Wednesday, 3 February 2016

GB Team Inaugural Meeting

Last weekend I woke up at 5.45am to catch a train to Sheffield for the GB Team Inaugural Meeting. Despite having to wake up so early I was really excited to get to know my teammates and coaches better and to get an idea of how the year was going to turn out. 
After a welcoming speech from the senior lead team coach the lead and boulder teams were split into groups for our profiling and training. Under the scrutiny of the coaches, everyone warmed up and then I was weighed and measured before doing some strange fitness tests to determine my general stability, flexibility  and upper body strength. I didn't find the tests particularly hard  but they got me to work muscles I never even knew I had! 
After lunch we had a go at some comp-style boulders set especially for the training day. These proved to be fiendishly difficult due to the combination of small holds and large, bad ones, lots of volumes, lots of angles and some strange sequences of moves. I personally felt quite strange being the only person not on the bouldering team in my group. However I found the problems very interesting and enjoyed trying them.
We all went to the meeting room after to partake in some group workshops to do with scheduling training around school and competing in comps under a lot of time pressure. We then watched climbing videos, pausing them at different points as a route reading exercise. Overall I found this section of the day helpful, although I didn't get to do much climbing.
After a relaxing evening at Wagamama's and a good night's sleep at the trusty Premier Inn I woke up the next day ready for more training. 
The day began with a talk from Ian Dunn, the head coach of the junior lead team, about the comps this year and what to expect concerning selection/kit/sponsorship etc. The lead team then warmed up together (with strict orders from the coaches as apparently we were all appalling at this the previous day) and we took part in a route reading workshop-climbing blind fold! We each had to choose a moderately easy route to top rope, reading it carefully first and trying to remember as much of it as possible when climbing it blind folded with a partner shouting advice to help. I managed to get my way up a 6b although the experience was strange and very different from what I'm used to.
After lunch I had a private meeting with my mum, Ian and Tony Smith, the parents' rep, to discuss my weaknesses and what comps/training events I am likely to attend this year. A lot was said about the European Youth Cup in May and the European Championships in September so fingers crossed I get to compete in those!
Next the team did a bouldering route reading exercise, this time based solely on memory. The aim was to complete a boulder with as many moves as possible without being told were to go whilst on the wall, having been shown it just once before. I found this quite easy but will practice it in my own training to improve my memory for climbing in finals.
The day ended with a series of functional movement systems tests to assess flexibility and body stability/balance. These were very strange and I have no idea how I performed on them but I am told that they are vital for athlete profiling.
Overall the weekend was an unusual experience but I enjoyed it and look forward to the next team training at the end of this month.
Keep climbing!

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