Why is it that in climbing the mental aspect is so important, almost so much so that in the majority of cases it makes the difference between who can climbs routes, who cannot, who holds on indoors, who outdoors, who redpoints 8a and onsights 7a, and who redpoints 8a and onsights 7c, the difference between someone who climbs like a wooden puppet and who instead climbs so smoothly as if caressing the rock? Because it is a complex sport. Not a repetition sport with one unique movement that is repeated, like in rowing, running or cycling etc but it is a sport with an infinite number of variables.When I am balancing, I only need my free leg to be slightly to the left or to the right of my axis to cause the movement to be favourable or unfavourable. It is like all sports that have many variables in their game, the only type of knowledge we can use, that is, as powerful and quick as any computer, is one’s intuition. To immediately feel with your body what is the right position, something that I would have never been able to calculate, remember or execute rationally. In a few words, to move automatically, but not instinctively! Because it is an automated move that has been engrained in you from previous repetitions of correct movements (that are not instinctive) and have been metabolised . Therefore they should not to be blocked, rationally by technique schemes. I think, therefore I fall, and we have repeated this a number of times. So why is it that our mind makes all the difference? Because of everything we have just said, because everything that becomes “automatic” is easily inhibited by anxiety, which in turn changes to fear. If you have only recently learnt to type fast on a keyboard, have you ever tried typing with someone looking over your shoulder? You write badly because you are no longer in an “automatic” state. You always remember your pin number but if you have to say it out loud to someone you forget it! You are no longer in that “automatic” state. You are always so relaxed when chatting, and then you meet a pretty girl and you act like an imbecille. You go to bed with her and you can’t even have an erection. Anything that becomes “automatic” is easily altered by anxiety. This is what climbing is.Therefore more than in other sports your mind makes the difference.In every sport it makes a difference, but the more variables enter the game then the higher the need for an immediate reaction occurs, and since anxiety inhibits our ability to use our intuition, the more a sport is complex, the more anxiety can affect it.I would like to add that for everyone, who more or less, climbing has an extra factor compared to other sports. The fear of vertigo, the fear of falling.In my opinion, apart from the new generation who have learnt to climb in boulder rooms full of reassuring mats, this anxiety factor is less important compared to other subjective factors, such as competitiveness (even against oneself) or the fear to win (which can be found in many climbers who usually fall just before reaching the chain).
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