|| MMG Mental Fitness, a
must for climbing
|One of the most challenging
aspects of climbing is the mental game. In any sport you must be both
Physically and Mentally strong. In this article I will suggest some
mere tips to help with the mental aspect of climbing. Remember, everyone
is "different", therefore people have "different"
ways of coping with "different" Situations. The intention
of this article is to help you realize some ways you can get fit.
Each climber has his own "mental barrier", as I like to
call it. The barrier is a persons reaction to the rate, or the look
of a climb. For one person, this barrier might be at a 5C. For another
climber it might be a 7C+. The barrier is when you look up at the
rock, and wonder if you can actually do this; opposed to looking at
the rock and saying "this will be cake". The barrier is
also encountered during the climb when the climber is presented with
a very hard move or crux. When you reach the barrier during a climb,
each climber has his own way of looking at it. Some typical things
people think are the following:
||One might think "God!
Now what" looking frantically because his strength is failing,
"Oh *&%&, I might fall". Panic as we like to call
it disrupts are ability to focus and therefore creates a barrier.
||The mental safety barrier
- One might think during the climb when he places a hold "I dont
know about this hold, I might slip, im..im just not sure." The
climber fears his safety a little too much. Climbing includes risks
which we all must take. You have to climb hard to get anywhere. Dnyoing
promotes this thought ALOT. The climber fears he will bank off the
wall and injure himself in some way since he has no "real"
contact with the wall. He feels he can't stabilize himself if he doesnt
make the hold.
||Worry of Physical Weakness
- If your hands or feet or any other muscle for that matter starts
to cramp, the climber gets worried that he might not be able to finish
||Questioning ones self -
This happens during and at the beginning of a climb when you look
up. Sometimes you'll look at the holds your presented with, and question
if you can do it or not. Regardless, all climbers will still climb,
but that thought will linger in their head. Avoid this.
|These are just a few of
the stereotypical scenarios that various climbers go through. Regardless,
all climbers know of when they have a mental block. Usually if you
have failed you know the feeling of I wish I could have tried
So how can I focus?
|Focusing is the key to the
mental aspect of climbing. It is important to understand yourself
and your abilities.
|Find out how to relax. Some
of us meditate while others listen to music. Take deep breaths and
relax before a climb, or listen to upbeat music and jump around to
get warmed up. These are two ways you can get prepped for a climb.
During the climb, dont feel pressured. If you are into a hard
move or crux just relax and go with your instinct on what holds you
need to pass the move. Never think too much when making
your moves. I find that lingering on the rock (without being in a
rest position) is one of the worst things you can do during a climb.
Why? Well for one it tires you physically. Secondly, it gives you
time to think bad thoughts. It really does. If you keep active (climbing
the rock without much lingering) you will not have as much a tendency
to think of falling or failure. This is the better method opposed
to hanging on the rock and desperately looking for a "hold that
dosent test your physical ability" which can lead to bad thoughts.
Climbing can come naturally. We have a natural tendency to keep balance
and find ways to keep that balance. You dont need to study a
book of technique moves. Usually, most of the moves come to you by
themselves, because you have a tendency to equilibrate your body.
Some moves are complicated however and take time to learn. The next
step in focusing is to only think of rock climbing, and absolutely
nothing else! Sometimes at social gatherings, climbers tend to worry
about how they will look (skill wise) compared to other climbers.
Do not worry about anyone other than yourself. Dont even worry
about your belayer. Your belayer has responsibilities all his own,
and he/she can take care of them. If they state a problem to you,
then that is different; then, tend to that problem. Just think about
the climb, the moves you are making, and if it helps the joyful
thought of reaching the top. Next, is what I like to call the P&^$ed
off factor. Failure brings on really wretched thoughts. For
me, it simply P*&%es me off. Sometimes this can be helpful. If
you get really ticked off sometimes, it can lead to you really letting
it out on the rock. Ive found that when Ive built
up such anger, it has helped me to tackle some cruxes. So, am I suggesting
you get P&%$ed off? No, not at all. Im saying Harness the
Power that you have . If you are getting P&*%ed off, dont
let it get too out of control. It can be negative. If you fail again
and again, even though you used everything you've got, it might lead
to you saying, I just cant do it, Im not cut out
for this. You can do it, just take a breath, gather your thoughts
and strength, and try again later.
|So, of course this is not
all of the mental aspect of climbing. It can never be. Every person
has their own way of coping with the stresses of a climb. Two principles
though that you should follow: Either be relaxed and focused if you
think that is your way to get mentally fit, or be Pumped up with blood
flowing hard. Make your own little pre-ritual for all I care. If it
can help you focus, then do it! If you need to sacrifice a squirrel
to the climbing gods well....I dont recommend it but if your
getting focused I guess so ;)
|All in all, you cannot
really read on how to get mentally fit. You are the only
one who can do so. You need to find your strengths and weaknesses,
and learn how to harness the energy presented by both of them. This
article is a mere explanation of guidelines you can follow to finding
your strength, and learning how to keep it. Good luck, dont
think bad thoughts, and climb.....just climb.