The common misconception of the average person is that climbing is comprised of using only your upper body strength at all time. But climbers of all kind, may they practice inside a gym or outside on a crag, know that it’s all about the proper use of your whole body. The advanced climbers, however, utilize this one, seamingly basic technique, that will differentiate them from the beginner: a great footwork.
During the climb, your body should ideally be shaped like a strong triangle: the bigger the base is, the steadier it is. Usually beginners struggle at the start because they still don’t trust their grip strength and their toes to support their weight. The inclination and height of the wall also add to the stress. For a proper footwork, you need to keep your head cool and focus on what you are doing with your feet.
Proper placing of a toe
Beginners often commit the same mistake at the start: they use the middle part of their feet as they step on footholds - they feel secure when more surface area is placed over the hold.
What to do: climb more efficiently by stepping on tip of the toe. There are many benefits to this: you'll be able to pivot on your toe giving you more movement options, you'll be able to tip-toe easier thus giving that extra inch or two when reaching holds, and you'll use less energy in switching feet. When you have your whole foot on a hold, it's automatically locked in place and harder to move out from asyou can't change the position and angle of the foot neither.
Look where you step
When you start your climb, it's automatic to look up first. But in order to become a better climber, you must practice looking down as well. What does that mean? You should be conscious about where you put your feet.
What to do: Once you have a steady, solid base (standing on your feer properly), you figure out where to put your hands. In this way, you'll be pulling less with the arms and standing more on your feet, utilizing your legs' strength (legs are way stronger than hands). Before moving your foot, try to imagine first of where you wan to put it and how to place it. Once you know what and how, than do it. Trust in your feet. They are one of the most important parts of the climbing.
Toe on hold, pressure on heel
Say, you now mastered using your toe. But rocking over is still a problem for you. For those who don't know, rocking over means to shift weight from one leg to another (you can check this to be more acquainted with climbing slang). It is tricky to utilize your legs' strength, especially when all this time you have been training your legs for this sport.
What to do: To rock over smoothly, put pressure on the heel to lock foot in. This way, all of the weight is used to secure that your feet is placed snugly on that hold. It will take some time to trust your feet, but trust this move. It will serve as catapult to static and dynamic moves.
As you climb you can hear the rattle of your gear, your foot slamming on the wall, and basically you can feel that you're all over the place. You get exhausted and you feel less controlled. Now let us put nature's way as a goal. Notice how cats move so silently, but swiftly? They leap from high heights without making a sound.
What to do: climb up (and down, if you wish) on easy to moderate routes and be extra mindful of the noise you make while climbing. When you're more silent with your movements, it's more controlled, precise, and well thought through. Try to climb several times this way and focus only on being silent. This will change your climbing for the better. In this way, you engage your whole body and you can feel your core tightening up since the movements are controlled. Don't forget to breathe though! Inhale as you reach for a hold, then exhale once you put weight on.
Flag to prevent Barn Dooring
You've probably experienced falling down when your weight is all concentrated on one side. Imagine your left hand is on an upper-left hold, your left foot is on an bottom left hold, you try to put your right foot on a bottom right hold, but then you swing outward - as if the left side of your body is a hinge to this "barn door".
What to do: to counter swinging outward, extend your leg to shift your weight so that your center of gravity is vertical to the ground.