A MATTER OF TECHNIQE: AIM IS TO FLOW

 

Try and push a car without petrol, try and stop, start again, stop and then start again. Try and walk in fits and starts like a wooden puppet controlled by strings. What a waste of energy when we climb slapping every hold with our hand,  kicking around for footholds, with our heads tensed up against our tight necks, filled with tension on a back stiff with anxiety, stressed by our heavy and intermittent breathing. Our calves seem carved in stone, if it were not for that feeble trembling that spreads up to our thighs. IF IT LOOKS AS IF I AM TIRED, I REALLY AM.

Technique means using your power to the best of your abilities and being able to say “there you go! I couldn’t do any better than that.”

But who can say that truthfully?

THE AIM OF TECHNIQUE IS TO FLOW. To bring together one’s co-ordinating skills without the use of reason, simply using  intuition and no calculations.

I stop and start, I stop and start. But every time  I start I waste an x amount of extra energy, and if I add all these x in the end I have reached the chain with a heavy pack on my back. The rust in my joints has slowed me down in my ascent, the fear of fear coming back has scared me and made me climb tensely.

Ok, so I cannot be like an ocean wave, or a river that flows around  rocks, continuous and circular, but by eliminating the friction and releasing that hand break which is always slightly on, throwing myself onto that wave, surfing it as long as possible, with one continuous movement, curved and not broken, from the base to the chain, I CAN FINALLY TIRE AS MUCH AS I NEED TO, NO MORE

Therefore flowing as an aim and a sum of technique, it becomes the necessary “software” to manifest power, the strength that one needs (it is great to have a lot of it) but otherwise becomes useless, just like a computer without an operational system, that cannot even calculate 2+2, like climbing an ice waterfall without ice-axes and crampons.

Nothing is free, you pay for it sooner or later, the bill will eventually arrive and to have a lot of power I need to bust my ass, I use up loads of energy, that simply goes to waste if I haven’t inserted the necessary programme in my brain to use it all.  By all means no one is disregarding power: I want to squeeze millimetre thick edges and do pull- ups on one finger holds which are 1 centimetre thick, because power is not contradictory to climbing well. You need to hold yourself, a lot, to advance: you need it, but it is simply not enough, that is all. It is indispensable as it can be absolutely useless.

Technique and Power, necessary conditions, that on their own are insufficient. So much so that at a high level they can be identified one with another: in the bounce that occurs when doing a dynamic movement there is an explosion of power, a flash of energy that becomes elasticity: the elastic jerks and creates additional power apparently from nowhere.

At the top level power and flow are no longer two distinct things, instead they coincide into a surplus of energy and power: I hold on more than I have energy to do so, I overtake 100% of my measured static maximum effort.

FLOWING BECOMES ENERGY, IT DOES NOT INTERACT TO CREATE POWER, BUT IT BECOMES POWER ITSELF.

What about strength? Have you ever tried to be strong without holding on? After a few movements your arms will be swollen with lactic acid, simply because every single movement is too hard for you, if you have a low max effort….if you are used to lifting 100 you will manage to lift 10 many times, since it will be as light as a feather to you. If you can lift 15 at the most, you will not last very long lifting 10, since it will feel like lead. Border lines are never distinct….Strength does not interact with power, but it is power.

In this global vision of things, flow, power, and strength melt together into a one and only superpower an everlasting research into improvement.

Let us get practical, let us analyse the symptoms of this diffused pathology, ie the lack of flow when climbing, almost like an epidemic that does not spare anyone, because no one is not scared of anything. Let us come up with a solution, a kind of therapy, even if just recognising the problem represents the tools to overcome the symptom. In a few words: why do we climb so badly?

 

NO FLOW                                                                              EFFECTS

-Frenetically touching with your hands              -Quick exhaustion of your maximum

-Touching/probing and kicking instead                power             

of placing your feet exactly on the foot             -Impossibility of correctly reading

hold                                                                    the rock           

-Head scrunched up against a stiff neck           -Impossibility of saving energy when

-Contraction of muscles which do not                undertaking climbing movements

need to be used                                                (technique: correct use of all positions

-Muscles needed to climb, are overly                and movements, use of feet, laterals,

contracted                                                        balancing etc)

-Looking without seeing                                  -Fragmented climbing (if I do not climb

-Breathing only once the hard bit is over            with continuos flowing movements, I

-Trembling of your calf and thigh                       climb in segmented intervals. It isn’t a

-No co-ordination between the leg                    matter of speed, but of endurance. You

pushing and the arm pulling.                               can climb quickly but in fits and starts

-Letting go of one hand, looking for a hold         one can climb slowly but at the same

far too early leaving you to pull up on one          time flowing.)

single arm.

Not making the most of the energy produced

in the previous movement, wasting it in the

next movement

 

 

EFFECTS THAT AFTER A WHILE BECOME CAUSES, in a vicious cycle that will end in a relentless exhaustion of energy we have available.

As soon as that happens whoever is to blame, the coach, the fingerboard, or lack of power, and strength, will be blamed. However the expert coach is used to who moans away about not holding on, because that crux is too featured, because the bolts are too far apart, because there is too much chalk, too little chalk…

Let’s go back to practical issues: effects that become causes, so what is the main cause? It is easy to say it is inside us?

 

REASON FOR LACK OF FLOW?

Anxiety

Fear of falling

Fear of making a fool of yourself

Fear of winning

Fear of the void, empty space below and of gravity

Fear of competing against others and oneself

Fear of fear

Lack of technical knowledge

Being aware of technique and of what one is doing (for example: I have a vertical hold therefore I should place my opposite foot in a lateral position, move two steps etc)

i.e. The use of technique at a rational level (calculating) instead of immediate perception i.e. intuition.

 

THIS LAST POINT MEANS THAT WE NEED TO LEARN TECHNIQUE TO THEN FORGET IT, or better, try to metabolise it to then use it automatically with a clear mind. I must not think “…my foot in perfect axis with my foothold….I balance, three more steps, and then a lateral movement, scheme no.2 takes me to scheme no.3…” I must just do it! I must carry out the movement immediately. Just like when I approach a bend on my motorbike and my body knows exactly  how much it needs to bend to not fall, without having to workout the differential equation between centrifugal and centripedal force, or better still working it out but a thousand times quicker than a computer!

TO JUST KNOW TECHNIQUE IS A LARGER HURDLE THAN NOT HAVING ANY KNOWLEDGE AT ALL.

Positions and essential movements and methods to automate them bring to a flowing motion.

Therefore as far as the coach is concerned, the aim will not be to explain technique (resulting in absence of flow, since the student will always think whilst climbing, calculating things.) but everything that allows the student to absorb technique  making it automatic (exercises based mainly on REPETITION and IMITATING ) and a task which is even harder, ELIMINATE THE FACTORS WHICH INHIBIT THE IMMEDIATE PERCEPTION OF WHAT THE BODY SHOULD DO.  

 

 

 

 

The training shown on this website can cause serious damage to your body, especially to your muscular skeletric apparatus, and in certain subjects it can also affect the cardiovascular system. 

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