Motivation in Climbing Clinic – Bishop
Once again I travelled to the States for a climbing festival to represent Mountain Hardwear! Fun!!!! My other sponsor Black Diamond was the main sponsor of the event so I was really looking forward to see my buddies from that team too!!! Like my close friend Colette McInerney I haven’t seen for a whiiiiile!!!!! The festival was followed by a Mountain Hardwear athlete summit where I got to see the whole team for a first time! Good times!
Okay…. now to the topic! 😊
Motivation has been my double edged sword for sure… Like my last trip to Bishop just showed. I saw a super pretty line while driving around with Matt Burbach and Lauren and while we were looking at the boulder, a young 14 year old crusher named Carlo stopped by with his dad. They had only two pads and if he would have a third one he would have tried the boulder again. Of course I got excited and ran to the car to get my pad and got ready to give Carlo a spot. I couldn’t content to just spot and watch so I put the shoes on, gave one warm up try, and after seeing Carlo falling on the edge of the pads I decided to move them a little. I dry fired from the very last move of “Seven Spanish Angels” and missed the pads. I felt a horrible pain on my ankle but didn’t scream. I decided to lay on my back till I got ice for my ankle. The very first thoughts vere “Ohh ****I did the same mistake again! I hope I didn’t sprain the same joints as last time.” and “Ohh s*** how can I teach the clinic after this?”.
I got carried to the car, got a cold beer and went to teach the first part of my clinic. I saw Nina Williams and Michaela Kiersch at the parking lot and they offered to take my attendants with them to climb ❤️ . I’m super grateful for such a kidness and help… Thank you so much Nina and Michaela! You’re amazing.
This was a second time I have missed the pads because I’ve been too excited and therefore haven’t checked the landing or made sure anyone has been ready to spot me. I have also got repetitive strain injuries and burn out once because I just can’t stop climbing. I’m a slow learner but I have learned to hold my self now and turned it to a “resting challenge”. Which makes resting sound more fun (reguires that you’re into challenges 😀.)
It was time for the clinic and the topic was – Motivation in Climbing. Which was a little ironic.
– MOTIVATION IN CLIMBING –
I’m known as a highly motivated climber who’s having fun, not minding about the weather, pain or if it’s already pitch black outside. I wouldn’t describe myself as a physically crazy talented climber. My talent and gift has been more related to motivation, love for the sport, challenges and being dedicated and driven. I do loose it sometimes. Luckily that’s rare.
Even though we are talking about a sport we love sooo much it is natural to feel a lack of motivation at times. I felt it strong for a first time when I felt getting back to shape really tough. That annoyd me because I don’t wanna enjoy climbing because I am good at it. I have always wanted to climb till I’m old and atleast do via-ferrata and grab some cables. And I’ve always enjoyd climbing even with a one leg but not on this time. I felt like there was something wrong with me and I really wanted to study the reasons behind that and get over with it.
I get more fire when someone tells me if I can’t do something: “You’re too short.” “You’re a girl and the route contains powerful dynamic moves.” “It’s not your style.” etc. The same happens when an injury slows me down. I wanna show a middle finger for the injury! But last fall was different than usually (lets not go there…). Because climbing has helped me to channel my feelings and deal with hard issues and that time I wasn’t able to do so. My wrist was injured and as a climber I need do something with my hands and at least feel the holds or scrambble up with one leg. Having a fire to work a lot demands that the life is otherwise balanced and there’s no heart brake or any other shit. But when my dear mum passed away, climbing helped me to channel my feelings. When I have had an injury on my leg (like an broken ACL or this time fractured my heel) I’ve had a huge motivation on coming back stronger and I’ve done a hella a lot of fingerboard.
Last spring, I got a bad injury and some personal setback at a same time. This time I didn’t have that same energy which has always been the most important for me as a climber. I’m happy that happened because then I had to study myself, my motivations, drive and why it has been so high and how to get it back. In my clinic in Bishop I wanted to share some tool and hacks I’ve used myself to get myself motivated and how to maintain it.
What comes to the learning process the most important occasions has been the injuries. They have helped me to know myself better as a person and a climber and therefore find the tools for getting motivated on training again. Misfortunes both in climbing and life has taught me how to deal with failures or losses. I’ve grown and got better as a person. That is why climbing is the best thing ever happened to me. Climbing has gave me so much and I’ve got a lot from the community that I feel like sharing and giving something back!!! So I hope someone finds this helpful 🤗
– Working on the attitude and mental game –
Which things get you motivated or syked? What have been the reasons for low motivation? And try to find the factors which are on the way. Reasons for lack of motivation can be a bad weather, feeling weak or just having a lack of confidence, fear of failure, company, not inspiring training facilities, not used to be active (after an injury), not seeing progress etc…?
Always try to think positive and if you have been injured, focus on things you CAN do instead of the things you can not. Make a list of the things you can do and focus on that! Don’t wallow on dark thoughts and put that little voice in your head on mute who says I can’t climb I can’t climb I can’t climb I only wanna climb. 😊
Whereas the issues which elevates the motivation can be the opposites of the things mentioned earlier above. Could you somehow effect and make a difference on the negative things? You can’t really effect the weather but you can have an effect on your attitude. And there is no really a bad weather but a bad gear or preparation.
So seeing a little bit of effort for changing the attitude is crucial. A finnish hockey player once said that: “Kehitys loppuu tyytyväisyyteen.” – “Development ends to satisfaction”. Thinking that there’s always something to improve or done better helps you to become stronger. And when training: “Don’t stop when you’re tired. Stop when you’re done.”
What about being afraid of failure or hights?? These might demand baby steps on getting used to get along with unpleasant feelings. Rationalizing helps when there’s no really a need to be afraid like when the fall is safe. When I’ve been scared in sport climbing I have thought the gaps between the bolts as boulders. And realized that sometimes in bouldering the boulders have been the same high or even higher than the spaces between the bolts.
