ROCUPtv - Technique


This series is authored by Robin O'Leary. He is a full-time performance coach and has been working as such for the last 10+years and now works with some of the best-performing athletes in the UK.

Footwork Precision and Accuracy

Now that we have our shoes sorted, we need to start with arguably the most important part of footwork, precision and accuracy. This video is all about how to place your feet perfectly - watching your toe go onto the hold and not looking up last minute. Most climbers are guilty of bad footwork, but it is one of the only techniques that once you learn, you should never neglect. You can immediately implement it into every session. The power comes from the big toe, so really watch that big toe place exactly where you want it to on the hold.

Can you climb on bolt holes? Watch this video to find out how.

In the first video of the series, we explored the importance of footwear whereby the message was about the fitment of the shoe. If you've not read the article or watched the video yet, click here.

This video/article moves on from the importance of footwear and fitting and looks at precision and accuracy.

Whether you are a beginner on a big foothold or an advanced climber on an insecure smear, we have all guilty of tapping our feet, bouncing our heels, and not focusing on the placement enough. Did this lead to a foot pop or readjustment – probably! Sometimes you get lucky, but you don't learn from this – you learn from the mistake or that foothold that is so finicky you have to place your toe perfectly.

It really does all come down to being precise and accurate. Choosing exactly where you want to place your big toe on the hold. Even if it is a large hold, don't be complacent – watch that toe go onto the hold and watch it place before you apply the pressure that will then, in turn, lead to trust.

When drilling precise and accurate footwork, slow things down at first. The more confident you get with your footwork, the faster you will be able to place your toe, but the principle remains, that you must watch your toe place before shifting focus.

Footwork is one of the only aspects of technique that someone can immediately apply to their sessions – every single climb. Slow things down. Watch the toe. Choose the exact spot you want to place your toe and watch the placement. Then apply pressure and shift focus – more on this in upcoming videos.

In the videos that follow, we will consider heel positions, pressure and look at the difference between positive holds and slopey foot holds/volumes too.

Some have asked how they can practice their footwork during these times (lockdown)? If you want some ideas, get in touch and we can show you some great and unique methods!

Robin O'Leary is a full-time performance coach. He has been working as such for the last 10+years and now works with some of the best-performing athletes in the UK.

Robin is the head coach of the GB Para-Climbing Team and has coached National, European and World Champion climbers. Along with working with top-level athletes around the world, Robin also coaches hundreds of keen enthusiasts. From hands-on technical coaching, to long-term programme work.

Robin is also the co-author of UKClimbing's highly successful Injury Management and Prevention articles.

If you want to get in touch with Robin, please visit his website:

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