To Im­prove Your Climb­ing

Gripped - - TRAINING AND TECHNIQUE - Story by Mark Smith

Hear­ing your words makes them real, so stay­ing up­lifted is as im­por­tant and train­ing in the gym. Take for ex­am­ple that time you tied in and you blurted out, “I’m ex­hausted.” Maybe you didn’t sleep well or eat enough and you feel too weak to try the route. If you say it enough, you’ll soon be­lieve it.

Have you ever ex­pe­ri­enced such frag­ile be­lief in your abil­ity to climb a project? Words don’t send us up a climb all by them­selves, but they can make a dif­fer­ence be­fore, dur­ing and af­ter a climb. The self-talk we use and com­ments from climbers around us sway our be­lief in what is pos­si­ble, swing­ing us from can’t to can. Think­ing twice about our self-talk and the an­nounce­ments we share with those around us makes a dif­fer­ence in our climb­ing. Of­fer­ing an ad­van­tage to our per­for­mance by keep­ing the mono­logues and di­a­logues we use pos­i­tive. Sup­port­ing our be­lief in our abil­ity to do the climb.

Science ad­vises us fur­ther about our in­ner work­ings when talk­ing aloud to our­selves. Con­fir­ma­tion bias is a ten­dency within us all to search our en­vi­ron­ment for val­i­dat­ing rea­sons to sup­port our the­o­ries and be­liefs. If we pro­fess, “I’m ex­hausted,” the next thoughts and di­a­logue will fo­cus on pro­vid­ing rea­sons why that is true. Shap­ing what we see as pos­si­ble, how we feel and what we be­lieve we can do. This of­fers an im­por­tant in­sight that is some­times stum­bled upon by the op­ti­mists within the climb­ing com­mu­nity but of­ten gets over­looked for its value. By learn­ing to iden­tify and change neg­a­tive self-talk into pos­i­tive sup­port, you can use this bias to your ad­van­tage.

Have you ever be­layed some­one and felt cu­ri­ous as to why they were both­er­ing to try a climb based on what they were say­ing. “I can’t climb this grade” or “This is go­ing to go hor­ri­bly, there aren’t any holds,” are some ex­am­ples that dis­cour­age. Those climbers set them­selves up and can’t see the trap they’re in. Ev­ery rea­son they f ind fur­thers their self-fulf illing prophecy. Be­lay­ing or ob­serv­ing some­one in this sit­u­a­tion is a great time to learn about self-talk while not be­ing af­fected by climb­ing- stress­ful sit­u­a­tions. There’s four steps to prac­tice.

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