Climbing: The Best Way to Improve Personal Performance
According to one of the best sport climbers, Wolfgang Güllich,
In climbing you are always faced with new problems in which you must perform using intuitive movements, and then later analyze them to figure out why they work, and then learn from them.
Nowadays, performance is at the heart of every person and the most important aspect of sports climbing is constantly attempting to overcome its own limits, which in turn translates into performance. As an activity with a strong social and interpersonal focus, it contributes to the development of skills such as: observation, fast analysis, fair assessment, adaptation, planning, concentration, dynamism, determination and self-confidence.
Sports climbing has gone from something done by only a select few, to an activity practiced by tens of thousands persons throughout the world. In the United Kingdom, The British Mountaineering Council (BMC) estimates there are about 5 million visits to climbing walls each year.
Sports climbing activities are divided into:
- Bouldering: the practice of scaling large boulders. Typically done closer to the ground, crash pads and spotting are used as protection instead of belay ropes.
- Rock climbing : the activity of ascending sheer rock faces, with specialized techniques and equipment.
- Mountaineering : the sport of attaining high points in mountainous regions.
- Ice climbing : the branch of mountaineering that specializes in climbing on frozen surfaces.
- Tree climbing: a recreational activity consisting of ascending and moving around tree tops.
- Indoor climbing : basically an offshoot of the original version of the activity, wherein people would scale man-made walls.
Sports climbing is an art – the art of concentration, pure movement and balance
Each route requires planning and analysis to be completed. It can be practiced both individually and with groups, allowing practitioners to spend gratifying moments together, sharing their experiences with each other.
Such a sport can bring great benefits to our mental, physical and social performance.
Mental performance improves decision-making, visualization, problem solving, goal setting, planning, concentration, determination, self-confidence, stress relief, our sense of achievement and spatial awareness.
It also teaches us the ability to assess a problem, look for a solution and then generate a plan. In practice, a climber is able to see the entire route in his mind, building his problem solving and planning abilities.
Practically, everything worth accomplishing in life requires drive, planning and execution. That’s why skills developed through such activities help you improve performance-wise.
Physical performance develops lean, enduring muscles, our core muscles, cardiovascular system, hands and fingers, forearms and upper fingers, shoulders, upper back.
Being quite a unique sport, it is one of the best complete body workouts available. Your entire body benefits from climbing, being a sport that strengthens your hands and forearms, biceps, shoulders, neck, traps, upper back, last, lower back, abs, thighs and calves.
Nonetheless, such an activity complements and raises performance bars in other sports too. Here are some examples: rugby – hand strength for a better grip on the ball; racquet or bat sports like tennis, squash or cricket – hand strength for holding onto the bat; soccer – builds upper body and core strength & agility; running and cycling – builds upper body strength and flexibility.
Social performance means belonging to a community, networking and friendship-building, enhancing our communication, leadership and listening skills, building character and trust.
Even though, in practice, it’s just you against yourself, it can still be regarded as a team sport, especially when it comes to rock climbing. The element that fosters relationships quite fast is your ability to put trust in the person holding your rope.
As such, communication between the climber and the people on the ground is vital to climbing safely. Expressing yourself clearly and conscientiously listening come naturally when your life’s on the line. These things build character and leadership skills.