Perspective upon your own climbing, awareness of thoughts, control of your state. These were the building blocks introduced in Mental Training for Climbing pt. I and those who have regularly practised the exercises given will likely have noticed an improvement their mentality.
This article will describe how to maintain a good mentality throughout a session at the gym. Over time the repeated use of this process will create many positive climbing experiences stretching back through your recent memories and into your unconscious mind.
Psychiatrists and neuroscientists generally agree that the unconscious is a mass of half-forgotten or repressed experiences and knowledge. They also assert that the unconscious mind plays a major role in your responses and therefore what best serves the climber in their efforts to maintain a positive frame of mind day-to-day and session-to-session is a mass of positive memories in the unconscious mind.
To build such a thing requires perspective, awareness and control… fortunately in using the exercises outlined in Mental Training for Climbing pt. I you have already begun to master these.
There is nothing better than the 6b overhang that drops you when you are onsighting 6c+ on every other type of terrain. Your first response to such an event should be to smile. It is a thing of beauty, an exciting moment for a climber because it highlights an area in which you can improve. Such routes make perfect projects. You can work them knowing that once sent you will have added hitherto-unknown techniques and understanding to your repertoire and therefore improved dramatically.
Before your next session accept the thought of falling off repeatedly at a lower grade than you normally would. Commit to enjoying the terrain on which you could improve most.
Once you’ve mastered this exercise on the floor try climbing to the rest on your route and repeating it.
Self-reflective analysis is how you turn the feedback from your last session into a productive plan for your next session. Keep a training diary and record the positives.
Anything new is a positive… a new crag, a new rock type, mastering the nuances of a new move, anything you felt you did well and would benefit from doing again, a better performance than expected either technical, tactical, physical or mental… anything new is a positive because climbers have to accrue a huge amount of knowledge and master a wide variety of techniques in order to progress up the grades. New experiences are key to this growth.
Anything you found challenging is a positive... a new route, terrain or style of movement you found difficult, any aspect of performance that wasn’t as good as you anticipated… as already mentioned the identification of an area for improvement is reason to smile as time spent on such an area brings dramatically bigger and faster gains in technique and understanding.
If you'd like to deepen your understanding of sport psychology in relation to climbing we can strongly recommend Eric Horst's Maximum Climbing as further reading. Most of all remember enjoyment is the heart of what we do, that German lad (you know, the once who’s onsighted 9a?) perhaps says it best…
‘Fun is the core!’
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All articles are written from a humble and deeply personal perspective. Where facts or recommendations are given these are taken from research and experience. We hope these articles help you in your quest to enjoy the mountains and that they portray our passion for what EA Mountain Skills does.