Mock comps for training

It is all very simple, if you want to succeed in something then you have to practice it. It is hard to inflict enough how important mock comps are for the climbers training for bouldering comps.

Some training results are quantitative in nature, for example, number of pull-ups you can do or highest boulder grade you can climb. We tend to use only quantitative parameters to track our progress or compare ourself to others. Why? Because it is easy to use such parameters: “I send V(N) on regular basis, my competitors straggle to climb V(N-1), therefore I am in good position”. However, there are many aspects in sport competitive climbing that hard to put in numbers; one of them is readiness to deliver in 4 minutes under the stress. But once you admit to yourself that a lot of different things are required for successful competing (that is how multidimensional the task is) then the next step is not hard to figure out: train specifically for 4 minutes hard climbs with target on flashing.

Interestingly enough, when you are regularly doing mock comps you are able to track your progress and analyze it quantitatively. Simply keep writing down number of flashes and attempts and the grades. More flashes and less attempts to top per mock comp will show the progress. (That brings us to the topic of a training log, see post

It really helps when someone else (coach) creates mock comp problems for you. Do it in non-home-gym (best) or on new set in your home-gym. Also do not be shy to record the video of you climbing, you might be surprised while watching it after the mock comp. Here are some examples of my own recent experience doing mocks.

Mock 1. Did well on first two problems; 3d problem has long reach with right hand from the start hold on a big spherical volume, then swing while catching under-cling sloper with left hand. The recorded video shows that after first two attempts I do not believe anymore in myself doing the move (body language, face expression). 4 minutes of climbing are over, I have to rest, but decide to try one more time (no stress now) and the problem goes. Conclusion: I have to control my thoughts, do not let disbelieving to sneak in.

Mock 2. First problem took so much of my strength with toe hooking arete and high steps on slopers, but I top in 4 min with many tries. Flashed second. Beginning of third problem was intentionally super hard (non doable perhaps) for me, the intention was to “break” me. And I mentally broke (on mock!), everything went wrong after that. Conclusion: yes, it is super hard not to let negative emotions to take over you, but it is an essential skill for successful competitor.

Mock 3. First problem has running start, for the sole purpose to stress me: comp usually does not go well if you have not finished first problem (worse if you could not grab first hold). The jump looks big, the start hold is big but under-cling. I failed to stick start hold on first attempt; succeeded to grab it on second attempt, long reach for sloppy block before finish, going with one hand and intuitively adding second hand, saved. The rest of the mock goes perfect.

ABS16 Youth Nationals took place in Madison WI on last weekend. On the flight to Madison on Sunday I got very sick, right before the comp, the worse nightmare ever. Pretty much spent 3 days in the bed coughing, depressed; on Wednesday we decided to exchange tickets and go home. But Thursday morning I felt some life in me, instead of going home we registered me for the event. I had to give all I had to pass qualifiers; passed semi’s on Friday and felt that my body was on its way of recovering from the illness; 4th place in finals; miracle.

Thanks to the mock comps:

  • I could focus and flash routes.
  • I managed to pass both qualifiers and semi’s with pushing myself hard in last 30 sec of the last route, I did not loose focus for 4 min.
  • Finishing instinct gave me important 2 tops in finals.
  • Last 20 sec of the last route in finals got me to 4th place (and US team invitation).

All ABS16 videos are available on Louder Than 11 Youtube channel. Pick camera/problem at the top of youtube window.

MYC Semis:

1 Problem:

2 Problem:

3 Problem:

MYC Finals:

1 Problem:

2 Problem:

3 Problem: