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Self-Coached Climber: The Guide to Movement, Training, Performance Paperback – February 17, 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 87 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Dan Hague is an 18-year veteran in the indoor climbing industry who has built and managed 4 climbing gyms, the latest in central Virginia. He also consults with gym operators and sits on the Climbing Wall Association's Board of Directors. He is an avid climber, winning his division of the Triple Crown Bouldering Series in 2010. Douglas Hunter was a full-time climber and coach for 10 years, during which time he trained many elite climbers and was a top level sport climber. He now lives and climbs in Southern California, where he continues to develop new training methodology.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books; Pap/DVD edition (February 17, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811733394
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811733397
  • Product Dimensions: 7.2 x 0.4 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (87 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #24,292 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This makes "Performance Rock Climbing" completely obsolete (great in it's day, way outdated now). And it blows "Training for Climbing" away with better content on movement training and a DVD that brings it all together. The authors have clearly put a lot of time and research into this book -- it's technical but very readable.

This is a must-have for anyone serious about hard rock. BUT it has zero content about nutrition or injury prevention and recovery; serious oversights that are covered best in "Climbing: Training for Peak Performance" (a great book but more for alpine climbers and weekend rock warriors). For example, it doesn't warn how easy it is to hurt an ACL doing a drop knee or even discuss an A2 pulley injury. And you really can't climb at your best if you aren't eating well. Despite these short-comings, Self-Coached Climber rocks!
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Format: Paperback
Training to climb is very sport specific. That is..... there is ample evidence that cross training to climb is not useful. For example being able to do 100 pull ups is probably not going to enhance your climbing ability much. Perhaps the only exception to this rule once you reach a certain level of climbing, is "reading" to climb. I must stress that without a certain baseline climbing experience reading about HOW to climb is not going to help you . However, as you excel you will find yourself plateauing. This is when mentoring will be of greatest benefit. Most cannot afford to be mentored by an experienced climber so you do the next best thing....mentor by proxy...you read a book.

In this regard, this book is one of the best "mentors" around. It takes you from your current plateaued level of climbing into an exponential phase of improvement. The book explains climbing by looking at movement which is composed of space, time, force and balance, efficiency of movement and psychology of movement. After explaining these topics the author gives specific exercises to improve these aspects of climbing.

The author then integrates these concepts into a coherent training schedule by first identifying your current level of performance in actual climbing. He then spells out what you should be doing at that level of climbing to progress to the next level. I particularly appreciated this part of the book.

For example let's say your current level of climbing is 5.10. He gives you a detailed training schedule of how to improve your level of climbing to 5.11. He holds your hand telling you how to warm and for how long, what bouldering problems to do, what climbs to do and how to do them, how to train both aerobically and anaerobically. Detailed training is provided to the 5.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"The Self-Coached Climber" is an excellent training resource for climbers at just about any level. I bought the book recently and before even finishing reading it, I started seeing improvements in my technique from working on the exercises.

In contrast to other books like "How to Climb 5.12," SCC is highly detailed and specific in its approach to improving fundamentals like balance, center of gravity and movement skills. The book provides excellent exercises for particular skills, and these are illustrated with abundant photos and/or drawings that show how the exercise should be done. Additionally, videos on the accompanying DVD can clarify any confusion with the exercises. Finally, a detailed training plan is presented for developing the stamina, strength and technique needed to move up in the climbing grades.

I think it's worth noting that while this is billed as a "self-coached" training book, some of the exercises can't be done without a partner. In fact, working with an equally-motivated partner through the course of the book would probably be the ideal approach.

I believe "The Self-Coached Climber" is a perfect companion piece to Arno Ilgner's mental training book "The Rock Warrior's Way" for anyone wanting to become a better and more confident climber.
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Format: Paperback
Pluses:

This is an impressive and comprehensive guide to understanding and improving your climbing. It is my favorite book on climbing technique. (Unfortunately, there isn't much decent competition. Niche, meet potential audience). There are some great movement exercises that I've found very useful in my training (the particularly the traversing and turning section). The authors worked incredibly hard and put together a book that is well worth the cost, even without the DVD. The DVD that's included is worth the price of the book itself, as it's extremely concise, well organized, and clear.

Minuses:

The title is wrong. This is essentially a textbook written for experienced climbers, or better, for people teaching climbing to experienced climbers. For the lay reader, it is far too dense and jargon-y. The intrasport climbing jargon is always frustrating enough (who makes this stuff up?), and then layer on kinesiology and physics, and...oof. Not an easy read. The overall organizational structure is not that effective (too much theory up front) and some of the instructions seem rushed and are difficult to follow. As a self-coaching guide, it would have been more effective with less theory and more technique and training. Overall, the book is written for someone climbing in the high 5.11s and up - the initial examples are for people climbing around 5.12. There are a few later examples for those of us climbing in the 10s (yes, that's me and that's my bias), but they seem a little tacked on. I would like the glossary to be much more thorough, but again, there is an assumption that the reader already knows quite a bit about the subject.

Overall:

This is the best reference book on climbing technique that I have ever read. By far.
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