Innsbruck European Championships 2015

The 2015 bouldering season kicked off with the first competition, the European Championships, held in Austria’s climbing capital Innsbruck.  Boy, don’t those guys know how to put on an event  Everything  from the venue, the organisation, the problems and the crowd – was amazing  In the lead up to this event I tried to focus on a couple of key areas that I felt needed some work: 

  • Flashing / first go psyche
  • Anaerobic fitness
  • Psychological

The one I felt I got the most gains from was my head.  As I’m by no means psyche expert, I tried to think about what makes the difference when I’m performing well. 

  • Physically fit (Feeling good physically)
  • Psyche 
  • Motivation 
  • Self belief 
  • Enjoyment

When all these elements are put in place not only do I climb well, but they help to feed each other.  Without psyche I wouldn’t have motivation, without motivation I wouldn’t be training and wouldn’t be feeling fit and so on.  And without enjoyment the rest would fall.  I climb at my absolute best when I’m enjoying myself.  Obvious really.  After that I thought about what has an effect on performance and what could I do about. 

  • Nerves 
  • Apprehension  
  • Intimidation 
  • Expectation

Nerves, everybody gets them.  What causes them?  Crowd, cameras, apprehension, not knowing what you are about to face.  What if I don’t do the bloc?  Then that leads to  “Intimidation”. “Oh my god this bloc was nails, what’s the next one going to be like?”  Or on the other hand intimidation could be “I’m sat here with the likes of Adam Ondra, Jakob Schubert, and the worlds best OMG”. You can see how this can evolve, before you know it the nerves have built up so much that you crack. Then there is expectation, “the more you expect the more you have to lose”.   But when I thought about it some more, what if we use expectation to our advantage. If you use expectation in the right way it can be used as a tool to help to control everything else. Simples!

So I started to play about with this. In the lead up to the season there were a couple big comps in the UK. Not only were these big showcase events, but they were also team selection events for the coming season.  The first was Super Bloc, held at the Outdoor Show In London’s Excel centre back in February. This was an Invitation only event with 20 of the UK’s best climbers. The comp was run in an IFSC semi-final format with 6 competitors through to a final.  Alongside the format, the event was likely to draw in a good-sized crowd so perfect training for the W/C season.  Based on previous experience, psyche levels and how I was feeling physically, I consciously thought about my expectations; that providing things went well on the day; I should be able to make it through to finals and have a chance of making podium.  Once that’d been put in place, I then thought about some controlling measures I could use to help with the other elements.  Looking at the starting list, I knew everyone on it and most of them pretty well.  Knowing that I could just think of the comp as a good session with a load of mates.  So there’s no real need to get intimidated.  With regards to the blocs I knew who the setters were going to be and am familiar with their style.  With all this firmly put in place there was only one thing to do.  Get out there and enjoy the comp.  And thats exactly what I did!  As competitions go the qualifiers were hard, with only 3 bonus’ getting you through to the final.  I got 4 bonus’ and went through in 5th place.


  Although getting through in 5th was a little uncomfortable, this put me in a good place for the final.  With no real added pressure of knowing how many blocs people had done and what I needed to do, I stayed relaxed throughout the final. Not only did I thoroughly enjoy it, but I met my expectation and made podium in third place. 


With Super Bloc under my belt, it was on to CWIF.  Now applying the same principles I started to plan for that.  Gauging on my performance at Super Bloc and how I was feeling, it would be a realistic expectation that I could make semi-finals.  And having made finals before, I didn’t think it would be unrealistic to make finals providing that I stayed relaxed and everything went right.  The difference with CWIF is that the field is a lot bigger and has a few foreign wads thrown in to the mix.  Again I went through the process of breaking it down.  The field was a lot bigger, but realistically it was going to be a similar field at the top end apart from a few euro wads.  But I had an advantage over them, I was on home turf.  Qualifiers went well and I was through to semi’s safely. This is where the pressure started to build a little.  But I managed to keep my cool and make it though to finals in 5th.

I ended up dropping a place in the final and came 6th overall, but considering the big names in the final I wasn’t too bothered.

So the psychological training is not only working, but it is actually paying off.  With all that in mind it was time for the European Champs

I went into Innsbruck with an open mind.  I was feeling pretty good in the lead up to the event and had nothing to lose.  As I said previously the blocs were really fun.  After a little bit of a nervy start I managed the first bloc on my 3rd attempt, which had a tricky jump across a slab. 

Bloc 2 was the hardest of the set for me.  I flashed it to the second from last movebut then couldn’t get passed this tricky move.  I managed to put bloc 2 behind me and went out for bloc 3 super psyched.  Fortunately, it suited me perfectly, a steep wall with powerful moves on crimps – I managed to flash it!  

Bloc 3 Photo - Mark Glenie

Bloc 3 Photo – Mark Glenie

Bloc 4 had a tricky jump out of a roof to a pinch which took me a few goes goes to stick.  I stuck it on my 3/4th try, but it wasn’t over It had a really powerful move up to a crimp and then a hard move to an undercut. After dropping the move to the undercut, I had enough time for one more go.  This time I caught the undercut, but only just.  All that was left was a big roll over to finish.  I hit the final hold, but didn’t quite have enough in the tank to hold it.  

Bloc 5 was a techy” wall.  It took me a couple of goes to find the right body position for the crux move, but once I found it,found the top on my 3rd try. 

Bloc 5 Photo - Mark Glenie

Bloc 5 Photo – Mark Glenie

Overall, I was really happy with my performance.  If I had just managed to stick the finish hold on Bloc 4 that would have put me in the semifinals.  The great thing is I am still learning loads.  I have taken a few things away with me to work on and am really looking forward to Toronto. 

We have one more training session planned tonight before we leave for Toronto & Vail in the morning.  Mike Langley and the Castle have been very generous and set the GB team a selection of World Cup style blocs for us to try tonight.  Looking forward to them 

I will try and keep things up to date on my Athlete page

Until next time. 



A BIG thanks to Highball Norwich for funding me this season. Without them I wouldn’t be competing this year. Also Thanks to Beyondhope & Climbskin


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