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Justen Sjong, How to Read a Route, Part 2

Ok, the Sensei told us the first part of How to Read a Route, which involved "Previewing," so what comes next? Rehearsal. WARNING: One must be moderately in touch with emotions in order to practice rehearsal. (We know that can be difficult for some people. 😜) Read on!

We sit down with Justen Sjong and turn on the iPhone recorder. He picks up the device and says loudly into the microphone: "Siri? Turn this off." We think he's kidding so we carry on. Here's what we discussed:

Previously, we talked about factual, non-emotional steps. They were logical progressions in How to Read a Route, quickening (or slowing) a pace, identifying the hands and feet, etc. 
Rehearsal, aka choreographing, is more how to emphasize the notes. How can you emphasize these moments of the climb, and highlight them with emotion, thereby making your performance better?
Pictured: Nick Foster being belayed by Sjong, definitely
display of emotions
The step before rehearsal (previewing) we talked aboutidentifying where the line goes and previewing the first 15, then 30 feet. In rehearsal, we ask, 'can I feel with my body movement where the line goes?' You don't need to memorize it, but in the rehearsal, you want to remember how it feels. How it goes 'here,' and 'there.' 
We also discussed the crux in previewing.  During rehearsal, instead of merely noting the crux, we further explore the negative feeling you might encounter there, and how to counter it. To do that, you have to be honest about how you might feel during that crux section. 
Maybe it's not fear, per se, but let's say someone is groping a hold, they're wishing it was better, thinking, 'I wish it was better, I wish it was better.' That behavior starts to escalate and get out of control. To counter that, one can accpet and think, 'Okay, this hold is as good as it gets, and I wish this hold was better but it's not, and I need to deal with it.' 
Be aware of your emotions and prepare for them. You can also prepare for 'that hold is further than I want, so I will have to be more dynamic even though I prefer static movement and lockoffs.' 
‍Sjong, counteracting fears of the crux with this facial expression
So at the crux, When is it hard, what might it feel like when you actually try? What would a spectator see? What would he or she hear? A game face? When you're rehearsing on the ground, bring the expression and emotion that would happen on the wall.
Part of Previewing was learning to see the options. In rehearsal, you want to mentally prepare for the process of reeling it back in, if you get confused. Rehearse chilling out, and imagine the solution. 
Think about your tempo. Is it crisp? Upbeat? Meditative? What is your mindset during your ideal pace?  Whatever it is, choreograph it from the ground and make it part of your performance. 
During the reflection process: Reflect on what just happened. Did you hit certain notes in that last performance really well? Which do you want to continue to enhance? 
Sjong with the thinking-face-for-rehearsal-phase
Your effort should be a story. You're expressing your experience, and someone should be able to tell you how you're feeling and what you're solving and what's going through your mind. All in all, rehearsal enhances your performance. (Pause.) Siri? Turn this off. 

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