/ Games to keep us interested while training this winter
Here's a few that we use to help keep motivated.
Climbing Footsie - Every hand hold must first be earnt by touching it with a foot. (works well on routes and problems)
Octopus game from Paul's book: http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=1952 (from a stable position see who can touch the most holds with each foot/hand. Tends to be good to warm up on overhanging problems.
One-handed climbing - (hand must be designated before climbing).
-Easy option: the hand can still touch wall for balance.
-Medium option: hand can still move (to flag for balance/ sdd momentum)
-Proper version: hand either behind back or on navel.
None handed climbing: Best done on slabby toprope
-Easy option(s) - holding tennis balls/making fists or only using
one finger for balance while climbing.
-Proper version - hands for flaging only - the full Johnny Dawes.
-For those who don't believe in gravity - while leading on an overhang.
No holds for feet: great smearing practice.
Feet go on anything. It is really fun and quite addictive.
I generally enjoy a spot of Watching The Babes, although the belayee sometimes disapproves ...
Seriously though, good suggestions. The Footise one is new to me - will give it a try.
Puppet climbing - sling joining hands and feet (easy option - left foot joined to left hand and right foot joined to right hand. Hard option - left foot joined to right hand and right foot joined to left hand)
An addictive boulder game that I do with groups is boulder wall limbo. Hold a stick end on against the wall (at right angles to the wall) and they have to climb along and under the stick and back up after it. The stick gets lower each time they manage it. I find it quite addictive, and you can choose harder bits of the wall with crimps around etc.
A simple one I've always enjoyed - blindfolded climbing on a top rope.
> Puppet climbing - sling joining hands and feet (easy option - left foot joined to left hand and right foot joined to right hand. Hard option - left foot joined to right hand and right foot joined to left hand)
> An addictive boulder game that I do with groups is boulder wall limbo. Hold a stick end on against the wall (at right angles to the wall) and they have to climb along and under the stick and back up after it. The stick gets lower each time they manage it. I find it quite addictive, and you can choose harder bits of the wall with crimps around etc.
I do a similar game, using a brush stick at the wall. You move it along, stick to the wall then up over it, when the back leg passes move it along or back the way, they go under the stick etc etc. A very varied game. 'Random Practice', kids enjoy it as they don't know where it will be next.
I quite enjoyed a bit of speed climbing/racing last night with a friend. Clipped on to the only auto belay in the place, had someone else time us and shot up the easiest (5+) route on it.
1 second penalty for any cheats, timer stops when you hit the ground.
Did it periodically throughout the evening and my time dropped from 32s to 28s, to 23s.
Admittedly on the last go I think I nearly broke the auto belay. Horribly reckless but very fun.
> Feet go on anything. It is really fun and quite addictive.
Yeah, it's good this. You can play it for fun and try to get cool / interesting moves in or you can do it for training purposes by picking a goal like "use big slopey holds as much as possible" or "do lots of steep crimpy stuff" relevant to what you're trying to achieve at the time.
The one issue I find with it is that a lot of newbies fail to realize how far they can move from a given hold, and end up standing essentially static shuffling their hands around...
My favourite game is "trying not to get burnt off by the teenagers".
It gets harder every year!
In remove you pick two holds. One is the start one is the finish. Sufficient distance between them for a nice traverse. The more people involved the longer the traverse ought to be.
Each person does the traverse. After everyone is done, each person picks exactly one (different) hold to declare unusable for subsequent traverses. Repeat.
Can get incredibly hard.
On top rope we do something similar, pick a neasy route, and see who can use the fewest holds.... good for prcticing smearing, but tend to encurage the "hesve and grab" shcool of climbing :)
Can't help wonder if some of the suggestions so far (not all, by any means) just end up engraining bad habits and therefore make the training kind of valueless or worse...
I guess the other obvious way to keep interest at the wall over winter when you've been twice already that week and there are no problems that you haven't done a million times is to learn to get satisfaction from a good pumpy workout doing problems that you've done before (while trying to keep your climbing as smooth and efficient as possible as well) as well as from a session where you did loads of routes that you couldn't do before.
Well, anything which limits your climbing move repertoire or starts to engraining bad ways of facing challenges - in the past people have said things like "using drop knees indoors is pointless, it's cheating to make the problem easier, climb face on to get stronger" - yes it makes any given problem easier, and yes climbing a problem face on requires more strength because it's less efficient, but if you climb face on indoors the whole time you train your body to pull "face on" out of the bag as its instinctive solution when you get out on rock. Just climb harder problems drop kneeing instead, or if you do climb face on on stuff ensure you have enough drop knee problems in the repertoire to ensure you don't forget how to pull them out of the bag instinctively when they're needed.
So I'd be suspicious about footsie (foot on a hold before your hands, when do you ever climb like that? Did they mean the other way around? If so limiting your footholds like that isn't what you do outdoors).
I would definitely avoid the puppet game myself - as an example, if I have a right sidepull and a right high foot, a natural move might be to flag the left foot way underneath you and stretch up and left with your left hand. That doesn't work if your left hand and leg are chained together. If if we're chaining opposite legs and hands then imagine an outside edge of a left in the same situation, you want to reach left whilst flagging with right. It will encourage a ladder-climbing style a lot I reckon which is rarely the most efficient way to climb steep ground.
