Be a Critic

Gripped - - TRAINING AND TECHNIQUE - On­tario-based Mark Smith is a pas­sion­ate ed­u­ca­tor for the climb­ing com­mu­nity. He is spon­sored by Scarpa, Black Di­a­mond and Prana.

with a quick de­tail about how it was dif­fer­ent and then rate it by feel on its ef­fec­tive­ness of us­ing your lower body for that lap. For ex­am­ple, “Us­ing high feet in this op­tion re­ally al­lowed me to stand with my legs in­stead of pull with my arms for each move.” Scale the drill’s in­ten­sity by in­creas­ing the dif­fi­culty of the climb you are try­ing so that com­ing up with op­tions re­quires more ef­fort and cre­ativ­ity. your sin­gu­lar fo­cus will be­come eas­ier. Have them let you know dur­ing your climb when you’ve strayed away from what you set out to do. Would you say it’s far eas­ier to be crit­i­cal while watch­ing other peo­ple climb than it is to be crit­i­cal of our­selves while we’re hang­ing on for dear life? Maybe the abil­ity to pup­peteer our climber from the com­fort of a be­lay or spot comes from not be­ing oc­cu­pied with the chal­lenges of climb­ing, which al­lows us to see op­tions more clearly.

Ask­ing our­selves sub­tle ques­tions prior to spray­ing our in­sights from a dis­tance can make our sug­ges­tions more rel­e­vant to the chal­lenges they are fac­ing. Does my ad­vice con­sider the climber be­ing sup­ported from their lower body for the move I am sug­gest­ing? Are they bal­anced, or mov­ing to­wards bal­ance? Is it the holds they are on that are chal­leng­ing them or the holds they are go­ing for that need the so­lu­tion to fo­cus on?

Then, to get even more value from your ad­vice, take it your­self and try what you sug­gest. Hold your­self ac­count­able for the op­tion you of­fered and test whether it is a good op­tion for mov­ing through the crux.

Some of my hard­est climbs de­manded more cre­ativ­ity than strength train­ing. From find­ing a new se­quence that re­quired do­ing one legged squats for a month i n or­der to stand up while mak­ing use of an un­der­cling above my head to ex­plor­ing on top rope for an hour to even­tu­ally find a way through that in­volved clos­ing my eyes and fo­cus­ing on mov­ing my hips eight inches to the left in or­der to per­form a man­tle and hand-foot match eas­ily. Us­ing my knee as a foot hold and stand­ing up on it and re­al­iz­ing how easy that can make a hard move.

The cheek­ily named Doer, Not a Critic 5.11c in the New River Gorge teaches climbers what a knee can of­fer to­wards mak­ing a hard se­quence easy. Think­ing about the name of this route of­fers us one other im­por­tant in­sight about the chal­lenges we face when learn­ing while climb­ing.

It’s hard to do some­thing at our limit and think about what we’re do­ing at the same time. Yet the only way we can im­prove and get bet­ter re­sults is by be­com­ing the critic that dis­ap­pears when we just do it.

Mark Smith on Sould Food

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