Hidden Talent

I was out last night enjoying the delights of Castell Helen, and only caught the backend of the Hidden Talent show, so watched it on 4oD this morning. I have to say that it was an interesting watch, although we saw less of the psychological side than I was expecting. I did have a look at the forums on UKC, and there were at least three threads, among which were the usual UKC comments.

Inparticular, people noticed that Tryfan has seen another reassessment of its height to 3000m, and the Old Man of Stoer was now one of the toughest rock climbs in the UK. I guess if we want to see climbing in the mainstream media then we have to allow the producers ‘artistic’ licence, as editors and media types probably don’t know the difference between feet and metres. Similarly the amount of threads on UKC about the UK grading systems shows that most climbers don’t understand our grading system, so why should a non climbing TV type! At least the climbing on this program was more ‘real’ than that Bear Grylls advert that is doing the rounds on the internet.

What this program really captured for me is both Maggie’s ability to remain calm, something which I imagine working as a nurse she has developed over time organically. Similarly her almost instant appreciatation of climbing made for interesting watching. Knowing that she now enjoys our sport is something of a testiment to both her and the coaches that have worked with her.

Inparticular Martin Chester, although she did a few courses with different instructors over the duration of her training. If you watched the program then for me the finale really captured something that as a coach I find the most rewarding thing. The vicarious joy of seeing a student you have nurture succeed at something that both you and they have been working towards.

What it shows I think isn’t neccessarily Natural Talent though, but the right attitude. Maggie entered into the process open and enthusiastic, and immersed herself in the activity. As a result she was rewarded with reaching the summit of the Old Man of Stoer. What I am about to say should take nothing away from her achievements, she was fantastic, and showed true climbing grit for someone with only a few weeks training.

The but though echos the thoughts from my last post of nature versus nurture. A nobel prise winner came up with the 10 years or 10000 hour rule of becoming the best in any thing, from sport to business. He also talked about those years or hours being full of deliberate practice, and thats where the coaching comes in. Rock climbing coaches are great at helping you develop that deliberate practice, and can accellerate the learning.

Now being both a coach and someone who has climbed the Old Man of Stoer, I think that there are many people who could achieve a similar end result in the same time frame. I can think of several examples from my coaching, who if they had the same mentoring as Maggie would have been able to climb the Old Man of Stoer. Why? Well at VS the route has one very hard section (We see Martin lead this first bit and Maggie struggle a bit in the rain), and the rest is considerably tamer, albeit totally wild position.

We have to remember though this was a form of light entertainment, and the producers had to tell a story. Albeit hammed up by interesting sound bites. If you are interested you can take the appitude test on the Hidden Talent website. If you’d like to get into climbing, and want someone to mentor you through your learning then you can find out more about my rock climbing coaching courses here. I have and apparently I do have an apptitude for rock climbing, but not for finding liars. Although I recognise a few of teh questions from various psychometric inventories, so maybe I skewed the results!

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