On Saturday 16 January I went to the BMC National Academy at The Depot climbing centre in Manchester. These academies are open to climbers who finish in the top 10 in the YCS final or make it to the final in one of the Open Youth competitions (leading or bouldering). As was 6th in the YCS and made the final 3 times in the Open Youth Boulder comps I was invited.
I had to get up quite early to be at the centre for the 10am start and as we live in Sheffield it was a bit of a drive over the Peak District and through Manchester to get there. Plus it was cold and raining!
The coaches for the day were Tom Greenall and Lucinda Whittaker who I knew already and also Tim Cunnington who I hadn’t met before. The Depot is a new bouldering centre in Manchester and is massive – it had only opened the week before we got there so everything was shiny and new!
To begin with we learnt about some self-massage techniques and used the foam rollers and tennis balls. I found loads of tight spots which I didn’t know I had so this was useful.
Then we talked about lots of strength and flexibility exercises we could do, one of them was a jump and a land which we then practiced in the flat area upstairs and then on the wall.
We had to jump off the wall and land with our feet either side of a small piece of paper. This was to help us if we climbed outside and only had a small area on which to land safely.
Then we had a lunch break and learnt about nutrition. We learnt about what we should eat because most of our lunches didn’t have enough nutrition!
Lucinda then showed us how to make a couple of smoothies, one was avocado, pineapple and spinach which was very green but tasted delicious. When I got home I made my own smoothie which I found on the Internet which had one orange, half a banana, a cup of spinach and quarter of a cup of water. This was really really nice and I’ve had a smoothie nearly every day since then. Lucinda has inspired me!
After lunch we then went and put tape on the holds exactly where we felt we were supposed to place our feet. We then had to go up and down the climb six times to make sure we had perfect technique the entire time. We started off easy and worked up way up to problems which would be hard to top.
After doing this for quite a while we went over to the comp wall and tested out our technique on some really hard (but extremely fun!) climbs.
Then we talked about more about “Building the Athlete” – psychologically, physically and nutritionally which included looking at the current GB team picture and noticing how happy they all looked!
Then we were given the task of splitting up into groups and trying to do climbs with as few a goes as possible.
At the end we all discussed the most important points of the session and what action we were going to take afterwards which included eating healthier and getting a foam roller for self massage.
Here is a short video from the BMC about the National Academy, look carefully and you might spot me!