Kick off To Comp Season: The UBC with Natasha Barnes
On Tuesday, August 3rd, Berkeley Ironworks will be projecting the Unified Bouldering Championships on the big screen. The live show, which will be streaming from the Outdoor Retailer show in Salt Lake City, will feature some of the best competition boulderers in the United States. Natasha Barnes, a San Francisco Mission local and Touchstone crusher, will be heading out to Salt Lake to compete. She'll be up against other professional climbers like Lisa Rands, Alex Puccio, and Angie Payne. She had a few tips about comp climbing- something to keep in mind for Touchstone's Bouldering Series 6 that will be coming to Ironworks on August 28th.
Usually a a month or two ahead I try to work on power endurance by doing as many problems as I can at my onsight level and repeating them. For example, I will go around the gym and do all the V5's-V6's and some of the V7's twice each until I've done all of them with very little rest in between. Basically I try to do a lot of climbing for the first few weeks. A few weeks before the competition I will start trying to onsight/redpoint the harder climbs at the gym especially those on the steeper walls. Once I've redpointed those I try to repeat them each time I come in to train. I also incorporate some supplemental training like hangboard, gymnastic rings, running, some specific weightlifting exercises (rotator cuff exercises etc. for injury prevention).
Natasha climbing at GWPC during one of the TBS comps.
What do you do for mental preparation- as far as pressure, crowds, and other distractions?
I've been doing comps for so long that I've become used to all of those things. I actually really enjoy the pressure to perform and the energy of the crowd. It isn't a distraction for me. I can remember at one of the last OR comps the announcer said over the loudspeaker something like 'If Alex Puccio doesn't onsight this problem, Alex Johnson wins!' and at some other comp something similar was said about Daniel Woods and Sean McColl. THAT would be distracting to know that one slip or one mistake will cost you the whole comp. That might be too much pressure. I don't think it's fair for the announcer to say something like that.
Natasha cranking down on plastic at a comp
What's the most important part to climb well at a comp?
Not worrying about how other people are climbing and to just do the best you can. It's really all you can do. Also, HAVE FUN! If you're not having fun then you're missing the point.
Watch Natasha keep at 3:30 live on the big screen at Berkeley Ironworks then get pysched and come compete at the TOuchstone Bouldering Series later in the month. It's gonna be awesome!