After a long World Cup season I was feeling tired and pretty run down but with a couple of weeks to prepare I felt like I could get myself into a pretty good place.
I have started working with a new strength and conditioning coach on a program to improve my power and flexibility across a full range of movement.
I like trying new things outside of climbing as it provides a welcome break. I hate however being crap at stuff and these guys (whilst making me better) have made me look like a feeble human being. It’s a completely alien way of training to me and whilst it is totally nails I feel like I am making gains at a huge rate.
It’s kind of a work in progress and we are making a case study video out of it which will be out later in the year. If you are interested in the mean time the company is Wild Training you can check out an example of some the stuff here.
I also had a couple of great sessions at the Castle, the final one being an onsite comp simulation on their new competition wall. I managed to do all of the blocs in quick time which was great and I felt like it was a real confidence booster as I knew the blocs would be a comparable level and style to the BBC’s. Thank you to Mike Langley and Kornlija for sorting it out.
As for the comp weekend, I say to anyone who asks me about the British Championships that I find it the most stressful comp of the year. I guess it’s the level of expectation and pressure.
Being a member of the British team and competing internationally this is one of the events where I feel I need to justify my selection and prove my worth. I have also made the previous five finals and was desperate for a sixth. Add to that the presence of friends and family who know how much it means to me, the number of other strong competitors trying to do the same and it feels like a pressure cooker.
This is the ‘head game’ and part of what I have been working on a lot this season. I know that if I train really hard and get as strong, light and fit as I can I will be in a good position to do well, but if my head is not in the right place it will make very little difference.
This is however easier said than done, and for me has been the hardest thing to develop. I have read some books on the topic and had assistance from the team’s sports psychologist. The result has been the development of routines and a mental management process. I won’t bore you with the specifics as everyone by their very nature is unique, but the crux of it is basically focussing on the factors I can control.
This year was the first time that our governing body the BMC have run a world cup style event for the British Championships. It was a big undertaking on their part and from my perspective was a huge success and a real step forwards. The format gives all competitors a fair and level playing field and the chance to experience a world cup style event. It also gives the British team management the ability to evaluate the team and identify potential in a representative environment.
So onto the competition itself, on the first day I awoke in the hotel and nerves hit me big time. I adopted the world Champion Dimitri Sharafutinov’s breakfast regime and headed off to find some bananas and register...