When you start a new sport and have an endless stream of motivation, it’s hard to imagine the psyche will ever run out. Down the line, most climbers will recognise it’s common to have the odd motivational slump. Fear not, in this instalment, Anoushé provides us with her top tips to tackle the times when motivation runs low.
Photo: Ben Grubb
Have you ever lost your motivation to climb? Reached a plateau? Struggling to find time to make it to a session?
When I started climbing, it was specifically with the aim to rehabilitate my left arm following cancer treatment. I also found it fun and I’ll do any rehab exercises I get if they are fun! Once I moved to London and took up climbing after a 2 year break, the sport had become a gateway to helping me have an outlet from work and a way for my flatmate and I to create time for ourselves and bond. Nearly 3 years on and living in different places, we both still climb but our motivations have changed. Climbing for her remains a semi-regular social hobby and outlet from the rest of her life, whereas I eat, breathe, think and dream climbing.
In a very short space of time it went from being a hobby to something I wanted to take up seriously and now it has become the fabric of my being. The thing is, I have lost my motivation and hit plateaus more times than I wish to count especially after a difficult health set back or disappointing results in a competition. So, how do I get around it all? How do I stay motivated and how do I push past a plateau?
First of all: acknowledge and accept that things aren’t as great as I’d like them to be. I know it sounds counter intuitive but by admitting there’s a problem, it can then be addressed head on. I tend to talk my problems out and then get on with things but everyone will have a different way of doing things that suits them
Secondly: Work out what it is that’s causing the issue and whether it’s something you can change and want to.
Sometimes life can get very complicated and during that time, it completely natural to focus energy on that. Motivation comes and goes with everyone, forcing it can backfire badly.
If it’s a physical or technical plateau, try and work on your technique, look at other climbers to see if you can find someone with the skills you need or talk to a coach. I find technical plateaus can be dealt with quite quickly, practice the technique enough and it pays off!
Physical or mobility issues can take time but the key is to be patient and persevere.
Thirdly: make your sessions fun and shake them up a bit. If you’re bored of climbing in the same area all the time, switch up your routine, try climbing with different styles and techniques. The Castle is huge and definitely got enough variety at all levels to stop things from getting boring.
Fourthly: sometimes having the same partners all the time can actually lead to a loss of motivation. That’s why things like the Session at Castle or climbing socials can be really useful as you get to climb with someone new and that can be very refreshing
Finally: if all else fails, take a break. Climbing will always be there for you when you are ready to return and enjoy it.