Home > Life as I know it > Cheerleaders need not apply

Cheerleaders need not apply

I climb best when it is just me and the rock.  I mean, yes, my belayer is holding my rope, and I have full trust in them, but I climb best when it is just me and my inner dialogue.  Having a cheering section just throws me off and is not my style.

It seems to work  for some, the encouragement, but for me, it’s the quickest way for me to fail.  If I am going for a hard move and fully concentrating on my body position  and how I am reaching, when I hear “Yeah!  You got it!” It’s pretty much the kiss of death.  When 2 seconds earlier I think maybe I may get it, hearing the cheering fully distracts me and I don’t get it, 9 out of 10 times.  I really would not be good in a competition because of this.

I should just block this out, Dylan Barks, my friend and climbing idol is able to keep his focus and block out he crowd when he competes.  I need to learn this skill.

I don’t mind a gentle “Nice job” after working through a tough move, but please don’t shout at me at the peak of my concentration.  To me climbing is a form of meditation, it is me and the rock (or rock wall, whatever the case may be).  I strive to be fully present and in the moment.  Hearing cheers brings me back to the ground and out of body.

I mean seriously, I have enough external factors that threaten to break my concentration like an ex with his flavors of the week and such.   I just want to get to my happy place and crush it, that’s all.  I love the fact that you are trying to support me, but support to me comes in a quieter, on the DL, kind of way.   Just sayin’.

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  1. February 20, 2011 at 4:50 pm

    I fully agree with this. I like outdoors activities because they are peaceful and quiet. If I want a cheering section, I’d be a football fan. I cringe every time I go to the climbing gym and there’s a bunch of “bros” in there, hooting, hollering, screaming and grunting at each other in the bouldering cave. I am always relieved when it’s outside climbing season.

    A little encouragement is nice, but there’s definitely a limit.

  2. February 20, 2011 at 4:51 pm

    P.S. Good observation on the external factors issue. Those of us with stressful lives probably feel this way more than those with less things to worry about!

  3. February 20, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I usually agree with you! However, sometimes I appreciate the cheerleaders when I’m distracted by fear on a route because hearing someone cheer distracts me from my fear and helps me refocus on the climb….
    Hopefully that makes sense 🙂

    • February 20, 2011 at 6:12 pm

      I see your point, on an outdoor lead climb that was at or above my level I might appreciate the fear-distraction too! Plus I would know my belayer was paying close attention and right there with me.

  4. February 20, 2011 at 10:01 pm

    It depends for me, sometimes I like a bit of cheering if it really is that (versus spraying unasked for beta at me).

    I definitely like feeling like people are pulling for me. That can be expressed by them just watching me quietly or a nice congratulations afterwards just as well as them cheering me on during the climb though.

    In terms of getting in the zone, I find I can usually achieve that whether or not someone is yelling. Perhaps it was my orchestra training that helps with that or just growing up with loud siblings and cousins 😛

  5. February 20, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    Nice! Should have taken orchestra!

    A high 5 or pounding it out at the end is always nice!

  6. February 21, 2011 at 1:50 am

    I think it depends for me as well. If I’m starting to get a little hesitant b/c of fear, it definitely helps to hear some cheering (a well-timed “I’m with you…” from my belayer is like music to my ears!)

    But then other times I feel like I’m so focused on my climbing that I think a plane could buzz right over my head and I wouldn’t notice it. It all depends on where my head is on that particular day.

    • February 21, 2011 at 2:24 am

      Makes sense! I guess I was just thinking about my recent experience climbing (attempting) a 5.11. I was going for a tricking move, breathing, keeping my body in check; I just grasped it, and then the yells which were totally meant to be helpful, made me think about if I could do it or not and once I started thinking, I fell!

      So honestly, I know it is well meaning, and I appreciate it, but I guess for me the timing is crucial!

  7. February 21, 2011 at 3:42 am

    Ha true, timing is critical! I’ve fallen off (just a boulder problem traverse) because I laughed at a joke someone said. For some reason it filtered through when nothing else before it had. I see bouldering as more of a “cheering” situation though, versus your 5.11 example.

  8. February 21, 2011 at 3:22 pm

    I’m intrigued, Krysia! I’ve found a little encouragement goes a long way for me, though there’s a fine line between shouting out encouragement and shouting out beta, which makes me crazy. I like a few encouraging words when I’m working through tough sections; it shows me my belayer is paying attention, and knows me well enough to know what parts of the climb are hard for me. This is just one more testament to how important it is to know your climbing partner – everyone’s different! I’ll remember this if/when we climb together 🙂

  9. February 21, 2011 at 5:42 pm

    Haha, I was just thinking about this and my first thought was that I seem to only get the cheering section on routes that are really easy for me that I’m doing on TR.

    On second thought this makes no sense, and actually it probably means that if I’m leading or doing something difficult I get distracted by the climbing. So I apologize to any cheerers/belayers/bystanders for ignoring you while I’m climbing, or not cheering for you when I’m belaying. I’m not trying to be rude, I just prefer to pay attention to one thing at a time.

    • February 21, 2011 at 7:58 pm

      Right! When I lead belay, I am paying so close attention to how they are doing/ trying to anticipate a fall, that I only give a quiet “nice job” when they make it through. Not during because I am so focused on them~ guess I don’t like to multi-task either!

  10. February 21, 2011 at 10:32 pm

    That said, the “great job!”, “you can do it!” stuff is kind of funny/annoying sometimes. The internal monologue is kind of “what? why do you feel the need to say that? I already know I can do it, do I look like I’m having a hard time?”

  11. February 21, 2011 at 10:41 pm

    I like to know my belayer is on the job and not shirking off, and so a calm “You got it,” “or, Breathe” or whatever before I whimper out a “Watch Me” is appreciated. But the same thing is really unwanted when it isn’t really clear that I got it at all, and my breathing is bordering on hyperventilation.

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