General goal oriented project tips
- Choose your goal with some thought: When you’re deciding to pick a goal you want to achieve, ask yourself the following questions:
- How high are the chances of success in a certain timeframe? Realistic goals will give you a better time than the ones you’ll never achieve. Don’t aim for the impossible
- Will it practically be doable? Think logistics, money, time, partner, etc. You’re going to devote a certain amount of your life to this goal, so it might be worth checking if the rest of your life is ok with that.
- How much time do I want to/am I able to invest. This is closely linked to the first question. If you’re time is limited, pick a goal you can achieve with less effort.
- Know what you’re going to be up against: If you’ve answered the above questions, think again if you really want to do this! It’s going to be a hell of a ride, with both positive and negative feelings. It might work in the end, but what if it won’t?
- Patience: Depending on how realistic and achievable your goal is, you’re going to need a lot of patience. You’re not always going to make progress, and setbacks can make you feel like all you’re doing is in vain. Don’t freak out, just remain realistic and wait out the downtime.
- Running into a wall: It’ll happen eventually, there won’t only be progress. Sometimes you’ll be taking some setbacks and it’s important not to freak out in this case. There’s no reason to lose confidence, and although it can be helpful to find out why things are not running, sometimes simply accepting some downtime can be enough. See bottom of page*
- Giving up is not losing! you don’t have to finish by achieving your goal, sometimes the process of trying to reach your goal is satisfying enough. Although it’s hard to let go, I think it’s important to know when frustration is getting the overhand from joy. If you’re not happy anymore with what you’re doing, it’s time to move on…
Climbing specific project tips
- Find out all about the project: If you’re aiming for a specific route, find out all about it: Number of moves, steepness, type of holds, rests, conditions, beta. There’s sooo much to know about a piece of rock! Basically find out what’s necessary for success.
- Get your training accustomed: As soon as you know all the details on the route or boulder, adapt your training so that it fits your needs. There’s not much sense in training long endurance if your project is a route that climbs in 3 min.
- Build a replica: This might be tricky for most (not all gyms are keen on it or have the walls to do so) but try to get something in your training environment that’s close. If your project has an important rest, train it; a crux after 30 moves, set the crux and climb different 30 moves into it. Get creative!
- Don’t get stuck on the project! I think it’s important to climb other routes occasionally to shift your attention from the project. Climbing in different areas or routes in the same area might seem like a waste of energy, skin and conditions, but it’ll keep you fit and motivated. Always working on the same moves or just doing sending tries day after day might get you progress, but also get you unfit after a while.
- Drop high expectations: Try not to expect too much before doing tries. Instead of expecting how high on the route I hope to get, I just give it a proper go and see what happens. High expectations most of the time lead to dissapointment. I’ve heard of many cases where climbers send at the least expected moment (last go in the dark, post party etc)
- give it 100%: The Spanish call this ‘a muerte!’, basically the message is to not hold back and give it all. Especially during tries, if you think you might fall doing the next move, you should still try it instead of giving up.
- Don’t underestimate how exhausting good project tries are! It might seem that warming up and two tries on the project are not a full climbing day, but really giving everything on the route takes a heavy toll on fingers, body etc. For me taking two restdays was often necesary.
- Don’t stop working: Always keep checking on better beta, keep doing single moves and link sections. If you keep falling at the same point, optimising these moves can be key.
* Feel like you’re only getting worse?
Try the following and see if something improves:
- Make sure you’re healthy! Training sick is not a good option, and even in the toughest training phases a few days to a week break is no problem.
- step down a notch, especially on quantity. If you’re constantly feeling tired, you’re possibly in overtraining.
- Realise that training effect does not come instantly. It’s also hard to see progress during training phases, since you’re often tired from training. Take things a bit easier, and you’ll see what you’ve worked for!
- Instead of doing tries from the ground, try to do various linkups of sections. This is a nice way to climb without much pressure, and helps a lot to get sections wired.
- Take a few restdays, or take a break from the project. Go to different crags, climb other routes and return with double the motivation!