If I’ve felt insecure about failing infront of people or felt some other pressure, I have done my second session in a crowded gym when I have felt the most tired. That’s how I used to prepare myself before a competition. By this age I have realized that no one actually gives a damn 😃. People are so focused on thinking about themselves and that what people might think about them, that they don’t actually have time to sacrifice a thought have you did on that pink boulder on wednesday. Feeling of pressure or performing well might kill the motivation and make you want to try the route on another time. Remember that “Sometimes later becomes never.” So do it now! :)
After and injury I’ve lost some of my confidence, routines and the flow on training. Sometimes coming back has felt a little overwhelming when it comes to training because there is just sooo much to do, For better self-confidence on a wall or a rock, I just jump on the wall and start moving around., Indoors I rapid fire all the easy ones one after another and just let my body climb (as Hazel Findlay says). That blocks all the pointless thoughts and helps to get a clear head and prepare yourself to get the flow state much easier. Focusing on physical aspect like breathing and moving helps to block the thoughts, get the flow and forget the fear or pressure of sending on a red point.
Hazel Findlay from the Black Diamond team is my inspiration for working my own mental game in climbing. From the following link you can find her post “Let the Body Climb” which is the first one of her mental training series – http://hazelfindlayclimbing.com/blog/view/let-the-body-climb
The rise of superman, decoding the science of ultimate human performance
The Inner Game Of Tennis (Recommended by Hazel Findlay)
Flow in Sport by Sue Jackson (Mentioned by Hazel)
Rewire your brain, think your way to a better life
thinkin body dancing mind
The Rock Warrior’s Way by Arno Ilgner
– Training –
Two years ago, I had a presentation in Finland where I opened a little bit of my climbing career and which factors made me climb hard relatively fast. I had to look a little bit back at my climbing and I found out some interesting occasions which made me climb harder. For example the ways to train which worked for me the best. I got strong rather quickly and I did my first 13b’s in two years, V11 boulder in three, and also won the Nordic Championships after three years of climbing. But what made me not just a strong climber but a better climber, was the change happening inside my head through a bad injury. But what comes to physics, the main thing was to climb a lot, on different styles on moderate grades, and do both sport and bouldering. Mixing up, but still having a common thread and an idea, has been the best training style for me. That keeps the motivation high and your body or fingers less vulnerable for injuries. There is no right or wrong beta or ways to train. This all makes training for climbing relatively hard. BUT FUN!
Climbing is such a complex sport which makes it as a double-edged sword. Especially what comes to the mental side of climbing. In climbing people with differing sizes, strengths, abilities, genders can still succeed in different types of climbing. And the climbers who are not crazy talented physically, can compensate with their mental abilities. The mental part of climbing is the most important (I think…), because when you know how to hack your mind, motivation, flow or control your fears, you can utilize your physical potential – and everything you’ve trained for. There is a lot of ridiculously strong climbers at the gym but when you get to see some of them outside, you might get suprised how poorly they might climb outside in respect of their physics. Mental part is usually underrated part of training even though it’s the key for performing well on climbing. Maybe because it is relatively hard…. And I don’t remember to focus on that enough eather!!!
Some hacks which might help for motiation 🌈🌷😊:
Focus on things you CAN do instead of the things you can not. When you get injured, make a list of the things you can do and focus on that! Don’t wallow on dark thoughts and put that little voice in your head on mute who says I can’t climb I can’t climb I can’t climb I only wanna climb. 😊
Make going to the gym almost too easy. Fold the clothes and put the training gear ready and next to the front door (morning run) or just wear the Lulu’s already!
Something new! Eather it’s a new training place, plan, exercise or friends.
Having a plan or a small goal. Eather for a day or longer period. Seeing progression motivates the most but it all demands dedicating on training. I stopped loving dynos after being not able to do them for a while after spraining my anke. I used to be good at them and now I suck! But usually when you just start doing them, you might get a slightly better on dynoying and therefore enjoy them more. Same thing is on doing math (at least for me) or streching. I have set a small goal where I dedicate myself to do at least a one dyno a session! It actually makes dynoying sound more fun when there’s a little baby challenge involved. Remember that “Great things never come from comfort zone.”
Being compassionate for yourself and set the goals for the session low when eather tired or just having a low motivation day. Just go with the flow and just crawl to the gym. Try to at least to stretch! You might find yourself doing excercises with a rubber band. Or set a goal to move slowly on a wall or run for 5 minutes. You might end up feeling better and have a full session or 30min run!!!
People. Surround yourself with right people!
Fool the body. Fooling your body might get you on a right mood. My friend Daniel Woods once put chalk on his hands a lot before he was even climbing (syke chalk). When I’m trying hard I tie my hair up and conversely when I’m trying to onsight hard and make myself relaxed, I keep my hair loose and wear a baggy clothes (it’s funny but works for me). And when I’m tired I too a couple of sets of agro-pull-ups (or other kind of dynamic warm up). That activates the hormones and your neural system which affects to your energy levels. After working out you feel much more energised than before starting it.
Good gear and preparation. Going outside and climb in a cold will be much pleasant with proper gear. And if you’re lucky, you have a stoked friend who’s from a rainy country with bad rock and doesn’t complain! :)
But ohh yeah…. resting…. remember to do that too. It is hard to be patient and treat resting like part of the game to improving. But taking as a challenge (resting challenge) so that might make you willing to challenge yourself. But what if you don’t like challenges? How to teach someone to love challenges….?
That is another story…. 😊
Do you have any good recommendations for good mental training literature? Or any good tips for motivation or a good mind set? Please share!!!! 😊