Anyone who has seen us at a climbing wall may have witnessed us doing assessments, sometimes with a variety of gadgets, or tools, today we will look at why we choose to assess what we do as coaches and our favourite tools to use.
Standards and gaps
A simple role of coaches is to recognise the standards you need to reach and any gaps in your technical, physical or mental ability.
Hiring a coach tends to come after realising a goal or finding a simple desire to improve. This where a coaches experience and understanding comes in. Knowing the standards required to reach a goal allows us to assess gaps where we can gain the most benefit..
To me this is the core of the coaching process, and why we ask a lot of questions, each question is an assessment
Whats your goal? Do you meet the standards?, if not can we measure the gap? can we train the gap? If yes, periodically measure it, and then when ready attempt goal..
Phase 2 Did you achieve goal? If yes "well done", go to phase 3
If no go to phase 1
Phase 3 what next? go to phase 1
So... Do you meet standards, what are the gaps test this, train these attempt goal...repeat
For this we can create step goals along the way to aid motivation and see if we are on the right track.
“Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted."
Especially in climbing, its hard to measure the perfect technique or compare the perfect beta, and somethings we can easily measure like how long you can plank for loses value after a certain amount of time and lacks specificity. So what to measure,
When coaching we may measure a lot of things and at other times measure very little, a lot of coaching insights come in conversation or observation. We can measure strength, mobility, aerobic/anaerobic fitness and more... Majority of the time we assess things using our experience, if a coach sees that you can put you foot really high and keep close to the wall we probably won't measure flexibility.
One thing we consistently measure has been finger strength, this has been proven to be the most reliable predicter of climbing grades, although not 100% accurate, the ability to hold on will always define you ability to climb. The tools we use We like simple quick solutions, doing weighted max hang tests can take time and be tiring, this can effect the outcome, so we use some form of electronic scale such as a Crane scale, Tindeq progressor or if you have the funds, Exsurgo Gstrength.
Tinedeq Progressor 110 euros We are yet to get out hands of the gstrength, so currently favour the Tindeq, its adequate for max hangs testing, personally we would like a higher response rate and the ability to add repeater timers and to set session targets. But for now it the only option we have found that'
s reasonably priced, the climbing specific alternatives being £900 upwards
Generic crane scale £20 upwards If you want to get started then any crane scale will suffice, these can be bought on amazon for £20-30, the big down side from this is you have a way to see the screen while using the device or use a phone camera and watch the footage to find you max.
The price of this is so much less than other options that its worth finding ways to make it work.
Something to pull, for this I recommend a crusher Mission board. we use this for our testing and the jug rung is very comfortable to full on.
Essentially a portable hang board and/gymnast ring, will be great to get you started. Just find somewhere strong to hang it..