Lattice Blog

Dealing with Frustration in Climbing: Handle Disappointment

Getting back on the rock after training season can lead to frustration in climbing. When we put time into training over winter, we can start to expect success, or at least certain magnitude of change, when we get back outside.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out like this straight away…

There is no magic formula, and most climbers need time to translate training into performance. This initial phase can lead to disappointment… which has an impact on satisfaction…

It is a shame to start off our climbing season like this, as being passionate about climbing is the reason that most climbers train in the first place!

There are, of course, lots of other scenarios where we see climbers become disappointed.

Below are some ideas to help manage disappointment or dissatisfaction:

Am I being realistic?

One way to reduce disappointment and frustration in climbing is to have realistic expectations.

Our expectations may be out of line with reality, such that we feel disappointed, even when objectively we have done well.

What are you basing your expectations on? Are you comparing yourself to someone else? Or a former you?

Are your comparisons fair? For example, comparing at the same time of year, taking style into account, or taking other life events into consideration.

Talking to your climbing partner and getting their view on your climbing can be helpful. We may zoom in on one element of our climbing, whereas they have a less biassed perspective.  

Stay in the moment

Use a mantra or technique to help keep you in the present moment. Thinking about the training we have done (in the past) or how we will climb this season (in the future) takes us away from the task at hand.

We will inevitably feel less satisfied with our climbing days if we are not present for portions of them.

Keep any inner dialogue or conversations with partners about your climbing focused on ‘present’ language. Ask yourself questions about the climb you are trying as if from a curious observer:

“How could you get your right hand on that hold?”

“Could you move more quickly through that section?”

Make a list

This is NOT a list of all your sends or climbs you complete above a certain grade that you feel is ‘worthy’ of note. This is any event or climb that you feel a real sense of satisfaction with.

This requires us to build awareness of when we feel satisfied. This may sound simple, but in our modern world, it is easy to lose touch with what is intrinsically satisfying to us, for example, committing to a powerful move or reading a section of a route well during an onsight (even if you didn’t complete it).

Summary: How to deal with frustration in climbing

Being realistic, staying in the moment and building a mindset that sees satisfaction and success, is key to dealing with frustration in climbing.

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