Tuesday, 4 July 2006

Training notes #2

Starting out at Craigmore, 1994

These notes are related to ‘sealing in’ your motivation…

If you realise that because of your reasons for climbing, you will get more rewards if you improve (by breaking your own barriers etc), you might be put off by the feeling that you have set yourself depressingly huge task! On my first ever day of climbing, I saw a climb that really inspired me and I decided I was going to climb it. Then I read a guidebook and found out it was the hardest climb in the country. So it might seem that the things that inspire you (it might be E10, HVS or just climbing better than your mate) is a long way off and your progress towards it is painfully slow. There is quite a simple way of looking at (and solving) this aspect of motivation.

Basically, our brains really aren’t wired up to understand amazing things, even though we are capable of them. Look at your own body – it’s a bloody miracle! Think about the billions of cells all doing what they are supposed to, your brain reacting and planning in milliseconds etc. You are so complex and amazing its unbelievable really. So how is this possible? Amazing abilities that seem so improbable are the result of the accumulation of a large number of small, probable steps. In the case of the creation of our bodies, it was a lot of small steps in evolution, each one unremarkable, but laid end to end, amazing.

Climbing hard or getting extremely good at any skill is exactly the same. Its difficult to comprehend and it amazes us that anyone can do things like E10. The reality is the E10 climber has just made a lot of small improvements over a sustained period. Anyone is capable if making a small improvement. If they stick at it and make a many more, they WILL get to a high level. With the exception of circumstances we can’t control, and there aren’t many of those, its inevitable.

So for the climber starting out on what seems like an impossible task, don’t think about the whole task in one. Accept that your brain isn’t designed to deal with it that way. Break it down into small steps, like doing one more route at the wall or spending five minutes watching the footwork of a good climber, and the steps will accumulate into something amazing.

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