/ Hesitation

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flopsicle - on 26 Aug 2014
I lurk here lots and have occasionally posted since starting climbing indoors almost 2 yrs ago.

I struggled and slogged my way to some improvement after a plateau for about a year but I have some enduring issues - one of which is hesitation, stopping.

This is hard to describe. When I hesitate on a final move at the full height of the bouldering wall I call it a bottle fail and understand it, don't like it but I get it. Sometimes I hesitate on a move right at the bottom - that I don't get. There are 2 problems where I climb recently that have committed starts; one a jump and catch start and the other a low hand hold just above a high foothold where you need to jump off with the other leg to get height from weight on the foothold (more static then the first).

Here's the thing, no matter how cross I get at myself or how much I've decided I want to try even if it goes wrong, I stop, fail to launch! It's like my whole body says 'no' regardless.

I go back to the problems, try to do similar down graded moves to teach my body and sometimes that works after a lot of work! Sometimes I can't find a down graded version.

What I'm explaining very badly is that everything just stops and if I am in control of it stopping it doesn't feel like it.

Is it just me? Has anyone improved something similar and if so how?
bluesharper - on 26 Aug 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

I don't think it is unusual. If it's safe to do so, simply don't accept doing nothing and stopping. Instead jump just 1-2 inches up, even though you know full well it's not going to be enough to do the full move. It will stil be unpleasant if the move is out of your comform zone, but do it.

Next time try to jump 1 inch higher.
You are probably scared of the move, because it is not familiar to you - you still have little experience in climbing. It's also possible that you are simply scared of falling, or of losing control during dynamic movements.

That is all normal.
But if you want to improve, stopping and not moving at all is the worst option. Even a ridiculously small and apparrently pointless move towards the next hold will make you more familiar with the move, increase your comfort zone and gradually bring improvement. Stopping will shrink your comfort zone even further.

So there are no easy solutions. You will feel scared, but you have to move!
Just do it in small steps. But do it!
In reply to flopsicle:

Interesting one! I often get the same when contemplating dynamic moves, it's often just as much not being in the right position and as such feeling 'unable' to let go in the first place.


It looks like you're building a bit of a mental block - your brain is pretty clever and it will remember to stop at certaain kinds of moves and back off if that is all you do, so you need to get out of the habit if you want it to not be a limiting factor - you knew that already though.

Something to try:
You might feel stupid, but smile at that move! You often see people with 'climbing faces' and when they get pumped or are trying hard they will put on their pumped and trying hard face, as a result your body will actually start to respond to that, get pumped and fall off! Because this is largely a mental thing, break the cycle by grinning demonically at during the climb, and you may just trick yourself long enough to do the move!

Possibly sounds ridiculous, and you may feel it, but if it's all in the head sometimes you just need a subtle tweak of routine to get you past it. I was really sceptical at first untill the number of pull ups I could do consistently went up when I smiled!

Good luck
flopsicle - on 26 Aug 2014
I like both ideas and will try them - if I'm going to attempt an approximation into thin air I might select the lower down moves though!

The smile idea makes sense to me as well, I think there's a lot in fake it till you make it.

I hope I manage it, even just a bit without hesitation would feel freeing. Sometimes I've been so determined and then just stopped - again. The stopping makes the stopping happen. I've just got to figure out how to stop the stopping without stopping!

Any other suggestions are really welcome as it's a bit like when I've tried for ages at a problem but still have no idea how to get a move and eventually ask for a demo. I like the finest shot I can give it figuring it out myself but in the end I'd rather use someone else's brain and skills than give up. Shared wisdom and all that...

Scrump - on 27 Aug 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

I had the same problem. The key for me was just to go for the move even in a small way. That way you learn that failing on it feels fine and you can go for it even better next time.
jkarran - on 27 Aug 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

We've got pretty good mental 'stops' in situations where we might hurt ourselves. In some cases while bouldering you can gradually work up to then slowly, safely push those limits upwards by trying a little harder each time, twisting a bit more, stretching a bit further until we eventually succeed.

