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Visualization and Climbing

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Visualization and Climbing

Postby rhyang » Mon Nov 09, 2009 6:07 am

A week or two ago I was in one of those places between awakeness and sleep, and imagined myself ice climbing, the way I was climbing before I got hurt two years ago. It felt smooth and controlled, the way it used to be. It was a strange feeling to wake up and realize, "that was then and this is now."

I mentioned it to a friend who is a physical therapist and she described it as maybe some kind of subconscious attempt at visualization (sorry if I am butchering your words Laura :oops: ) I have heard this term before, but know basically nothing about it .. apparently it's a technique used often in other sports, and I guess climbing too. For example, she mentioned gymnastics.

Any good books on the subject as it related to climbing ? Any personal success stories ? (hi Kris :) )

(yes, I know retraining my body is going to require lots of mileage .. no shortcuts :) )
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Postby The Chief » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:17 am

Dale Goddard's book, "Performance Rock Climbing",
Image

And

Arno Ilgner's " Rock Warrior's Way"
Image


Are all about that stuff, Rob.
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Postby bird » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:07 pm

http://www.thebodyhasamindofitsown.com/
Heard interesting discussion with the author on NPR. Might be worth a look.
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Postby RayMondo » Mon Nov 09, 2009 12:09 pm

rhyang. That's very interesting. I expect that most of us have experienced that mid-waking state. It can be a great zone to be in. Sometimes you can float in it for quite some time, you get a mergence of great subconscious power come out into the conscious. There's a whole lot that goes on in the subconscious when we are asleep, and some of the greatest artists, composers and innovators tap into it. Sleep, in relation to the mind, serves the purpose of filing and organising our thoughts and embeds the patterns that we create when awake. In as much we are what we eat, we are more - what we think. For that experience, you should believe in it, and realise that you were seeing yourself, not as you were, but how you want to be. It means that you have now overcome any old fears or are on the road to doing so.

In dream, if one is experiencing running yet being held back, or have a bungee cord pulling you - etc, this is a manifestation of trying to escape from something that troubles them. Eventually, one can break it - either the dream or the real-life situation which go hand-in-hand.

Outside of sleep, visualisation is a powerful tool used in numerous therapies, and as you say, sports (referred to as "motor imagery" in the link above). I've used it and still do. This visualisation enables me to create and reinforce physical actions that I use in sport for a particular shot that I'm trying to learn. Though it all boils down to one thing - keep thinking the same thoughts - bad or good, and you will go in that direction.

To create and embed the things you want to achieve, start with a daily 5 mins relax in a noise-free place. Call it meditation - where you do not try to suppress thoughts, just let all the junk come out, then the mind will settle. Then in that state do the visualising. What will happen is that in any situation of tranquillity, the association will emerge and it will become a regular thought pattern, so any negativity will be gone. It's really just programming. And the body's physical state will follow. I am in the process of retraining both my mind and body, though do not treat them as separate. I intend to re-engage in a competitive sport, where I twice entered the "Zone", I ran on autopilot. Such a tremendous experience.
http://fasthing.blogspot.com/2008/08/fa ... smash.html

The one phrase that I threw out of my life is - used to be. There is only "going to be" and "I am".
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Postby rhyang » Mon Nov 09, 2009 7:50 pm

RayMondo wrote:keep thinking the same thoughts - bad or good, and you will go in that direction


Thanks everyone, sounds like the beginnings of a good winter reading list :)

The words above sound a lot like what motorcyclists are taught - when you are steering, look where you want to go .. a different process of course, but a familiar idea.
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Postby bird » Mon Nov 09, 2009 9:04 pm

rhyang wrote:
RayMondo wrote:keep thinking the same thoughts - bad or good, and you will go in that direction


Thanks everyone, sounds like the beginnings of a good winter reading list :)

The words above sound a lot like what motorcyclists are taught - when you are steering, look where you want to go .. a different process of course, but a familiar idea.

Same thing with powder skiing. Look at the open spaces...not the trees!
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Postby ShortTimer » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:11 am

When I was learning to snow ski, every fall I would be better than I was at the end of the previous spring. My mind and body had time to process what it had learned and I had time to visualize how I wanted to ski and kept coming closer to that as each summer passed.
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Postby RayMondo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 9:58 am

ShortTimer wrote:When I was learning to snow ski, every fall I would be better than I was at the end of the previous spring. My mind and body had time to process what it had learned and I had time to visualize how I wanted to ski and kept coming closer to that as each summer passed.


When I went snowboarding "every fall" hurt my butt so bad I turned to skis - what I did was just watch them and then feel like I'd be doing the same. It worked great and I could turn and get speed without even thinking. And I've never crashed out. In snowboarding, I guess I hadn't got my head around having my feet tied to a single board.
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Postby CClaude » Wed Nov 11, 2009 2:24 pm

ShortTimer wrote:When I was learning to snow ski, every fall I would be better than I was at the end of the previous spring. My mind and body had time to process what it had learned and I had time to visualize how I wanted to ski and kept coming closer to that as each summer passed.


I had mentioned it in something that I was writing an article on training. Several sources have discussed the values of taking a rest break from a specific activity. One of the benefits is that as you learn an activity you develop neuromuscular connections to allow you to do specific movements without having to think about it (ie: think about walking or skiing) and are called engrams or schemas. As you learn the movements you also learn movements that aren't efficient. During the rest phase your body eliminates those schemas/engrams that are not efficient.

