Thursday, 28 March 2013

Interviews with Anna Stöhr & Patxi Usobiaga

Last year whilst working on Psyched! Issue 5 I had a total melt down with technology and it was impossible to get it finished off. With it being unlikely in the short term to get Psyched! back off the ground here are two links to a few of the interviews that Natalie Berry did for us;

Patxi Usobiaga;

Anna Stöhr;

Both of these are the unedited versions and were the original layout proof PDF's that I sent to Anna & Patxi, there are some typos where language has been a issue, normally we would have tidied these up, the photo's in Anna's should have had credits but I can't add the credits as I can't access the program (InDesign) I created the original in and am not intending to buy another version or update my PC anytime soon. To be honest, I quite like the ruggedness of the text..

The NB at the end of Patxi's article should also have been in his type style, as it was a footnote to his final point!

They do date back to January 2012 so are a tad out of date but for the historical read I thought it would be good to get them out there.

Friday, 15 March 2013

SWOT Analysis

Taking an analytical look at your climbing, whether it be for indoors, outdoors, ice, mixed, competition or bouldering, is the perfect way to psych you up and set you on a direct course of action. It is not designed to push you into more training, but should give you focus on a number of factors that all combine to give you the targets you set yourself in your SMART goals.

You are in control of the outcome of your climbing goals and doing a SWOT Analysis is a major step in any plan, be it before you start, in the middle or after an event/competition.

Take a sheet of A4; divide it into four, titled: Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT).

Strength If you are good on slopers, for example, acknowledge it. But remember strengths can never make up for what weaknesses leave off.

Some suggestions;
  • Advantages of competing?
  • Capabilities?
  • Competitive advantages?
  • How you found the event?
  • Isolation/crowd?
  •  Personal ability?
  • Lock offs
  • Crimps
  • Stamina
  • Rock Type
  • Psychological
  • Controlling nerves
  • Bouldering
  • Onsighting
  • Trad
  • Sport
  •  Etc…….
Weakness This may be a physical weakness, mental weakness or diet related

Some suggestions;
  •         Gaps in capabilities?
  •         Lack of experience?
  •         Opportunities to climb?
  •         Climbing Partners?
  •         Location?
  •         Lack of competitive strength?
  •         Lack of competitive stamina?
  •         Reputation, presence, crowds?
  •         Own known vulnerabilities?
  •         Over Whelming?
  •         Fear?
  •         Fear of falling?
  •         Type of rock?
  •         Hold Types?
  •         Move Types?
  •         Slabs/Overhangs/etc?
  •         Etc…..

Opportunity Any opportunities that allow you to make gains and improve. By keeping a log you have an action list.

Some suggestions;

  •         New developments?
  •         Tactics: eg, the zone, your head, ability?
  •         Information and research?
  •         Influences, experiences?
  •         Sponsors etc?
  •         Access to coaches
  •         Local Climbing Walls
  •         Location
  •         Climbing partners
  •         Team training/events
  •         Weather
  •         Job
  •         Etc …..
Threats Injury is the biggest threat for any climber.

Some suggestions;
  •         Illness
  •         Injury
  •         Venue
  •         Commitment
  •         Peer pressure
  •         Parental support
  •         Family Commitments
  •         Work Commitments
  •         Personal/Social Circumstances
  •         Climbing partner
  •         Etc…..

As there are loads of variables, you cannot list everything and these change constantly, by thinking of your current situation where you can improve and identify your weaknesses will help the bigger picture. By constantly doing SWOT analysis of your climbing doesn’t make it a laborious job it identifies trends and areas to work at different times of the year and will help towards a SMART Training plan not only in the short term but in the medium to long term aswell!

Sunday, 10 March 2013


At the end of every training session you should take some time and reflect how it went. All good productive goal setting begins with an evaluation of where you are and where you have been. Taking the time to look back on your sessions can help you see your training and climbing from a different perspective. The best way to do this is as a SWOT Analysis but the quickest and easiest way is to ask yourself these questions:

• What am I good at, what are my strengths?

• What areas have I improved in?

• What areas did I struggle with?

• What areas need improvement?

Your answers to these questions will be the start of your goal/target planning whether it is for the for the upcoming competition season, a route you want to get ticked or just to generally improve your climbing.


After determining what you value about your training and climbing, you can move on to setting goals. Goals are most effective when they are SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Action oriented, Realistic, and Time-limited).

Here are some ways to set SMART goals:

Specific: Make sure your goals are not vague or too general. For example, the goal “I want to get better”, is nice, but how are you going to define “better” in this instance? A more specific and helpful goal could be “I want to climb F6b or V8 by X competition or within 6 months”.

Measurable: Goals are more helpful when you can evaluate your progress towards your goal. If your goal is to get better, how are you going to measure that? Is it by staying injury free, or climbing with new people, or doing well in a competition? Setting a measurable goal will help you determine if you are meeting your goals or not.

Action Oriented: Goals are going to be more effective when they can be worked towards actively. For example, “I want to onsite F7a” or “I want to redpoint F6b” are goals that you can actively pursue. Setting action oriented goals will help you see the steps you need to take towards accomplishing your goal.

Realistic: Goals that are not realistic are going to be more hurtful than helpful. I would love to be able onsite 8a but in reality that is not going to happen! If I deny the reality and set that goal for myself, I am only in for disappointment and discouragement. Instead, setting goals and targets that are realistic to your abilities, lifestyle, time constraints and access to climbing whether indoors or outdoors, yet ones that push you to get better are going to be most effective.

Time-Limited: Goals that have a deadline are going to be more useful than those that are open-ended. Long-term goals are great, but you can set a timeline for those too. Otherwise, goals just get pushed back and not worked on. Set goals for each specific session before you train. Set goals for each training block (4 week block, 6 week bloc etc). Set goals for each competition. Set goals for each season. Set five and 10 year goals. Set lifetime goals.

After you have explored what you value about training and climbing, and linked those values with SMART goals, keep track of them, keep your goals in a place where you can see them regularly so you know where you are with your training, but most importantly ‘be prepared to be flexible with your goals’.

Something may come up that presents as an obstacle to reaching a goal. When this happens, re-evaluate what is important to you, and adjust your goals accordingly. Allow your goals to motivate you and help you stay connected to what is most valuable to you