As you've identified the problem is most apparent and debilitating where you have an all or nothing move or one that cannot easily be worked for one reason or another. In those cases you generally just have to will yourself to try, to commit and see what happens. Often they're not genuinely all-or-nothing, you might find your early goes take you to an awkward balance point you can nearly hold or topple you off to the left or right, despite the failure (and the potential awkward tumble, skinned shins etc etc) you learn something that can be fed back into your plan, something that makes the next go easier to commit to and or better.

Sounds like you're on the right track building familiarity with similar moves but once you have an idea what you're going to do go do it, throw yourself at it and see how you fail.

flopsicle - on 27 Aug 2014
I've got time for a quickie session tomorrow so will put some of the ideas into practice. At least I know I can smile through it!

One of the moves I'm stuck with needs me to run at the wall, jump onto a low foothold to catch a hold higher up - my attempts to run at something solid were YBFramed worthy and I'm not sure how to break it down. As my run up is on the floor at least I can rule out height nervousness for that one. Maybe grinning through the attempt will help...

I'm still up for more suggestions too.

Scrump - on 28 Aug 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

I hate that comp style stuff. It still make me nervous but it doesnt bother me because its unlike anything ive ever tried outside.
flopsicle - on 28 Aug 2014
In reply to Scrump:

The routes mentioned are bouldering comp ones - well spotted!

I know as someone climbing indoors I'm a lower species but I still value my small successes. The challenges are real to me because I try my bloody best to meet them.

I want to start work on the outdoor challenges too and don't pass up any opportunity to begin. In the meanwhile I enjoy the hobby I have access too.
BusyLizzie on 28 Aug 2014
In reply to 65m moderate millington:

> You might feel stupid, but smile at that move! <

Crikey; I tried this, this evening, and it REALLY WORKS!!! Smiling at the out-of-reach hold made me feel differently about it, and reach it.

Scrump - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

Thats not what I meant at all. Each to there own. I meant I cant vouch for my tactic with that style of problem because I still get spooked on them and havent tried to over come it as much.
flopsicle - on 29 Aug 2014
In reply to Scrump:

Sorry, I have indoors inferiority complex! It was well spotted that the problems were bouldering comp ones - they do tend to be more quirky than the circuits.

I'm terrible outdoors, get stupidly scared even when I'm a soap on a rope. I'm not that bold indoors but unlike outside, as long as I'm willing I can work on it.
Pewtle - on 01 Sep 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

When I'm nervous about making a move I'll try and climb up to the hold I'm going for any way possible (using other routes / handholds if you are in the gym)and hang off it to get a feel of what it's like, and find what the 'sweet spot' of body weight and grip feels like. Then, you have removed some of the unknown from the equation. Just my two pennies, might help!
In reply to BusyLizzie:

And they say you can't coach climbing from your armchair.
Simos on 06 Sep 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

It can be a bit nerve racking running and then having to step on a hold and jump. I usually just forget about the hold I am trying to reach and just do a few 'dry runs' where I run slowly and just focus on stepping on the hold and back down again (or a small jump). Once you are confident you can start jumping higher and worrying about catching the hold (just try to tap it at first.)

Also, for dynamic moves close to the ground - if really low you can try and do them with one (or both feet) jumping off the floor first.
flopsicle - on 07 Sep 2014
In reply to flopsicle:

Ok, thanks for all the replies and I've had chance to give them a try. Making some move really works. Outside of the examples I gave originally there's a climb I did then couldn't repeat due to the last move - just bottling it. I used another hold for stability and then faded back reliance on it. What was odd is that I could fiddle back using it to just a touch 'fingers at the ready' but still struggled with the move without. Doing something did help, in the end I changed my foot placement and got it but I don't think I'd have completed without cooking the books a bit to get the feel.

I feel a bit sheepish re the smiling - it sounds like a brilliant idea and I have tried it on a hard move but fell anyway. MY biggest problem is remembering to do it. I'm climbing with a partner this afternoon so I'll ask her to remind me and report back.

I'm not looking to try and get the bravado of the real young 'uns; I want to carry on climbing well into my 50s, realistically it'll be another 5 or 6 years before I can start outside in earnest. I'm a mid 40s, injury free girly so I feel there's too much to lose being gun ho, crash mats are good but not perfect. What I'm aiming for is to have a rational approach to a healthy fear of falling as opposed to an instinct driven hinderence!

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