Beta Breakdown: Ninja Kick
What to Think About When Climbing.
I love this move! Swing outs with a precise ninja kick! Ian took a few slo-mo videos of me trying this individual move to really analyze my movement. I’ve been picking at it and here’s what I’ve come up with....
🌟 𝐕𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐨 𝟏: Definitely my fave. My hand hovers perfectly above the hand hold I’m jumping to giving me the time to curl my fingers on this slightly in-cut gem and tense my arms and back. My elbow moves ever so slightly to give me direct visibility of the foot hold so I can’t miss it! I hit the foot just how I wanted to. My toe just barely grazes the wall and hits the foot hold as close to the wall as possible, practically wedging it. My head requires a little bit more movement due to me not having great peripherals 🤓, but the timing seems to be spot on. I watch the foot hold until landing and then prepare for the next.
🥈𝐕𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐨 𝟐: Similar to the first, but my ninja kick aim was off. I definitely undershot the foot and ended up grazing the wall much longer than needed. Not horrible, but I don’t like it. To me, it’s sloppy and I have a problem of dragging my feet.
If you have big holes on the top of your climbing shoes like me, you know the feeling. Some would say that it is poor technique, but I believe it can be one of two reasons: 1.) You are not paying attention to foot placement (yes, poor technique) or 2.) you intentionally drag your feet to keep your hips and body close to the wall. Be aware of how you use your feet. Are you watching your foot until it catches the foot hold and maintaining "quiet feet" or are you desperately kicking the wall searching for a usable surface? You WILL plateau with sloppy footwork. I like to think I am the latter lol.
🥉𝐕𝐢𝐝𝐞𝐨 𝟑: Oof. I overshot the hand. Doesn’t look like much, but it definitely affected my swing out timing and the way I grabbed the hold which also caused me to flex my right arm even harder, wasting energy. Then, I goofed the foot and my body swung out and I had to tense up to stay on, wasting more precious energy.
Readjusting is usually a big no-no when learning to climb, but sometimes (rarely) it is completely necessary. A lot of people do it as a form of hesitation which can be a really bad habit and that's why climbing instructors teach sticky hands and sticky feet during the beginner/intermediate classes. This unconscious habit creates a constant shift in weight and tension which causes climbers to slip off or as I said above, waste energy. It may not affect your ability to do that specific move, but it can affect your strength higher up. Practicing sticky hands and sticky feet early on or (if you've been climbing for a while) focusing on this skill during your warm-ups will help in teaching your body this sort-of muscle memory.
All in all, I could still get the move in all 3 cases, but my goal is to always climb as efficiently and effortlessly as possible. Video 1 wins!!! 🏆