With our climbing and psychology workshop on the horizon, we thought we’d take a quick opportunity to delve into the mind and discover just why harnessing its power can be useful when climbing at any grade.
We’ve all been there. A foot slip and suddenly you can’t concentrate on the climb. Or you get through the crux of your project and your mind blanks on the next move. The constant chatter in your head about not wanting to fall.
The mind can play tricks on us constantly, and it starts before we’ve even left the ground. Thoughts of not even getting the first move, defeatist attitudes, worries about other people watching – how many times has this happened, and what do you think it does for performance?
For some people, the chatter quietens once they are on the wall. For others, it intensifies. Fear of falling is one of the most common and means you are existing in the future not the present – hardly ideal in a sport where every move requires so much precision.
And those foot slips, or realising you’ve got the wrong beta or forgotten a crucial sequence – then the berating starts, and again, how quickly can you forget a foot slip and trust your footwork when your mind is so occupied with one mistake?
Talk to the pros and they all agree – if you can sort out your head game, you can pick up a grade just like that. For those lucky enough to hear Hazel Findley talk on her recent tour, she admitted to how much of her climbing is a mental game, and how much mindfulness has helped her keep focused, especially when scared.
You only have to go into a climbing gym on a busy evening to see how many different attitudes there are on the mats. From the confident and cocky, to the nervous and fearful. Somewhere in between exists the perfect climbing state, a combination of psych, calmness and toughness.
The best part of looking into the psychological aspect of climbing is that you can apply it straight away and reap the benefits. You don’t have to wait six months to build up extra muscles or get those fingers stronger. Although bad habits are just as easy to fall into mentally as physically, improving your mental state when climbing will never be totally straightforward.If you are interested in working on your mental game, check out our climbing and psychology workshop, Saturday 30th July, 2-7pm.