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Topic - Mental training: climbing better, if not harder

Jon Stewart - on 19 Aug 2013
I haven't seen a thread or an article on mental training for a while, so I thought I'd start one. A search brought up a load of Arno Ilgner stuff, and I've read the Rock Warrior's Way a couple of times and while I think it's excellent, it doesn't quite fit with my aims and what I intend to do out at the crag.

Even though I climb trad very regularly - as a student I have a lot of free time - I find it quite hard to get into the zone where I'm really comfortable on the rock and giving it my best. I often seem to find I have unhelpful expectations of a route: either I expect it to be easy and when it's hard it pisses me off, or I expect to find it desperate and I tentatively inch upwards, terrified, even though it's well within my capability and I should be storming up the thing.

My main problem, or one of them, is that I have to be utterly and completely sure that what I do is going to work: I can't force myself to try something that looks like it's going to propel me into the land of no holds. On a bad day, this usually results a whole world of dithering when the moves aren't even that hard.

What I'm looking for is tips to help climb quickly, decisively and positively - as opposed to slowly, indecisively and defensively. I'm not fussed about getting on harder routes and dealing with falling off them, but I do want to improve the style I climb in.

The bits of the RWW that I find a bit much are all the stuff about changing your motivation to become all hippy-dippy-Deepak-Chopra about it. If I'm honest, I really want to succeed on routes to feel good about myself - OK it's shallow but it would take years of therapy to undo that, and that's not what I'm up for! If anyone's got any thoughts at all on how to approach a trad route at your limit that you've wanted to do for years, or just how to put the odds in your favour of getting on a route and feeling good on it, jot'em down here. Or any links to good articles, or anything remotely relevant!

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