Coaches Blog: RCC Academy at the Welsh Climbing Championships 2014

Article written by Tom Vaessen, RCC Manager and Coach, Photos by Tom Vaessen and Paul Rose.RCC Academy 2014

With the winter nights drawing in and the competition session well and truly underway, the last few months have seen the RCCAcademy preparing with hours of competition preparation training. With sterling performances at the BMC British Lead Climbing Championships and RCC’s very own Winter Bouldering League Round 1, our attention turned to the Welsh Climbing Championships and the Climbing Centre Groups Petzl Lead Climbing Championship.

First up, the Welsh Climbing Championships at Boulders Cardiff. It was an early start Saturday morning, but with a BBC Radio 1 shout out showing support for the RCC Academy, the drive went quick and before we knew it we arrived at Boulders!

9am came, and after registration the team joined for a group briefing with myself. With 2 of the RCC Academy returning to retain their championship titles, plus a further 7 members all wanting a piece of the action, psyche was high! With only an hour until comp kick off, it was time to put all those hours of route reading into practice! The team split into their categories and set off to find their routes. As a coach of over 10 years, I have to say I have never seen a group of kids work so well together to not only ensure they saw every hold, every move, every clip and every rest but they supported each other and their confidence just grew! Once they had discussed every element of their routes, including sequence options, clipping positions etc, it was time for me to have one last run through. The layout of the day was as follows, each competitor had 3 qualification routes to attempt. After these the top 10 go through to the Semi Finals where they have 5 minutes to view their routes as a group. After this they are sent to isolation, to then 1 by 1 try their route. The top 5 competitors from the semis then progress to the finals! Then it’s all down to the final route!!!! Scores work by each hold getting a point, then additional points for move off of, and then touching the next hold i.e. each hold is worth 3 points. Topping the route for bottom rope, or clipping the chain for lead climbs, gains competitors the full 100 points..

Welsh Open HarryWelsh Open SamWelsh Open Saviley  Welsh Open Tom

Qualifications up first and reigning champion and GB Junior Team member, Catrin Rose was up for girl’s category B. As always Catrin was calm, collected and knew exactly what to do! She completed route 1 without breaking a sweat! Next up was boys’ category B, and this saw Ewan, Joe and Sam follow suit with 3 awesome first climbs. Boys’ category C was a really exciting group for RCC. James Bateman, as Catrin, was returning to retain his title, plus Tom Wenzcek was making his first ever non RCC major climbing competition appearance and boy were these two psyched. Again, all the hours of training paid of and route 1 was completed by James, with Tom just missing out dropping the penultimate move. At this point I took Tom to one side to discuss his climb, see how he was feeling and to remind him, that yes he had dropped a few points, but he had to compose himself, think there where still two other routes left, and the semi finals were still within reach! Tom did exactly that, went grabbed a drink and off he went to route 2. In the mean time our last 3 competitors were up. All in category D, Saveliy, Harry and Molly started their 1st route. Saveliy and Harry up first and they didn’t disappoint again solid climbs both gaining a comfortable 100 points. Molly, Harry’s, sister was a 1 day guest of the RCC Academy, taking part in her first ever competition! She did amazingly, after spending a bit of time figuring out the crux, she just missed out on full points by a tricky top section. So route 1s down, great efforts, time to turn the attention to routes 2 & 3. Again, I couldn’t have asked for more. All members gave it their all, and just to mention few climbs, Joe, Ewan and Sams ascents of route 2, was amazing. Joe was first in his category, and with great route reading and team work all 3 boys completed. Sam was last up out of the three and with 50% of the moves being max span for him, it just goes to show no move is too big!

Welsh Open Joe

Qualis completed and I was proud to see that 6 of the team members had made semi finals! Catrin, Joe, Ewan, James, Tom and Saveliy had minutes to compose themselves, read theirs routes and then get to isolation! If you’ve never experienced competition isolation, it is intense. You can hear everything, but never sure as to wants happened, did the previous climber top, do you have to send to reach the finals and even worse, when it is your time to climb, it’s all eyes on you! The team how ever did….. well, I can’t think of another word, amazing!

