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Having Confidence in Your Climbing and Why it's Important

Confidence is not just a desirable trait in rock climbing; it's absolutely essential. Whether scaling a rock face or climbing in the gym, your mental state can make or break your climb. Confidence impacts everything from your decision-making to your movement efficiency.


Confidence makes you more likely to commit to moves, trust your instincts, and push through difficult sections. On the contrary, a lack of confidence can lead to hesitation, second-guessing, and, ultimately, mistakes and injury.

Woman climber having confidence in climbing


Confidence Improves Climbing


That's it! Simply, having confidence will improve your climbing! Imagine a powerful climber with the strength to climb V11 who wants to reach this grade but only trusts themselves until they reach a certain height on the wall. They'll never get to this grade because they'll psych themselves out and never fully commit to climbing.


Confidence doesn't require physical strength and can affect climbers of all abilities. A boulder problem won't care if you second-guess your technique; it'll remain a problem whether you send it or not. But having confidence can make a difference!  


How to Improve Your Confidence


Determining why you don't feel confident is the first step to improving your confidence. Have you gotten injured taking a nasty fall? Maybe you've never put yourself into a position to fall because you're nervous about what may happen if you fall. Or perhaps you've watched somebody else fall and thought, "NOPE! Not doing that!" There's no wrong answer to a lack of confidence in your climbing; there is only acknowledging it and questioning whether you want to improve it.


Tip 1: Start Small, Progress Gradually


Begin with climbs within your comfort zone and gradually increase difficulty as you improve. Each successful send reinforces your abilities and builds confidence for the next challenge.


Tip 2: Visualization and Mental Rehearsal


Before tackling a route, mentally visualize yourself completing it flawlessly. Picture every move, anticipate challenges, and visualize overcoming them with ease. This mental rehearsal primes your mind for success and boosts confidence!


Tip 3: Celebrate Progress, Not Perfection


Acknowledge and celebrate every milestone, no matter how small. Whether conquering a fear of heights or learning a new technique, each achievement builds confidence and momentum for future climbs.




Does falling scare you? Don't worry; you're not alone; nobody wants to fall. But it's best to be prepared in case of any fall rather than never having practiced it. So, practice it! 


Start with one step off a boulder problem and fall. No, don't step off, but fall and practice your technique. Here's how to do it: Land with your feet flat and your knees bent. Keep your arms in, such as crossing them over your torse, then lean and roll backward.


Next, don't go up any further; instead, practice falling from the same height but from a different angle. Use one foot on the wall, lean to the side, then fall off. You'll want to practice falling in different orientations because not all falls are created equal! Sometimes, you'll be traversing to one side or jumping in a specific direction, and sometimes, you'll be perfectly perpendicular to the ground.


After you practice a few good falls from one step off the ground while learning how to move your body as you land, move up a little higher on the wall. Then, keep repeating until you've fallen off higher than before.


Your progress in falling doesn't have to happen within the same session. Increase the height of your falls as your confidence improves; before you know it, you'll climb more confidently at more heights!


Are You an Embarrassed Beginner?


Maybe you haven't fallen off the bouldering wall yet because you're embarrassed by what other climbers will think of you. That is totally understandable because nobody wants to look like they don't know what they're doing. But you must understand that if you're new at something, you have yet to learn what you're doing, right?


The best way to learn to climb correctly is to seek help from more experienced climbers. You can ask around the bouldering wall or even take an intro class. Most gyms offer beginner classes to teach them technique and how to fall—yes, they'll teach you how to fall! With a beginner class under your belt, you'll feel more confident in climbing and falling when you inevitably climb in front of others.

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