Footwork is afoot
Since getting a trainer to improve our climbing skills we've been confronted with some hard truths. One of those is that while we're reasonably strong, our basic technique is trash. That means we can progress up to 6A-6C level, but no further. We're, for lack of a better word, stuck. And one of the biggest things we need to fix is our footwork.
What we found out (but already knew, kinda)
We can muscle a lot of things. We can force a movement, climb fast, squeeze harder, jump, and skip holds. None of those are viable solutions on long routes — not as a go-to solution anyway.
We're lazy humans and we know our strength is in our upper body. That's why we focus on hands over feet 9 times out of 10. It's familiar, just not efficient. That in turn negatively affects our endurance, which is one of the key things we want to work on. The problems with our footwork are numerous:
- Uncoordinated, thoughtless placements
- Frequent repositioning
- Placement with the wrong part of the foot
- Placement that use a wall-smear more than the hold
- Extreme difficulty standing on small holds
- Balancing is touch & go
We won't go into the exact details of what our trainer has thought out for us, because we're not dicks. The gist of it is to move deliberately, accurately, and quietly. Always weigh every foot at every placement. Place your foot with the right part of the shoe. Mind your body position.
To make sure we get enough time exercising this, we've stopped climbing hard routes. We're only climbing well within our grades, and doing very deliberate, steady foot placements. If you don't get it right, you do it again until you do. We do rainbow climbs wherever we find the very smallest, toughest footholds. Some of those bastards are barely bigger than a thumbnail. Luckily we also have a short 8m route (5B+) that's almost entirely devoid of handholds in a dihedral, which requires a lot of tension on your feet. It hurts but it's good.
Another one of our favourite games is to climb the same route repeatedly, but find alternative beta for the hardest sections. Again, we're not doing much over 6A's for now. It's fun to figure out more efficient ways to do the same sections — especially if they're then more efficient for both Lieke and Arie.
Onwards & upwards