Crushing Tip #26

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crushing tip 26

Footwork: Edging and Smearing

by: Matt Coleman

Crushing begins with footwork and it’s important to consider how you use all that wonderful rubber on your climbing shoes.

There are two fundamental techniques: edging and smearing.

Most climbers really only edge in some form or another and this is useful on footholds that have some sort of positive edge for the shoe to grip. When edging, it’s important to think about really flexing your toes and pressing them into the hold while making sure your heel stays level with, or higher than your ankle. This will allow you to fully use the shoes performance.

Smearing on the other hand is a different and often neglected technique. When footholds get tinier and more rounded, it’s generally more useful to focus on keeping your heel down below your ankle and get as much rubber on the hold as you can. Flex your toes into the hold and step onto the foothold with confidence and a little force. Be aware that if you lose focus and let the heel lift, or you don’t commit to stepping into the hold, you will usually skate off the foothold. But soon, with a little practice, you’ll find that even the smallest features of the wall will be usable!

Once you master these two basic foot techniques, progress into playing with edging using the inside and outside edges of the shoe. Many times climbers use only the tip of the shoe and this limits your ability to twist your hips in to the wall at times.

Try it and crush on!