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Climbing with shocking hand eye coordination

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I have absolutely terrible coordination, I mean really awful, most likely due to being horribly dyslexic.

Apart from not being able to dyno I've never really thought it impacts my climbing that much but I had a day out with a coach recently (wish I had done this years ago) who almost instantly picked up on my very inaccurate foot placements (and subsequent need for adjustment).  I had always thought my footwork was quite good!

Does anyone else suffer from dyspraxia/dyslexia/general lack of coordination and have you developed any techniques to overcome this? The more I look at my feet whilst climbing now the more I notice myself stabbing about and missing holds and its very annoying! I've sort of made piece with the fact I cant spell my own name or know the alphabet but the inability to crush my projects i cant have!

 Trangia 10 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

No I don't suffer from it, but it sounds very frustrating, From your profile I see that you lead E3 which is amazing with such a disability. Respect and hat off to you!

In reply to Trangia:

It's a minor thing really, there are certainly climbers with greater issues who climb a lot harder than me! But I would really like to progress to E4/consolidate E3 and this seems like an 'easy win'. I always thought it was strength holding me back but perhaps not.

 Cake 10 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

The answer is clear. 

Get stronger to cancel out bad footwork.

2
 spenser 10 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

I'm also dyspraxic, never climbed as hard as you but similar thought my footwork was one of my strengths.

My solution with dynos is to throw myself at them 20-30 times and I'll eventually latch the hold. The boulder problems they sometimes set where you have to run at the wall have come close to breaking glasses/ my nose multiple times too!

In reply to Cake:

Ha! That is either possible the best climbing advice ever, or the worst since my mate told me to layback Gates of Mordor (E3 5c)

In reply to spenser:

I have to admit I've stopped even attempting the running jump style problems at my local wall, which is annoying as this sort of parcour nonsense seems fo be very much in fashion. Dynos normal result in bruised knuckles and skinned elbows from completely missing the hold I'm aiming for and hitting somthing a foot away.

 duchessofmalfi 10 May 2022
In reply to Cake:

Not only that but "just static everything" helps

In reply to duchessofmalfi:

I do actually in fact static everything to the extent I attract comments from strangers occasionally.

 spenser 11 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Dynos always used to make me look like I had been boxing with the hold I am aiming for!

The big thing for me is practice, I can teach my body what it is meant to do, the more precise the movement needs to be the long longer it takes to learn. 

In reply to ebdon:

Maybe try the legendy font training exercise; balance coins on edge on the footholds and climb without disturbing them.

1
In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

I guess my question is has anyone with dyslexic/dyspraxia has ever managed to use such techniques to train to overcome poor coordination. I climb quite a lot and am around 40 (so no spring chicken) and dispite trying to make dynamic moves regularly I still cant! 

When I was kid, before being diagnosed as dyslexic my school made me copy out books to improve my hand writing, I think I copied almost all of the hobbit but still had illegible hand writing. I'm always wary of getting frustrated repeatedly trying to to do stuff that try as I might my brain just wont let me do.

 Mick Ward 11 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

I've got very poor coordination. I trip, knock things over, break things, spill things. Terrible spatial visualisation. Can easily take the wrong turning driving to the crag, even though I may have been loads of times before. Am terribly impractical. 

It doesn't seem to affect my climbing though and all I can think is that somehow, along the way, I somehow 're-wired' my brain. And I guess that's the challenge for you. 

You've climbed 7b so you must be in one of the top percentiles of people on here. Not too shabby. 

Thinking back to E3s and E4s, I can only remember one (Pickpocket) where I had to do an all out dyno. If they've climbed 7a/7b, lots of trad mileage and being steady will get most people up these grades in relative safety. Dynos are rare. 

Conversely I've always viewed footwork as arguably the greatest weapon in the climbing armoury. Back in the day, people used to do endless traversing on brick walls outside (e.g. Broomgrove, in Sheffield). This gave you killer footwork and steel fingers and E3/E4 on limestone became eminently reasonable. Is there somewhere maybe that you could do this? 

Just some stray thoughts. Appreciate it's frustrating but part of climbing is dealing with our 'stuff' - and we've all got plenty of 'stuff' to deal with. You're not the only one, even if it sometimes feels that way. 

Mick 

1
In reply to Mick Ward:

Thanks Mick, I totally agree I've never thought the lack of ability to dyno has held me back on trad! Out of idle curiosity would you say you have developed a notable static style of climbing?

I do live next to Nottinghams premier crag (Trent bridge) which I used to endlessly traverse on, however I think any coins left on holds as suggested upthread (or indeed any personal possessions) would very quickly disappear into the pockets of the resident feral kids who have tried to nick my shoes on several occasions.

