Power of Reflective Practice

Power of Reflective Practice

A guy who should have used reflective practice but didn't
Reflective Practice – Make Progress not Confusion!


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In this article I am going to discuss Reflective Practice and its important roll in climbing progression.

Many of you won’t have heard of this term before. I guarantee that you will have used it both in your personal and work life at some time. How many times have you said or done something and looked back afterwards and thought how well or badly it went? Then thought about how you could have improved things? Well that is Reflective Practice.

An example could be at work where you have to deal with a difficult person. You could carry on with things how they are. But more likely you will mull the situation over, try to understand it better and then try out a new approach. If that doesn’t work you mull it some more and try a different approach and a different approach. Then we go on and on until the problem is solved. Either that or you find yourself unemployed for beating the other person to a pulp!

But Seriously, What is Reflective Practice?

Reflective Practice is a way of learning from past experiences that are then used to improve performance. Now doesn’t that sound just right to fit into our climbing progression and indeed it does. So lets now consider our climbing and how Reflective Practice can help make us become a better climber.

Take this scenario. You have been climbing for 3 years and have steadily risen through the grades. Maybe to an on-sight grade of French 6a and a red-point grade of French 6b+. But then have been stuck at this level for the last year with no progression. Having been told by our super duper climbing mates that it’s our lack of endurance, lack of strength, etc, etc. We have tried putting these things right, but nothing has really worked. We are going around in circles and getting more and more despondent!

Now believe it or not that is the average grade range that British climbers get stuck at and get stuck at forever. Oh, by the way, continental climbers don’t get stuck there, but thats another story!


Climber failing and falling so he could now use reflective practice to improve.
Reflective Practice – Why Can’t I do That Move?


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Now lets bring in Reflective Practice to mix and instead of just sitting at our forever grade we try and find out what the problem is, how we might improve it. We then put these improvements into action and then review the outcome.

There are Three Steps to our Climbing Reflective Practice

1 – We think about our climbing and write down the good and bad points. Such as I don’t like going above the clip, great at small crimps, rubbish at slopers, I run out of energy half way up a route and have to go on the rope, you get the idea. But it is imperative that you are totally open with your answers, its the only way. From this you will have drawn up a list of what needs improving. Then in your climbing you can concentrate on those areas.

2 – We plan and do the training. Now it is time to explore how you are going to improve these areas. You may go it alone and there is plenty of material in the form of books. On-line at the Jurassic Climbing Academy website has some great training instruction. You may decide that you want more direct help with your training and employ the services of a coach such as myself. You also need to decide on how you are going to get feedback from your new training strategy. This could be as simple as a noticed grade increase, your peers comments on your improvement, before and after video or from your coach if you employed one.

3 – We reflect on our climbing. Look at what you now know about your climbing, what have you learnt. After my training what am I now good at and where am I still lacking. Where do I need the training to continue, what other ares of my climbing need improvement.

Continuing the Use of Reflective Practice

So there you have the three steps of climbing reflective practice. Of course once you have completed them you will need to once again reflect on your improved climbing with reflective practice to improve further. And so reflective practice becomes cyclic!

The same climber having made some reflective practice and then improvements to succeed.
Reflective Practice – I learnt, I trained, I Improved!


Well thats it, give climbing reflective practice a try and see how it works for you, then please come back to us with your results and feedback. If you need any help with your reflective practice, training plans or coaching then please go to our website at www.jurassicclimbing.co.uk where you will find loads of advice and other help available.

From myself and all at Jurassic Climbing Academy thank you for reading and see you again soon. Good climbing!

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