For over a decade, my life has been weaving in and out of a nomadic lifestyle whose main purpose was to follow a blue colored sky and a shining sun overlooking a field of boulders. Living such a life entwined with climbing has given me many invaluable experiences not only about the sport but also life lessons about myself and the world. I often wondered how I could say thank you to a sport and way of living that has given me so much. So far, this is what I have come up with.
This is my first article of what may hopefully, be many. I hope people find this useful and if anyone has any questions they may like answered I will do what I can.
This one is for Krystal who inspired it. :)
V10. What is that? It is a number signifying the level of difficulty of a boulder problem but it is also more than that. It's a breaking point. A level perhaps not yet reached but knowingly, attainable. But how can one reach this exactly? What skills and mindsets are needed that will enable people to reach their next level be in v5, v10 or v13? Below are some tips which I have gathered which have helped me and others push through plateaus and reach the next level.
Add variety to your world
Try many problems, easy and hard, regardless of the grade, regardless of the style. This way you get exposure and experience on many different holds and styles that will help you breakthrough to the next level.
It helps to travel to places so you can widen your base and abilities even more. If you can't travel then be sure to try those obscure problems and lines that perhaps have overgrown or that you promised you will 'one day' try. If you are stuck in the gym, make up problems that are your anti style or that play on your weaknesses.
The only way to climb v10 is to try v10. So be sure to try a lot of them but avoid limiting yourself to trying JUST v10's. The world is your oyster and every problem can teach you something.
Climb with different people. Everyone has different climbing styles, abilities and something to offer. Climb with people who inspire and can teach. Be open to healthy criticism; be willing to learn and to hear what you may not want.
If what you have been doing isn't working, change something. Step out of the normal routine; go to different problems, areas, gyms. Hell, even try a different mode of climbing like clipping bolts!
Don't limit yourself
Self-limiting thoughts get you nowhere. As does not trying something because it is 'too hard'. If a line entices you whether it is v0 or v13, then try it.
You have the power to make or break your own limitations but the limitations that others put on you be it friend or foe is none of your business. Try to not let the negative influences of others bother you.
Too often people limit themselves to the problems that suit only their strengths. Avoid doing this by working your weaknesses and widen your base by opening up your world to the world of slabs, slopers, pinches, crimps, roofs, etc. Eventually, improvement will come so just be patient.
Often people ask the grade of a problem before trying it which can be limiting. When the answer comes around, some won't try because they think it is too hard but there are also the folks who won't try because they think it is "too easy". Try everything!
Imagine the possibilities!
Find out your weaknesses and strengths
Ask your friends what they think your weaknesses and strengths are. Work to improve your weaknesses and take advantage of your strengths when seeking out a problem which you want to try.
Visualize yourself sending your project. Imagine how the holds feel to your fingers, how much weight to put on each foot, how to move your body. Invoke the feelings of trying hard and how much effort you need to release with each move. Go over the sequence again and again not just with your mind but with your body. Breathe in the feeling of satisfaction when you pull through to the finish. Imagine and believe.
"Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions."~Albert Einstein
Try really hard not because you have to, but because you WANT to. Want it like a passion that burns through you that won't be satisfied until you do it but remember that when it is done you still won't be satisfied. Try so hard that you aren't scared if your tips bleed. Give 101% on your send effort. Grunt. If all else fails, try harder.
Avoid excuses about the conditions and your performance. They contribute to weakness and are limiting. You can't change the external state of things so just deal with the internal and work with what you have.
And most of all; be determined. Be a fighter. Stick with it and remember why you're doing it. The journey is the reward not the destination.