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Improving movement memory (any dancers out there?)
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By Rajiv Ayyangar
From Portland, ME
Nov 27, 2012
Cut! Sadly my flash attempt met with dismal pump-f...
Mark E Dixon wrote:
Quick answer- worked routes a lot maybe 10 years ago, just started climbing outdoors again about a year ago, haven't worked anything more than maybe 5 burns over 2 days recently. Never felt anywhere near "flow".


I would be really psyched if I could reach "flow" so quickly. On projects that are difficult for me, I typically feel like I'm blundering through the moves until maybe the 5th or 6th day of work. I have one project that I've been on for about 30 days and ~100 burns over the last two years, and some of the sections are just starting to flow.

Since we're talking movement memory here, consecutive days will get you there faster than days spread out over a week. And multiple burns in a day will have more effect than a few burns spread over consecutive days. A good example is a game of "add-on" where multiple repetitions of a short boulder problem in a single session can produce a surprising "dialling" effect.

Do you have warmups that you've climbed enough to feel fluent on them?

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By JCM
From Seattle, WA
Nov 28, 2012
Mark E Dixon wrote:
Quick answer- worked routes a lot maybe 10 years ago, just started climbing outdoors again about a year ago, haven't worked anything more than maybe 5 burns over 2 days recently. Never felt anywhere near "flow".


I think that route/movement memory is a skill that develops with practice and goes away with neglect. If you spend a lot of time climbing on beta-intensive routes, you'll get better at "learning" a route quickly. This is not different from how climbing endurance routes will build your endurance; the brain is a muscle like any other (well, not really, but you get the analogy).

I spent a long time as a trad/osnight climber. When I first started climbing at sport crags and redpointing, I was amazed at the beta memory that the more seasoned redpoint climbers has. This seemed especially true of people who climbed a lot at Rifle; they were beta machines! Then, as I started redpointing more--and climbing at Rifle--I got a lot better at remembering complicated sequences. It is all about practice.

So, short of taking ballet classes, I'd say that the best bet is to really focus on routes that make your really learn complicated sequences. Spending some time out at Rifle, due to its complicated sequences, would be a good start.

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