Here is the four part series of what we trained with the German Boulder Team leading to our most successful season in 2014 with Juliane Wurm becoming bouldering world champion and Jan Hojer winning the overall title!
My job as head coach of the German Alpine club’s (DAV) Bouldering team has many faces. It includes to facilitate thinking or learning new behaviour and improve physical skills for personal growth and advancement in the demands of bouldering contests. Another aspect is to transfer as much of my knowledge and experience to my climbers. I’m involved in all the aspects of the sport, including physical and mental development and the application of tactics and strategies during the contests. Competitive bouldering is relatively young so common sense on training program design and injury prevention is not yet established. Climbing is mostly a self-taught activity up to a certain age so that some athletes are not used to being coached. We than have to establish a practise of feedback and critique. The athlete perceives a contest from a first person perspective, feeling a slippery hold or fading strength first hand – whereas I have an outside overview – observing body language, comparing the competitors’ different solutions and keeping the judging in check. To bring these two perceptions to match and to keep the communication running so that we both benefit from our different perspectives is the greatest challenge.
Often I just ask questions and offer opportunities that will challenge my athletes to find answers from within him- or herself.
In the following you are going to see a couple of methods we tried out and experimented with over the last five years.
One arm pull-ups and such were probably the exercises you were expecting from this chapter, but what you see here is a little contest between Jan Hojer and Thomas Tauporn and not a part of our general physical education.
Most of my athletes are already strong before I meet them, they have to be successful on a national level a long time before they are considered for international contests. Physical training almost doesn’t play a role once the season is on – but is of course very important for general conditioning and especially injury prevention.
From assessment to not-injury
With our physios and docs we try to cover the complexity of the medical issues involved in bouldering in general and specified in a competitive setting.
We don’t think too much of possible injuries that could happen. However, there’s still the remaining risk of accidental injuries as well as injuries because of fatigue over-training. We try to tune the performance of the athlete to not develop to much stress on any structure, which would lead to an injury, as well as supporting the athlete in a way, that she can show her maximum abilities in the competition.
Beside the obvious medical overall test, we’re developing performance based checks of the body. In these tests we try to see how good the athletes body can cope with the impact of competitive bouldering.
Furthermore we try to identify possible weak links, like muscle dysbalancies which would hold the athlete back from optimal performance, as well as they could lead to injuries.
This clip is the first of a free series “German Bouldering Team trainings 2009-2014” by Udo Neumann, head coach of the German Alpine club’s (DAV) Bouldering team. Stay tuned for:
– designing bouldering training
– Find something difficult and repeat it until it’s easy
– making up training as we go
and – the real thing, bouldering