Recently, someone told me they were fed up of hearing about what everyone was sending and wanted to read something that actually made them think - something with substance... so here's my attempt, sorry its quite a long one!
First I want to talk about competition day. I always struggle to eat breakfast the morning of a competition. People always tell me that its just nerves and to hurry up and eat something. But it doesn't help; I just can't. I can't really explain what it is to be honest, but I don't think its nerves. Im not saying I don't get nervous, pretty much everyone does! I get a buzz of pressure, its just the way I work. On comp day, everything feels quiet: breakfast, packing up, the car journey or walk to the wall. It all feels slow and quiet. That is until I get to the wall where everything suddenly gets crazy loud and time seems to skip around the clock. Theres a strange atmosphere - a mix of seriousness and excitement. I like to see my friends from other countries to chill out a bit; the Euros always appear so relaxed and de-stressed. So I hope being around them makes me feel similar.
As with any other (competitive) sport, competition climbing is extremely frustrating. Not that I have much esperienvce outdoors but I guess its the same too. Frustrating. One of the most frustrating things for me is not climbing as well as I should have; foot slips and missing out holds shouldn't happen. Silly mistakes like that, missing out by small margins is devastating. Knowing that if I had rested for 0.5 more seconds on that rest hold or twisted my hips into the wall 2degrees more I would have got that next hold... and the one after is annoying. I often find myself going on a walk or avoiding people after a disappointing climb. Its easier to go through it in your head when team members/parents are trying to be supportive (which I do appreciate!) and telling you how great you did when really, you know you should have done better. Sometimes, I find I need someone, if they're going to say anything to me, to say "Look I know you're angry and you should be, because you can do better than that. So go out and do better on your next route." For me, sitting by myself, removing myself from the situation and waiting until I've calmed down is the best way to deal with disappointment. Once the climbing day is done and I'm sat in bed before I go to sleep I like to analyse my performance and watch the videos of me climbing, seeing what I did wrong and almost beating myself up about it so that I can learn from my mistakes and move on.
Because after all:
"The most valuable thing you can make is a mistake - you can't learn anything from being perfect."
Lately I've felt myself start to stop enjoying some boulder competitions. To be honest, I just find them so much more frustrating than lead comps. It's easier to escape and bring things back in a lead competition; you don't have to stay focused for long periods of time like a boulder scramble qualification round or finals when you're in and at of isolation. I find it really hard to keep my head on straight when at a bouldering competition when it's not going well... if I drop somehitng early on that I shouldn't have have, I'll still be thinking about it 3,5,7 blocs later. A good example of a disappointing comp was at a Superleague round. Although these rounds were supposed to be fun, I found myself more stressed than ever! I remember having to pull my shoes off, walk out of the wall and sit down and check my Facebook just to avoid ripping someones head off! I found this so weird as I'm usually pretty collected at comp - It felt like a cared more about not flashing a bloc there than competing in a national or even international event. Somehow the pressure was just too much for me (this is a rarity!) I felt out of control, something I hate. When I feel out of control, I can't bring it back and I'm totally out of the zone and I'm out of the game.
When reading something on the internet I came across two questions that really made me think... and I wasn't sure what to make of my answers.
What is it that motivates you? What is more important: results or achievement?
These questions really stopped me because I realised that I do climb for results most of the time. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love climbing and can't imagine not doing it but I am a competitive person and I feel at home when competing. However, I believe my feelings towards these questions will change once I become more familiar with outdoor climbing. I believe that if you do something you should do it to the best of your ability, but then I also believe you should only do something if you enjoy it, there's no point if you don't. But then sometimes I don't enjoy it. It's hard being committed to something that can provide so much frustration and disappointment - it would be easy to just take off my harness, put my trainers on and go home to the sofa but then I'd be bored and have nothing to enjoy, nothing to challenge myself in. So I do climb for the results... but I do enjoy climbing for the results - I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment when you succeed and you can be thankful you did that extra lap or went to your local climbing wall however many years ago. And yes I do it because I want to be the best. That's what motivates me and what I enjoy.
So that was a messy outpouring of my feelings (or a flog as I call it). I know some things don't make sense and don't agree with each other but thats just the way I think.
Here's another quote I really like:
"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." Michael Jordan
Thanks for reading,