Reducing Performance Anxiety by Cam Hartley

As a climber who has always been strong for their grade, I put a lot of pressure on myself when it comes to climbing at my limit which can have the negative effect of increasing my performance anxiety.

This week I would like to share with you 3 tips I use to reduce my performance anxiety and get in the zone for peak performance…

1. Focus on your breathing – In situations where I can feel my anxiety increasing, I will find a quiet place and focus on my breathing. A technique I like to use is “box breathing”. It is simple to perform and involves the following 4 steps:

(1) 4 seconds of inhalation,

(2) 4-second hold,

(3) 4 seconds of exhalation,

(4) 4 seconds hold and repeat until you feel relaxed.

2-3 minutes of this and I am back in the zone and ready to perform. REMEMBER this is a skill and requires purposeful practice to be effective.

2. Goal Setting – Setting small and achievable session goals that focus on the process rather than outcome was a big step for helping me to control my expectations. For example, I would say to myself “this session I will complete all the moves” or “I will complete the boulder problem in 3 overlapping parts“. These are goals that work for me, if you are unsure on how to effectively set goals, check out a previous post from coach Josh Hadley on goal setting

3. Social Groups – Consider the group of people you climb with for certain sessions. As humans we are naturally social and will adapt to the mood of the group or people around us 🤗 If you are a climber who is easily influenced by the mood of the group, it might be worth being selective of who you want to climb with when aiming to perform at your limit.

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~ Cameron Hartley