Research > Research Inventory > Sports Psychology: Route Preview

Role of route previewing strategies on climbing fluency and exploratory movements*

AUTHOR: L. Seifert, R. Cordier, D. Orth, Y. Courtine, JL Croft | Year: 2017
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Researchers tested eight inexperienced and ten experienced climbers on a route for the effect of 4 previewing strategies on climbing technique (specifically “fluency”).  The strategies involved sequencing in small chunks, or blocks, zigzagging from left to right, ascending from bottom to top, and fragmentary viewing across different sections.  Fluency is a mix of spatial (exploratory vs. performance-related movements), and time-related (immobility amount) measures, and a combination of the two (jerk of the hips).  Authors ultimately found multiple conclusions: a role for route preview in (a) reducing anxiety, (b) use of holds in order to figure out potential opportunities for action, and (c) how to chain movements together. They also found a relationship between preview for a shorter period of time and greater fluency (specifically the “hip jerk” measure). Additionally, the more complex route preview strategies (block sequencing and zigzag) were associated with maintaining a stationary position. Beta-Angel note: The amount of conclusions in this article defies a short summary.  I recommend a close read.
Beta-Angel note2: See “the usage of eye-tracking technologies in rock-climbing” for more about the ideal type of route preview strategy.
REFERENCE: PLoS ONE 12(4): e0176306 (2017)
http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article/file?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0176306&type=printable

The usage of eye-tracking technologies in rock-climbing

AUTHOR: AI Grushko, SV Leonov | Year: 2014
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Twenty three elite young rock climbers were tested for a hypothesis that differences in route preview, as measured by eye-tracking behavior, depend on the difficulty of routes. The authors state that the hypothesis was confirmed, and that a style of route previewing called “sequence of blocks” was most effective, whereby climbers gradually look over a route in blocks of 2-4 handholds or footholds from beginning to end, paying particular attention to crux moves. Beta-Angel note: “Role of route previewing strategies on climbing fluency and exploratory movements” builds off this work.
REFERENCE: Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences, V 146, 25 (2014) 169 – 174
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1877042814047296

Efficacy of pre-ascent climbing route visual inspection in indoor sport climbing

AUTHOR: Sanchez X1Lambert PJones GLlewellyn DJ | Year: 2012
SUMMARY/RESULTS: Examination of the efficacy of pre-ascent visual inspection. 29 male climbers of intermediate, advanced, and expert categories climbed two indoor sport routes matching (1) ability level and (2) below ability level assessed in terms of output and form. Results indicate that pre-ascent visual inspection is not helpful when it comes to completion of climb. However, it is helpful when it comes to form (as measured by number of stops, and duration of stops). Expert climbers benefited most from route preview in terms of form.
REFERENCE: Scand J Med Sci Sports. 2012 Feb;22(1):67-72. 
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20561271