Monday 7 December 2009

9 out of 10 climbers is here (soon)

Our stock of my book 9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes is printed and currently being shipped to us. So in a week or so (our highland address always seems to bring out the worst in delivery companies) we’ll be sending copies out. We’ve just put it up for pre-order in the shop now. I know some of you are after a copy in time for Christmas and so it should be in plenty of time. We are dispatching around 11.30am every day until Christmas, worldwide.

I’m very happy to see it out and I’m pleased with it as a representation of much of what I’ve learned in 16 years of study in climbing improvement. It’s always been a big satisfaction in my climbing life to take what I’ve learned from sport science and half my life observing, experimenting, and measuring every last thing that makes climbers climb better. I’m expecting that the ideas in it will polarise a few readers. It does attack some of the fashions in the sport of climbing, and the wider world of sport and improvement that are working in the wrong direction for improvement. Engrained habits die hard and folk don’t let go of them easily. So I’m quite direct. Expect some further discussion of the details of the book over on my climbing coach blog as the reactions come in.

Some more info on what’s contained in it is on it’s page in the shop and you can get an order in here now if you are keen to read it. For now though, here is the list of contents so you can get a feel for the information thats in it.

9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes: navigation through the maze of advice for the self-coached climber


9 out of 10 climbers make the same mistakes
Barking up the wrong tree

Part 1 - Creatures of habit
Stuck on the basics
The first thing to understand
The first thing to change
Fail, and prepare to succeed
If only I knew now what I knew then
Too embarrassed to climb?
Is this grade a success or mediocre?
The first generation was the freest
Starting from scratch
The truth about famous climbers
Know your enemy - your tastes
Don’t get stuck
Creatures of habit

Part 2 - The big four: movement technique, finger strength, endurance, body mass
The biggest lesson from sport science
You cannot break the laws
How to learn technique
Record, replay, review
No one does drills, right?
The structure of climbing technique
The need for momentum
Types of momentum
The issue of height
Don’t just push with your feet!
Counterintuitive aspects of climbing technique
Precision really matters
Trying to make the hold bigger
Don’t overrate strength
Bouldering is number one
But I don’t like bouldering!
How to boulder to show off, or get strong
Board heads
A good bouldering session
Fingerboard rules
To crimp or not to crimp
Making sense of Haston and Oddo
Making sense of Ondra and Sharma shapes
How light do I need to be?
How to get light without pain?
Steps for losing and maintaining a lower weight for climbing
Who needs to pump iron to climb hard?
To the wiry
To the beefcake
To the tall
To the lucky little ones
When you really can blame your tools
Campus boards hurt almost everyone
Climbing is not a cardiovascular sport
Where is climbing endurance?
Endurance activities
Understanding fatigue symptoms
Endurance rules

Part 3 - Fear of falling: the real problem, probably…
The only way
Falling technique
Practice indoors
Practice on sport climbs
Building falls into your daily climbing diet
Practice on trad
When you just can’t fall off

Part 4 - The other big four: attitude, lifestyle, circumstances, tactics
I’m young, spoon-feed me!
Why mid-teens drop off the radar
“I can’t do that” he said, mistakenly
Too old to improve?
To find time, make your time work harder for you
Do you really want to be an athlete?
Tactics often trump training
What the warmup does
Tuning in and out
Managing the ‘psyche’ level
Do you really want it to be easy?
Be thick skinned at all times
Does flexibility really matter?

Part 5 - What’s next coach? Planning your improvement
Think curves, not lines
So jump off that plateau, if you can bear it
Regimes - how much can you handle?
Over-resting or under-recovering? 
A kid’s regime
A student’s regime
A family/career hustler
The wannabe pro
The confused and disillusioned
Same old routine, same old results
Cracking bad habits is tough
Rules of the training day
Rules of the training season
Annual rest and recuperation time

Summing up


  1. Ordered mine. From the content list this nook looks like it's going to be incredibly practically helpful. Thanks for writing it!

  2. Just read the table of contents. I love this book already!

  3. Just read the table of contents and am now wondering whether the book is about climbing or about life.

    For example
    - The confused and disillusioned
    - Same old routine, same old results
    - Cracking bad habits is tough

    Best wishes with this project.


  4. i've definitely appreciated dave's input in the climbing scene, but what would be almost as appreciated is if he fleshed out a couple of the teaser hedings he put in. perhaps a little more input on the following?

    The First Thing to Understand. (heady title)

    The Truth About Famous Climbers (are we talking tabloid gossip, or what?)

    Fingerboard Rules

    How To Get Light Without Pain

    and finally, Making Sense Of Haston and Oddo

    this doesn't give away the whole book, right? but it might make me interested in buying it.


  5. Hey Dave, super stoked to read this book, thanks for putting the time in, brother, your hard work will pay dividends.

    What's next for you now that your book is done?

  6. To anonymous - The book is definitely about climbing, but improving at climbing goes fastest and farthest when the climbing fits well with many other parts of life. A lot of improving at sport is about setting up the right circumstances, attitudes and approaches to clear the path in front of you.

    To second anon. - ‘The first thing to understand’ section is about change in any aspect of your routine, be it massive (like your career or base) or miniscule. It describes how climbers and people in general deal with change or the possibility of it, and how this accelerates or stunts their progress.

    ‘The truth about famous climbers’ section is clears up a massive misunderstanding about top climbers that is extremely easy to make without seeing more than we normally get to.

    ‘Fingerboard rules’ is a comprehensive run down of good practice, routines and common errors in using fingerboards, who they help and in what circumstances, and how some simple errors kill off any potential benefits.

    ‘How to get light without pain’ refers to the correct way to lose weight to reach an ideal body composition without the constant hunger, frustration, dejection and ultimately failure that accompanies most attempts to adjust weight downwards.

    Haston is a very old (in athletic terms) climber performing at world class level and Oddo is an extremely young climber performing at a similar level. This doesn’t happen nearly so much in other sports. I’ve explained why it’s this way in climbing, and how you can take advantage of this.

  7. I need a translation for Italy: it could become our Bible!

    Good bye from Venice