The Training Camp Effect
Leaving your comfort zone is not an easy task, but if you can manage it, there are great gains to be had.
In speed climbing, the route you get on is always the same. It has to be. It's about who can do this one route the fastest. Anywhere you go in the world, if there's a speed wall, it will have this same route on it.
When you're on a National Team for speed climbing, you have the typical qualification process - locals, provincials or regionals, nationals, however there's an added component of minimum speed times which, even if you win any one of these events, could prevent you from moving forward.
Nonetheless, at every event along the way all the way to World Cups and World Championships, the route is the same.
When you're on a National Team for speed, you often get together with other speed climbers in your country for training camps. The national federation chooses a gym with a speed wall and invites everyone there for a week or so. It's the same wall they're used to, but now you can watch, learn, and collaborate with other speed climbers at your level. It's by all accounts a great opportunity.
Our coach is a former speed climber from the Czech Republic. He often gets contracted by other nations' speed teams to host training camps for their athletes. He'll go to their gym and watch their athletes, give advice, and act as an interim coach for the week. I visited him in Victoria, Canada a few weeks ago when he told me something as we were chatting on the way to the gym. It caught my attention. He told me that the Austrian team wanted him to host a training camp for their speed athletes - in Spain.