 Mick Ward 11 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

No worries. Appreciate that things aren't easy but you've certainly overcome your dyslexia when it comes to writing. I was amazed that Andy Kirkpatrick got those books out while being dyslexic and generally feeling shit about things. He's done some brilliant stuff. 

Once I'm (very!) near a bolt, I'll dyno, throw and pop with abandon - sometimes successfully, sometimes not. When it comes to trad though, I'm Mr Static, cautious and super-careful. I'd need to have a bomber wire in front of my face to get experimental. 

Have always been very unsupple, worse now with age, so tend to avoid wide bridging. But most trad doesn't need specialism, and where it does, you can work to your strengths. 

I think that very often we magnify our weaknesses and take our strengths for granted, a la Dunning-Kruger. You've certainly got strengths. As I said to someone on another thread, I think one of the best things you can have going for you is supportive partners. Somehow, with the right people, everything is so much better. 

You'll get there! Enjoy the journey. Life is just a tussle with human frailty. 

Mick  

In reply to ebdon:

Hiya.

I suffer from Dyspraxia and I write a blog about my climbing trips etc.

Did you have problems with knots and belay technique to start of width?

I think traversing is good for footwork and I learnt a footwork game to improve it.

Well done on leading E3 by the way.

In reply to Longsufferingropeholder:

We did a similar thing on BMC Fundamentals 1 but using bits of cork.

 JLS 11 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

Funny thing, I never actually knew dyslexia and poor hand eye coordination were linked.

While, my dyslexia isn't horrendous, my hand/foot eye coordination isn't great which probably put pay to my tennis and football careers.

I've always been relatively poor at onsight climbing which I put down to fear of the unknown.

I'm now wondering if it's actually lack of trust in my coordination...

On redpoint I do ok as I seem to rely on muscle memory rather than coordination.

Take away - give up trad, do sport instead.  

In reply to ebdon:

Dyslexia and ADHD here. I do have terrible hand-eye coordination too, and I can actually barely write legibly. I can and do place feet accurately when I need to, but when I turn the brain off I outright kick the wall. This has got a lot less frequent over the years, so I guess some rewiring has occurred.

The one thing that my brain is prone to doing that has not really improved is ignoring obstacles between current limb location and target limb location. I don't know how I have not broken any fingers yet but I do full on punch rock and volumes if I am not careful. Got the scars to show for it...

Simple dynos and using momentum I have never had much of a problem with, but complex co-ordination moves are nearly impossible to do without a gazillion attempts and a fair bit of luck, my brain can only handle one set of limbs at the time.

PS: Somehow, dyslexia pretty much only affects my Greek, which I always though was odd. It's as if a different part of the brain handles English and does so without the same issues.

In reply to Mountain Spirit:

regarding knots - fortunately, my motor skills are good enough for this, I guess its something that its easy to take the time over.  However, something I do really struggle with is remembering how to tie knots (shite memory being another side effect of dyslexia).  I appreciate this sounds mad to most climbers but perhaps not when you consider I cant remember the sequences of months or the alphabet. It's not a big deal though for me - figures of 8s and clove hitches are very intuitive, the inability to tie a bowline has never been a big problem as far as I'm concerned.  When rigging more complex systems I basically have to work it out from first principles every time, however, I seem to be able to do this and not die on a regular basis, perhaps it keeps me on my toes and stops complacency?  

In reply to Alkis:

I would have never have guessed after seeing you climb at the Depot, I always thought you have one of the most dynamic styles around and I don't think I've seen anyone throw themselves about with so much abandon!  I'm definitely with you on the comedy volume bashing, I'm currently nursing a sore head after headbutting an overhang last week. 

In reply to ebdon:

> I do actually in fact static everything to the extent I attract comments from strangers occasionally.

Me too.  I take it as a compliment and it's certainly a more sensible way of leading trad routes! 

In reply to ebdon:

> I guess my question is has anyone with dyslexic/dyspraxia has ever managed to use such techniques to train to overcome poor coordination.

It can be 2 questions... There's dyspraxia making your footwork bad and there's plain old bad footwork making your footwork bad. It's not for me to say (and I'm not convinced you're sure either) how much is column A and how much is column B, but the gains can come from both. If like me you've always followed the climb wrong get strong methodology there's probably some low hanging fruit in the conventional training.

 Dave Cundy 12 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

> I'm currently nursing a sore head after headbutting an overhang last week.

That's just the nascent caver inside you.  My caving hat gets far more abuse than my climbing hat!

