the next couple of months! I got to have a look around the building site yesterday and hear a lot more about how the centre is going to be run. . . it’s gonna be pretty fantastic, get psyched people!!

I also received another delivery from Blurr; a load of patches to sew onto clothes and bags, lots more t-shirts, and their new hoody, which is a really stylish assymetrical design (I hinted to Blurr that I really liked the look of it when I saw it in the Castle shop, and it arrived at my door a day or two later! Very generous of them.)

And as always, here’s a video to end with!

If anyone is interested in trying out the bouldering at West 1 Climbing Centre, come on down! I run a Bouldering Workshop from 19:00 – 21:00 every Thursday, there’s always a really nice bunch of people who attend and some great problems to try!