We ended the last installment with exercises for improving your agility. As you might remember, Agility has two major components, change of direction speed and cognition.
Change of direction speed is affected by both technical and physical factors.
The cognitive aspects include perception and decision making.
Perceptual and decision making processes associated with agility performance are trainable.
This installment of ideas to improve your climbing is about best practices of improving Perceptual and decision making processes.
Higher skilled climbers use the kinematic information from the environment and apply a motor response quicker and more accurately than lower skilled climbers.
The difference often already starts with the visual search behaviors occurring during pre-ascent inspections of a route or even an exercise and during the climb.
Focusing on functional vs structural features of an exercise or climb gives higher skilled climbers useful informational variables for action and helps to optimize perceptual-motor skills and climbing performance.
This link between the stimulus and motor response is often referred to as perception-action coupling.
It is a cycle in which Knowledge -> directs -> Exploration -> samples -> Environment -> modifies -> Knowledge and so on.
In the words of James Gibson, from whom this insight stems,
“We must perceive in order to move, but we must also move in order to perceive,”
The goal is to link body and environment through perception and action.
My hope with this installment is that the next time you struggle with finding a solution for a climb, you not only ask what is inside your head; but also ask what your head is inside of’!
“The problem in football is you learn how to play the wrong way round – first execution, then decision making & perception last. I’ve lost many top players because their head was on the ball. They were not seeing what was around them.“
– Arsene Wenger