In reply to Dave Cundy:

Perhaps my footwork would be improved with some wellies 😆

In reply to ebdon:

> regarding knots - fortunately, my motor skills are good enough for this, I guess its something that its easy to take the time over.  However, something I do really struggle with is remembering how to tie knots (shite memory being another side effect of dyslexia).  I appreciate this sounds mad to most climbers but perhaps not when you consider I cant remember the sequences of months or the alphabet. It's not a big deal though for me - figures of 8s and clove hitches are very intuitive, the inability to tie a bowline has never been a big problem as far as I'm concerned.  

Luckily for me, my memory is good, but if Zi haven't practiced belay set up and technique in a long time I do get a bit sloppy and need a refresher at a social. The same can be said for clipping practice - I needed someone to me how to clip properly.

Do you ever do feet on campus boarding? I have been told it is great for coordination.

Sav

 seankenny 15 May 2022
In reply to ebdon:

John Kettle’s technique book might be worth checking out? It has lots of practice exercises to try. 

 rossiclimbz 22:11 Sun
In reply to ebdon:

Yes! I have dyslexia and autism. With regards to climbing, when I'm tired, I cannot co-ordinate my body at all. It's like my brain and body aren't in sync. I especially struggle with bouldering because I find the sensations/ co-ordination of it all completely overwhelming sometimes. I don't read routes, I just figuring it out as I'm going along 😂 

Interested in this.

I don't have dyspraxia as such but it's in my immediate family and my coordination is pretty poor (eg really struggle to hit a ball). Generally I like climbing for not needing too much coordination but I do REALLY struggle with dynos - like I somehow can't propel my body..?

I've often wondered if struggling with dynos was a dyspraxic thing and if so, what to do about it. I did a Leah Crane dynamic movement session and apparently I can't even jump up and down on the spot properly...

Good luck though. And yes, I find stupid ways to static as much as I can, but I'm 5'3".

On the other hand, I am normally a very good size and static...ness to thrutch a miserable chimney.

Post edited at 00:44
 wbo2 08:27 Mon
In reply to ebdon:  Did the coach suggest any footwork drills or exercises you should try? I'd be tempted to take some simple drills for better footwork and do them consistently , frequently for 6 weeks or similar and see if there's an improvement.

 jkarran 09:34 Mon
In reply to ebdon:

It sounds to me like you already have made the adjustment, your gross movement body-eye coordination may be not great (me too) but with tactile feedback you're able to finely place your fingers and toes. Downside is you wear out shoes and toe joints, at least I did.

I doubt it can be trained to be honest, I don't have a diagnosis of any sort but you're describing my climbing in yours. Not for want of trying I can't even juggle two balls, a simple learnable task for most.

Jk

Post edited at 09:34
 Mark Haward 09:46 Mon
In reply to ebdon:

I used to be a learning consultant specialising in Dyslexia, Dyspraxia and Autism. However, I have to say that I have no personal experience of them myself, only through others, so can only comment based on research and personal observations. 

    One of the biggest challenges I have observed is that they affect different people in very different ways. A second challenge is that they tend to be multi faceted and often need a very personal approach to find work arounds.  

   Some of the strategies I have found that have worked for some people include:

1) Some people find imagining themselves doing the desired activity beforehand useful. This may include imagining climbing the moves / route beforehand, tying the knot, belaying etc.. Try not just to picture yourself  but imagine the textures, body movement, pressure changes, feelings you may have as you move and place your hands, feet, hips etc. Whatever works for you. Some people find this approach terrible!

2) Some people find relaxation techniques beforehand useful. This may be from simple breathing exercises to 'peaceful place', ' positive but realistic self talk', 'tapping', singing ( in the head ) or aspects of NLP.

3) Some people respond well to balance exercises such as wobble boards, beams, dance, yoga, martial arts.

4) Remember to focus on what you enjoy, love about your climbing.

5) Some people find a large amount of sensory input overwhelming. Perhaps ensure you climb when or where is quiet, where there are few people about, perhaps wearing ear plugs.

6) Some people react or have associations to colours in unexpected ways ( this can also be to words, textures, sounds, tastes, smells ). At climbing walls I have known people who often may not have noticed themselves but who, for a simplistic example, climb on yellow holds very poorly whatever the difficulty for them but climb on purple holds precisely and well.

One of the great things about UKC is that it is a bit like a very large climbing club where you can discover and communicate with other people, share experiences and hard won expertise and hopefully discover strategies that work for you and the way you choose to climb. I look forward to seeing more helpful strategies on this thread...


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