Hands below head - fine on slabs but who climbs like that when it gets even to vertical, it forces you to hold locks the whole time when it just isn't necessary.
Oh, and deliberately missing holds out - the poster admits it encourages a heave and lunge style, maybe that's fine if you climb power endurance overhanging bucket fests where the clock is ticking and speed is of the essence, but as a general rule do you climb like that?
Personally I don't see the point of speed racing games - the pace is all wrong to translate well to outside, so it won't get you much benefit beyond getting you out of breath.
I quite like add a move, mainly because it exposes you to other peoples move styles (setting problems for myself I know I have a bad habit of setting really hard problems but ultimately in a style I'm already good at rather than setting problems in styles I really suck at). I rate setting entire problems for your mates more mind you because it generally gets you to harder moves - the version that's been suggested above gets quite good for stamina eventually but it takes quite a while to get there. And the one handed games and things are quite good at developing balance etc so can be useful, although again make sure you don't overdo it. In general I suppose if there is a training benefit to climbing in the way a game forces you to then in moderation that's good, but if there isn't even a major training benefit and it limits your climbing style then why bother?
If you've run out of problems, either try a better wall or make some up (best with friends I reckon for the reasons above) - if there's a bit of wall you can play add a move on you could be setting shorter problems on it instead.
I've realised as I'm writing this that it probabljy sounds horribly killjoy. If you see the wall as a social thing then any of the games suggested above will pass the time in between chatting. And thats cool, if thats what you want. But if even on some level you want to use the wall to improve over the winter then some thought about what you're doing and why will help, and if the games you play are teaching you bad habits which will limit your move repertoire when you get outdoors then you might as well not be there, or just hanging the fingerboard instead
> Well, anything which limits your climbing move repertoire or starts to engraining bad ways of facing challenges - in the past people have said things like "using drop knees indoors is pointless, it's cheating to make the problem easier, climb face on to get stronger" - yes it makes any given problem easier, and yes climbing a problem face on requires more strength because it's less efficient, but if you climb face on indoors the whole time you train your body to pull "face on" out of the bag as its instinctive solution when you get out on rock. Just climb harder problems drop kneeing instead, or if you do climb face on on stuff ensure you have enough drop knee problems in the repertoire to ensure you don't forget how to pull them out of the bag instinctively when they're needed.
I don't think the point is ever to climb exclusively that way (and yes, never using drop knees indoors would be extremely silly) - more to get more varied climbing out of a limited wall than you otherwise would and toforce yourself to use techniques that you're not that good on.
Case in point - I find that confidently getting my feet high up relative to my hands is quite a weakness indoors and out on all angles, and I know quite a few other people who have the same issue. Obviously I don't regard reaching up above my head as inherently "cheaty" and if I'm trying to "perform" on a route rather than training I'll reach up for a jug above my head if there is one, but if there aren't many routes at my local wall that involve getting feet high before making the reach then doing this exercise from time to time seems like as good a way as any of training that skill.
AFAICT 'footsie' is a slightly random way of doing the same thing...
As I said, if by limiting your move repertoire they actually help improve your technique, then that's slightly different. You might consider not using drop knees indoors to be extremely silly but it has been advocated as a good way to get strong in the past.
I think with the hands below shoulders I had been thinking traversing rather than going up, but still, surely your issue is in building your feet high enough for long reaches, which you then can't do because the rules say you need to move to another hold below headheight? It also on steep ground is the kind of thing you might do to compensate for a weak core which doesn't allow you to get too stretched out.
In terms of regarding it as cheating, it's what you're training your subconscious to do when you have to rely on instinct (reading moves on the fly on a hard onsight for example) rather than what you consciously do.
I've talked quite a bit to coaches from other sports about similar things and one example really stands out. The basketball team that trained with an 'extra heavy' basketball with the aim of getting stronger throwing muscles. All in all a dumb idea. The problem was that they did this too much, then their technique for playing the games with the proper basketball was totally screwed. Their body had learnt to throw the heavy ball, now they couldnt throw the light ball properly. Obviously the heavy ball had completely changed their technique.
The same argument has been used as a reason why you should try harder problems when bouldering rather than making things harder with a weight vest/belt.
There was a game of Twister on the roof this week at the wall.
Phone app generates the colour for your hand, each 'spin' giving the colour for your next hand. Feet could go wherever. Hands had to alternate each spin unless you matched hands to move the other. Getting to the top of the wall was still the aim.
10 moves in, I was pumped and only half way up.
As a not very good climber, a game like that forced me onto holds from problems I wouldnt normally attempt but with the freedom to keep myself on that hold by using body and feet as required to stick it.
Best thing I did this week though was climb stuff I would normally fail on in a very slow, very intentional way. Was a consequence of knowing I had a lot of time on my hands.
I took ages to place feet rather than lunging about like I normally do.
Resulted in me still having skin on my hands after a 3 hour bouldering session and I didnt even ache the day after.
Another useful technique I found was to have a massive hole in my right shoe. I have to use the outside edge so carefully atm to avoid it that I cant help but have better feet.
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