Stop Falling, Start Sending // Molly Gaynor

You never strive to fall on a climb, but it happens to the best of us.

Fall after fall, you become overwhelmed with frustration and anger, which then interferes with your focus. 

And for some of us, once our concentration is derailed, there is minimal hope in sending: everything turns into a downward spiral from there. This is especially true for bouldering.

So, how do you keep a stable mindset in these times of stress and grab that finish hold instead of grabbing empty air when you find yourself flailing off the wall?

Step 1: Recognizing the mistakes.

You can’t fix a mistake if you don’t address what you’re doing wrong.

Sure, maybe your foot greased off a few tries (it happens), but if you are continuously falling on a climb, sorry to say it, but it’s not the foot chip’s fault. Whatever it is, take responsibility for your every movement. No excuses!

Perhaps the actual problem is that you are grabbing a hold wrong, or over-gripping a hold and leading you to be too light on your feet. A tool that I find very helpful to point out what I am doing wrong is video on a phone. The camera can break the video up into still shots when paused, then you are able to see the exact body movements you are making.

Examining exactly what you’re doing will highlight what you are doing wrong, so you know what to fix.

Step 2: Finding a solution to the mistake.

There is a lesson in every fall.

Once you have figured out what you are doing wrong, counteract the problem with different beta. There is always a way to progress, even a little bit.

Use the camera again, it can be useful here, too—maybe you can see something you can do differently. In my personal experience, it has certainly showed me methods I couldn’t see for myself on numerous occasions. Using a camera has saved me from walking away from a climb empty-handed. Sometimes it was as simple as looking at myself climb and realizing if I turn my body (literally) 2 inches into the wall, or readjusted my foot placement, it was all I needed to do send.

Now, it’s understandable that it is not always as simple as readjusting the foot.

Sometimes, you still find yourself frustrated when you’ve tried every method in and out of the books. Here is where you need to pay special attention to your mentality towards your climbing. If you’re falling all over the project without progress, this is when mentality counts the most: keeping it together. Climbing is a sport where it’s especially important to be self-aware of your mind and body. Which leads us to step 3.

Step 3: Knowing when to walk away.

It’s important to know when to walk away. It’s so easy to get caught up in a climb.

Sometimes you find yourself throwing your body onto the wall until you get caught in this repetitive cycle of pull, then fall, then pull again, then fall again. Yes, you want to send the climb, but is your focus there with you? No.

That is when you need to walk away. You need to break that horrid cycle, fast. Whether you need to grab some water, or eat some sending food, do what you need to do to recapture that focus to get in the zone. Me personally, I grab the Snickers.

Step 4: Re-visiting the climb

When its time to revisit the climb again, confront it like a new climb: with a clean slate.

It doesn’t matter if you just flailed off the wall 20 times before, all that matters now is giving this thing one good go. My coach always told me, don’t get on the wall until you’re ready to send. So now I’m passing those words on for you to think about right before you get on a climb.

Tell yourself, be firm with yourself: don’t get on the wall until you’re ready to send.