Lists are fun, and so are tips...so here's a list of tips for how to take on rock climbing! Follow these guidelines and soon enough, you might be as good as Spider-Man...
1. Use Your Legs!: I mentioned in my Solid As A Rock post earlier this month that one of the biggest mistakes made by most beginner rock climbers is using their arms way more than their legs. You want to be sure to use your lower body muscles in your legs to PUSH yourself up the wall just as much as you would your upper body muscles in your arms to PULL yourself up. Imagine it as a ladder. When you climb a ladder, you tend to use your legs even more than your arms! Same concept applies here.
2. Don't Look Down!: It's natural to be afraid of heights, but this isn't a rollercoaster and it's definitely not skydiving! While you may get a little shaky and afraid, remember that you are strapped in tight with a rope, and you have a belayer down below who knows his stuff. Of course you will have to look down to get your foot placement right, but make sure that's all the further you look! If you look past your feet and stare down at the ground below, you may start to freak out! When you make it to the top, however, soak in the view of what you've accomplished!
3. Learn Your Holds: "Holds" are those colorful nobs that jut out of the rock climbing walls you use to grab onto or step onto to get to the top. Different types of holds are pinches, slopers, jugs, foot chips, and more. This YouTube Video from Expert Village does a fantastic job teaching you about the different holds...it's something that is better seen in a video than trying to have explained in writing!
4. Get Some Gear: As I explained in my Where To Rock Climb In Ohio post, most indoor rock climbing facilities will provide you with shoes, harnesses and other gear. However, you may feel more comfortable with shoes that fit properly and gear that you are more familiar with. Especially if you plan to take up rock climbing as more than just a once-in-a-while kind of hobby, you'll want to invest in some equipment of your own. GearX has some great equipment to get you started, and if you're in central Ohio, Vertical Adventures has a Pro Shop where you get get some great, quality rock climbing paraphernalia.
5. Be Like Spider-Man: Peter Parker is a nerd by day but a limber, stealthy crime fighting, building climbing superhero by night. Learn a bit from Spider-Man when climbing. Take your time, be flexible, take rests, and move in a smooth motion. Use holds that aren't in your designated path only when needed, and be careful not to over-extend or strain yourself. It's important to stretch beforehand to avoid injury. And, like Spider-Man, have the attitude that you OWN that wall! Show 'em who's boss!
I hope these tips help! Comment to add your own tips, comments, or questions!