Joe and Ewan unfortunately had a long wait, after 15 reached the semi finals, the day had dragged on and the competition was fierce! Both gave great performances on the comp wall but just missed out on reaching the finals. Saveliy had a similar story, a mid height ‘round the clock’ sequence confused so many, and meant he also just missed out. Tom, bearing in mind it was one of his first ever comps, was up first for his category. When we first read the route we were concerned as to the reach of a low section sequence so a few options were given to Tom. Well… he did need it, from his first step off the ground, every move was considered yet assertive and the first section of the route, he flew up. After completing the crux, Tom was faced by a move, were the setters had forced a tricky cross over, making the climbers trust their feet on a slopped volume. This was a reach too far for Tom, not quite trusting his feet, the move was just out of reach. It was then down to where the rest of his category would get. James, up next for boys C, and he showed why he was reining champ giving an almost flawless performance topping his semi route. I am also happy to say that after all boys C had completed, and I was grabbing time for a coffee, when I was greeted by a gleaming Tom, screaming at the top of his Lungs, ‘I’ve made the finals!!!’ Catrin, although having a fall right at the top of her route, also made finals but was joint first meaning it was going to be a very close one!

Welsh Open Catrin

Welsh Open JamesWhen the finals came, Catrin was up last in her category. We had already seen 3 girls top the route, meaning she would have to top, to be in with a chance to win! When I say she cruised her route, I mean that in the 4 years I have coached her, I have never seen her so relaxed yet when needed just turn the switch, a true comp climber and worthy of her GB place. Unfortunately, as 1 other competitor had matched her climbs, she was tied at joint 1st place meaning there would be a super final between the two girls, and boy did the route looked tough!

It was a tough final, with powerful moves from the start saw so many drops in the first few clips. However I’m happy to say that RCC saw its 2 reigning champions retain their titles and for first time Welsh Climbing Championship competitor, Tom came 5th!

A great day all round. A huge thanks to the Boulders team for running a great event, to all the academy members for giving it their all and lastly all the academy parents for their on going support and dedication.

Well, it’s officially the longest blog yet, but as you can see lots to write about and I hope you have enjoyed reading this as much as I have writing it J

Next on the calendar, Petzl Lead Climbing Championships; 22nd Nov 2014 and Winter Bouldering League Round 2; 27th Nov 2014.

Happy climbing

Picture courtesy of Helen Bateman, a very proud mum, 3 years in a row :)

Catrin & James

Coaches Blog: WBL Round 1, ‘What’s Next’ & Comp Tips…

Blog written by Tom Vaessen, RCC Manager and Coach. Photos by Tom Vaessen and Danny Haynes.

10703752_984048834954837_7688890831731669701_nRound 1:

Thursday 30th October saw the return of our infamous La Sportiva Winter Bouldering League! Round 1 was set to be a great event with local boy, Rob Lloyd and new to RCC, Peak District legend, Ethan Walker setting! To spice things up even more, this year sees the introduction of our new junior and senior categories. This year the juniors have the standard male and female split along with the newly introduced 7-11 and 12-15 years of age category! For the seniors, we have removed the veterans category, but keeping the male/female split introducing our new VB-V4 and V5-V8+. For the first year at RCC there really is all to play for, for all competitors!

So Round 1… well you didn’t let us down, it was a huge success, in fact it was our busiest round to date! With nearly 100 competitors combined, the 30th Oct saw some incredible efforts, sends and wacky beta being laid down! For full results of Round 1, click here….

Next on the agenda, WBL Round 2 on Thursday 27th Nov & Petzl Lead Climbing Championship returns Saturday 22th Nov

What’s next, Round 2… how are you preparing?

Well we won’t disappoint! Round 2 not only has some top class setters, but also has teamed up some mega legendary brands to give everybody, even non competitors, a night to remember.

