Dealing with pressure is a crucial component in the life of any athlete. Climbers are very often put under pressure - may it be in competitions, outdoor or personal projects. While my latest post addressed the development of pressure, the crucial question might not quite have been answered yet:
How can we cope with pressure? How can we see the challenge of a situation instead of stress and strain?
- First of all, believe in yourself! You can be successful, too, and you can control both your performance and your acting. Do you want to give your best or do you always ever want to avoid to fail?
- Based on that, think of things you can control while climbing. Is it your thoughts? Your movements? Your preparation? Write down all those things you believe you can control and that have an impact on your performance.
Interesting fact: Studies show that self-reported perceived control helps performance. However, self-focus doesn't necessarily lead to improved performance under pressure.
- Redefine pressure. Instead of seeing it as a threat, try to see the challenge in the task - why do you even do it? What is so good, so nice, so challenging about it? Why do you enjoy doing what you do?
- Visualize your actions, your movements before starting in a route or boulder. This works both when you have a project outside which you have tried before and where you know all the moves already, but also when standing in front of a new boulder/ route. If you're competing, you can also visualize the setting of the whole competition in advance. What will you do when you enter the competition? What will you do next? Which actions will you be able to control?
- Have a goal. Competitors know very clearly what they want to achieve. They know their concurrence and what to expect from themselves. Have you ever intensively thought about what you want to achieve? Try to not only focus on results though, but also think of goals for your actions.
- Find your routine and rituals. The more experienced you are the less nervous and distracted you are. Routines become part of the game, you know exactly when to do what. You know what helps your preparation, what fosters your performance, but also what should be avoided. Little actions and rituals help you to be fully concentrated.
Try out these techniques and train them so they become a normal, automated routine. And don't forget: training your brain is a process that doesn't just work over night. So don't get frustrated if you cannot see results right away.
Let me know how it worked! ☘