I'm just gonna get it out of the way right now... this particular case study is almost like cheating. My goal is to recruit 3 people for these informal studies: One relative beginner, one average climber who's bumped into a ceiling, and one above average climber who only needs direction. I'm starting with the latter.
Allow me to introduce Case Study #1, Taylor Frohmiller.
Name: Taylor Frohmiller
6, with a full year off because of shoulder surgery.
Preferred type of climbing (sport, trad, boulder, etc…):
I used to only boulder, but after i actually discovered the red and started working at rockquest i mostly just sport climb now.
12d "Stunning the Hog." Took me 3 tries.
Hardest Redpoint in the last 12 months:
12c "Jesus Wept"
Hardest Redpoint that you've done 5 or more of:
Hardest Boulder Problem:
Hardest Boulder Problem you've done 5 or more of:
Consistent onsight level (75% success):
11d or c
Number of days climbing outside monthly:
Probably like 5 or 7 if I'm lucky.
Area visited most frequently:
The Red by far, but also Rocktown, Stone Fort, Horse Pens 40, the New
What are your goals in climbing? (numbers, specific climbs, etc…):
I would like to climb 5.13 consistently... or just one would be nice. Maybe "Beer Belly", "The
Force", or "Spank"; those are the first that come to mind.
How much time are you able to devote to training? (days per week, hours per day) Be honest and don’t overextend yourself. Only commit to what you KNOW you can do.
2 to 3 days a week, usually 2 and then one day of "fun" climbing in the gym or at the Red.
Around 3 to 4 hours at a time.
What do you feel are your biggest strengths in climbing (hold type, angle, endurance, power, techniques, mental performance, planning, etc…)?
Steep, Pinchy, Powerful, Short. I have decent route reading skills and I have good contact strength. The fact that I cant get enough of climbing. And all my strength from my curly hair...
What do you feel are your most limiting factors?
Aside from what you and Sarah call my 'lack of try hard', my body is a huge limiting factor, specifically my right shoulder. I've been going to physical therapy along with training which has helped a ton with my joint stability. My long term limiting factor is my nerves. I wouldn't call it a leadhead, but I always seem to psyche myself out of thinking I'm able to do something. I turn it into a comp or something and don't 'just climb'.
Alright, a little more background info... I first met Taylor several years ago when he was on the Cincinnati Slopers climbing team. I've climbed with him indoors quite a bit, and outdoors on several occasions, and as I'm a constant observer, I'm pretty damned familiar with his climbing. That's the first reason why I feel like I'm cheating.
Reason #2 is that Taylor has, in my opinion, always had all the tools necessary to climb at a high level... he just needed a little direction and refinement. His assessment of his strengths are almost dead on. His power and contact strength are far beyond what his bouldering level indicates. In his assessment of his weaknesses, however, he leaves out a few key elements. His tactics, both on route and throughout a day of climbing were completely undeveloped. While he is quite good at climbing powerfully, his bag of tricks didn't extend very far beyond that. He grew up as mostly a gym climber, and his style and skills were a reflection of that. With outdoor experience limited, he'd never been forced to adapt to a new skill set. Also because of this gym upbringing, Taylor had never learned to recover (on route) the way an outdoor route climber needs to, and upon getting pumped, his powerful techniques turned into a foot-cutting, body-sagging mess.
These easy to overlook, but important components of Taylor's game, along with his admitted "nerves" were what we set out to attack with the initial program I wrote for him. In Part 2 of this Case Study, we'll take a look at the training program we set up, and the thought process I went through to arrive at this particular plan of attack.