Problem Solving

Academy Member Tom working on his route reading with Coach Will

We are psyched to announce we have the French finesse of Yann Genoux making his WBL return, and to give a bit of girl power, Evie Cotrulia makes here RCC debut!

With round 2 not too far off, and newly set Pink V2-V4. Blue V6-V8+, Yellow VB-V8+ and Black VB-V6 circuit, now is the perfect time to work on your on-sight climbing, problem solving and general technique!

Over the last few months, our coaches have been hard at work helping the Academy team prepare for not only the RCC Winter Bouldering League, but also for national competitions such as the Welsh Opens, this November and the Winter Open later this year.

Want to know how our team of coaches can help improve your competition and general climbing, drop us an email to coaching@readingclimbingcentre.com.

Coaches competition tip:

When the comp starts, take your score card and look at every bloc. Mark each bloc a score out of 1-3. 1 being very doable, your looking at a 95% chance of doing first go, 2 being should do but may need to work, 3 being, well you get the idea. Then climb the blocs in order. This then means you ensure early on you get those important points in the blocs marked 1, plus you can spend crucial time and energy working blocs you feel confident on, thus hopefully gaining you a better score. Any time left, that’s your time to play on those bloc marked 3. Any blocs your not sure on, try them early on, you may be surprised, they may not be that hard, an even a bonus hold is worth 1 point :-)

For more info on how to improve your route reading, why not try out Climb Skills, Route Reading Workshop… book online with discount code, Discount10 to receive 10% your Climb Skills Workshop!

There’s more…!

We are also excited to announce that not only does the 27th Nov bring you round 2 of the Winter Bouldering League, but also brings the first ever RCC Lyon Equipment Winter Wall Event, with La Sportiva boot demo, along with Petzl ‘Ask the Experts’ gear advice! 27th Nov, get it in your diaries people!!!

WBL Round 2

 

 

Petzl Lead Climbing Championships returns Saturday 22nd Nov 2014

 

Petzl Lead Climbing Championship

Back for it’s second year, the Petzl Lead Climbing Championship is a collaboration between one of the best known climbing equipment brands in the world, and three of the UK’s most respected climbing centres. With rounds in Manchester, Harrogate and Reading, it is truly a national lead climbing competition!

Competitors can take part in one, two, or all of the championship rounds. Each round has a £1500 fund of prizes, in the form of top-flight equipment provided by Petzl. This year, the top-scoring competitors from each round will be invited to a Super Final at the Manchester Climbing Festival, which sees Manchester Climbing Centre mark it’s 10th birthday with a week-long celebration.

Supported by Petzl athletes, no other climbing competition is as well established in the community as the Petzl Lead Climbing Championships. Each event offers the chance to rub shoulders with the climbing greats, whilst being at the friendliest, most enjoyable competition you can imagine.

With Junior (under 16), Adult & Veterans (40+) categories, both split into male & female, everyone will be competing against their peers. There is no extra cost to take part in the Petzl Lead Climbing Championships for our members, beyond paying the normal entry fee for each centre on the day. Non-members fee is £2 per scorecard.

Registration begins at 10am, but you can pre-register by email; please send us your name, date of birth and postcode to speed up your registration on the day. If you haven’t climbed at one of our centres before, please fill out an Adult registration Form or Under 18 Registration Form and bring it on the day. Anyone under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a competent adult belayer, as the qualifying rounds are not belayed by RCC instructors.

Liam ‘The Hitman’ Halsey and Rob Lloyd are confirmed for setting the event, plus we have just confirmed the order some brand new Core holds to go with specially selected Holdz holds to create our very first Lead Competition holds set!

photo

Scarpa Boot demo: Sunday 9th Nov…

This Sunday RCC will be hosting a Scarpa boot demo! We will be joined by UK climbing superstar Gaz Parry who will on hand to give advice and info on the latest and greatest in the Scarpa climbing shoe range. Get down from 10am to give them a go….

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