Matt

5th Mar 2008

Question:

Hi, I’ve been climbing for approximately 6 years now, and on and off over the last 10 years. In between I’ve had some quite serious injuries just recently starting to go climbing after nearly 3 years out due to injury. I am now struggling to even complete any climb, my head seems to go. It’s now beginning to annoy me. Have you any idea to try to get my head into climbing again ??? Hope you can help, good luck with future projects.

Answer:

This is a very frustrating scenario.

The first thing I would ask, is when you are trying to get to the top of a climb, what are the blocks that prevent you from completing it? What thoughts start going through your head?

Are you fearful? Are you lacking in desire, i.e. not bothered! Or are there other issues going on? Obviously you need to get to the bottom of the underlying cause of why you can’t complete climbs.

You say it is your head but how do things feel physically? Maybe you are over estimating your climbing level at the moment. You say you have had long breaks due to injury, unless you have been able to train your body while not climbing, it is only natural that your climbing level will have dropped substantially.

The great thing is though, that with a concerted effort it doesn’t take as long as you might think to get back physically to where you once were.

I would advise, dropping your grade and starting on easier routes (relative to what you think is your top level). This might feel like a retrograde step but what will happen is that you will be able to enjoy your climbing. Because the route will feel easy, you will be able to relax into the movement and slowly gain confidence in your abilities.

It is a good idea to make yourself climb these easier routes for a slightly longer period than you feel is necessary, then there will come a time when you just won’t be able to stop yourself getting on something harder and begin to push the boat out.

In conclusion: To climb grades near or at your limit you have to put the preparation in. Your mind and body need to have experience of what you are asking of them and know how to cope. If the groundwork hasn’t been put in, failure is unfortunately almost guaranteed.