So we have reflected on our performance, found where we need to improve, written a training plan to make those improvements and set both our training and our climbing goals. Now it is time to put this training into action.
Specific training for climbing rather than just climbing as a way of training for climbing doesn’t suit everyone. Most climbers will probably accept that climbing specific training such as campus boarding or hangboarding will improve their climbing. However for some climbers the time or finances required are just not available, for many this kind of training would take all the fun out of climbing and they are happy to stay at their present level. That is of course fine, but if you are anything like me and want to be the best climber that you can become, then climbing specific training is the way forward whatever it takes!
We all have a conscious or subconscious tendency to move towards what we know, what we like, what we are good at and avoid what we don’t know, what we dislike, what we are not good at. But of course it is what we don’t know, what we dislike and what we are not good at that invariable holds us back and halts improvement. Unless our genetic make up has produced a sadistic, love the pain to get the gain kinda climber, then the hardest part of climbing specific training is learning to have the mindset to do it.
How do we learn to have this kind of mindset. Firstly we have to know where we are going, secondly we have to want to get where we are going and thirdly we have to want to do the things we don’t know, don’t like and are not good at because we believe they will reap great improvement. If we have already read and instigated what I discussed in my previous two articles then we have already gone a long way along the road to a great training mindset. We will already have identified where improvements are to be made through reflective practice, set goals and formed a training programme to make those improvements. So we already have something to believe in, we have some written evidence from my article and we now have our own written statements and plans. Now it is time to knuckle down, work hard and not deviate from our mission because we now believe in the end result, we now believe in ourselves to get there!
This scenario is exactly what happened to me. I hated pinch holds, sloper holds, drop knees and overhanging routes and would do anything not to climb on them. However I wanted to improve and how I wanted to improve and although I didn’t want to admit it the exact things I hated were the ones holding me back. So eventually I dug deep, started to train these things, started and didn’t stop training them and gradually I could feel the improvement. This was enough to motivate me and that motivation started to overcome my dislike of these things, so much so that in the end I came to like them. I now actively seek out routes with slopers, pinches, drop knees and some overhanging terrain as I now like them and can climb on them. A few weeks ago my belayer made a comment, “how do you manage to dyno to that overhanging pinch and stick it, that’s hard”, was I chuffed, you bet I was!
The long and the short of this article is that if we believe and persevere things improve, we then get motivated and things get easier and we improve some more, we start to like what we are doing and get more motivated, eventually we get good and then we learn to love what we originally disliked.