So You Made the Competitive Climbing Team... Now What?
You made it through tryouts, and you were awarded a spot on the competitive youth climbing team! Congratulations! Now, how can you make the most of this competition season?
Come to practice ready to learn.
You made the team because you're skilled and you're strong. However, your coaches also expect you to work hard to grow as a climber. Be prepared for difficult training sessions that expose your weaknesses. Expect to confront your fears, and to exercise your anti-style. It won't always be comfortable, but it will make you a better climber.
Arrive at the gym with a positive attitude, ready to try hard. Trust that your coaches have reasons for each drill and exercise - and for the rules they enforce. Be humble and listen. Even if you think their advice won't help, follow their directions and give it a try. As the saying goes, "Trust the process."
(That being said, coaches aren't perfect - they're human. We aren't recommending blind trust. If you have a genuine concern regarding your training regimen, especially if it involves athlete safety and health, approach your coach respectfully and talk about it. A good coach will appreciate thoughtful questions and feedback.)
Embrace the challenge of team training and get psyched to improve your climbing game!
Recognize that competitive climbing is a journey, with ups and downs.
Good days and bad days are part of training and competing. Some days will be awesome: new grades topped, personal best comp placements - celebrate that! But, you will also have high gravity days when you start out excited to climb... and you don't send at the level you expect. Remember, everyone, even the best pro climber, has days on the struggle bus, and that is part of the process of improvement.
Expect highs and lows throughout the competition season. Even within a single competition, you will probably experience ups and downs. Developing the ability to recover from mistakes quickly, and to regain a focused, positive attitude is essential to competitive climbing.
When your climbing performance isn't what you'd hoped, it's natural to feel sad or frustrated. That's ok. However, don't stay sad and frustrated. Your scores do not define who you are as a climber. Learn from your experiences, put a smile back on your face, and take those lessons into your next round of climbing.
Enjoy the journey, knowing that those hills and valleys are all a part of your progress as a competitor, and as a climber.
Invest in your team community.
Everything is more fun with friends! Take the time to get to know the other kids (and parents) on your team. Get acquainted with the larger local climbing community as well. Practice sessions and competitions are more enjoyable when you are surrounded by familiar, friendly faces.
Be a supportive teammate. Notice and appreciate the energy and effort that others are putting in. Celebrate their milestones, whether it be a new v-grade achievement or a podium placement. Use your words and your actions to encourage others, and to cheer them up and on - never to put them down.
Friends will help you get through those tough training sessions and through hard days at competitions. When you are lacking motivation, your buddies can get you fired up and back on the wall. If you are the type to get down on yourself, your teammates can help you reframe your perspective - climbing is supposed to be FUN, after all!
Be intentional about building a community of mutual respect, enthusiastic support and the shared joy of climbing.
Get ready to have a great comp season!