Overcoming Mental Barriers When Training for Climbing by Stephen Keir

We have Lattice Athlete & GB team climber Stephen Keir (Instagram: @stephenkeir) here today sharing his top tips to overcome mental barriers faced when training …

Training can be hard sometimes not just physically, but mentally too! More often than not, the mental side of training is what holds me back the most, for me especially when I am training on my own & for long periods of time.

Over the past year; with various lockdowns & a lot of time on the same board I have struggled at times and I often question whether or not I am improving at all? However, there are certain things I have found helpful to ensure that I continue to progress as an all-around climber.

1- DON’T STAY IN YOUR COMFORT ZONE – Force yourself to climb problems or routes that you feel uncomfortable on. I find it useful to get people to set problems for me or when that’s not possible try to create problems that include moves that I know I don’t really like! It’s easy to just do moves that you are good at, because it provides an ego boost, but you will neglect weaknesses & simply, not improve.

2- WATCH AND OBSERVE OTHERS – Quite simple, but try to watch other climbers. Whether it is via Youtube/Social media videos or just by going to your local gym, grabbing a coffee (when we’re allowed) & watching people climb. You can learn a lot regardless of their ability, even if it is identifying things they might be doing wrong, try & relate it to how you climb & grow from observing others.

3- FILM YOURSELF – Finally, watch yourself climbing! Film yourself & analyse it, we often cannot identify our mistakes whilst we are climbing, but if we look back on footage it will be much easier to see what is going wrong and then, we can use that information to work on those weaknesses. You can also send these videos to others too & ask what they think, because often our pride can get in the way of identifying our weaknesses.

I have found all of these things extremely helpful when I ‘hit the wall’ and feel I am making no progress. Remembering to take these steps has had a huge impact on my development as a climber.

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~ Stephen Keir