Hence after a time off from a specific activity you are more efficient at it.

For me I'll usually take 2-3wks off each year (usually late november/early december) from climbing and ski or bike/run, find a beach to chill on....... When I return from my break my fitness won't be as good (but it returns rapidly) but I climb stuff I was doing just before the end of my break since I'm more efficient.
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Postby The Chief » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:31 pm

Great point CC and Shorty.

Dale Goddard speaks of this "Rest Break" in depth in Chapt 6 of his great book.

He even shares in terms of "year/s" with absolutely no mental or physical activity with the discipline/activity in question. This allows for a complete filtering out of noise within the engram tool box. Then returning to find oneself stronger and more precise, engram specific wise.

Very interesting concept that I have found actually works.
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Postby RayMondo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 3:38 pm

CClaude wrote:
ShortTimer wrote:When I was learning to snow ski, every fall I would be better than I was at the end of the previous spring. My mind and body had time to process what it had learned and I had time to visualize how I wanted to ski and kept coming closer to that as each summer passed.


I had mentioned it in something that I was writing an article on training. Several sources have discussed the values of taking a rest break from a specific activity. One of the benefits is that as you learn an activity you develop neuromuscular connections to allow you to do specific movements without having to think about it (ie: think about walking or skiing) and are called engrams or schemas. As you learn the movements you also learn movements that aren't efficient. During the rest phase your body eliminates those schemas/engrams that are not efficient.

Hence after a time off from a specific activity you are more efficient at it.

For me I'll usually take 2-3wks off each year (usually late november/early december) from climbing and ski or bike/run, find a beach to chill on....... When I return from my break my fitness won't be as good (but it returns rapidly) but I climb stuff I was doing just before the end of my break since I'm more efficient.


That's a great piece of info. I also found that after rest or a break, I flowed. Must be that the neurons have set up the new connections and the programming laid down.
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Postby ksolem » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:05 pm

I hope you guys are right about this "rest break" thing. That means in another month or so I am going to be one hell of a climber. 8)

For me visualization works in at least two different ways.

There is the sort of pre-programming, or planning ahead visualization like what Rob is describing. Mental preparation, in a sense. For climbing I might engage in this to rehearse a sequence of moves or just to get into the flow, to make myself aware of what I will need to do when I get there.

Visualization also can be powerful right in the moment when you are in action as well. In the moment, you see the movement in your minds eye and the body follows. This connection of mind and body while moving is essential for dancers and athletes who need to develop very high quality movement.

Exercise techniques such as advanced Pilates, Feldenkrais, martial arts, etc., which involve learning choreography and very specific moves while training are good for developing this aspect of visualization.
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Postby Guyzo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 4:30 pm

ksolem wrote:I hope you guys are right about this "rest break" thing. That means in another month or so I am going to be one hell of a climber. 8)

For me visualization works in at least two different ways.

There is the sort of pre-programming, or planning ahead visualization like what Rob is describing. Mental preparation, in a sense. For climbing I might engage in this to rehearse a sequence of moves or just to get into the flow, to make myself aware of what I will need to do when I get there.

Visualization also can be powerful right in the moment when you are in action as well. In the moment, you see the movement in your minds eye and the body follows. This connection of mind and body while moving is essential for dancers and athletes who need to develop very high quality movement.

Exercise techniques such as advanced Pilates, Feldenkrais, martial arts, etc., which involve learning choreography and very specific moves while training are good for developing this aspect of visualization.



Don't know what you mean "to be" ..... hang in there.

Just before I try to do a boulder problem, or a crux sequence, that I have attempted before, I run all the moves through my head.... all of them. If I can't visualize those moves I most likely will not be successful.

When I am going to try something for the first time the visualization is different:

#1 Do not visualize the bad things like falling, the gear pulling and getting smashed into 1,000 pieces.

#2 Push fear right out of your brain.

#3 See yourself as being a tuned up "climbing machine"


This all works for me in till, that overhanging 3/4 inch 5.12 crack spits me off into the wild blue yonder.
:? :? :? :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :lol: :lol: :lol: :wink:
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Postby JHH60 » Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:34 pm

I've found visualization to be useful in overcoming mental blocks, particularly nagging fear, when doing something that was stressful and dangerous and/or involved serious ego threat, but that also required mental focus and avoidance of fear or distraction to do successfully. Each time it has been very helpful in maintaining focus and reducing fear.

The first time I tried this was on the deepest and most dangerous wreck dive I had done up to that time (my first dive on the wreck of the Andrea Doria) but I also used it successfully when I was nervous about running my first marathon, in a difficult but important certification class where I wasn't sure I would pass, and on big committing climbs.
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Postby RayMondo » Wed Nov 11, 2009 5:56 pm

ksolem wrote:...Visualization also can be powerful right in the moment when you are in action as well. In the moment, you see the movement in your minds eye and the body follows. This connection of mind and body while moving is essential for dancers and athletes who need to develop very high quality movement...


This could be termed being in the "Zone", or "Flow State" as researched by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi in his book Flow in Sports. Here the conscious is making the decision whilst the subconscious has total control of the motor functions - in other words full autopilot. You get a similar thing if falling, where things go into slow-motion. I've twice been in the Zone in sport. There is a particular frequency of brainwave associated with it.
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