Today I have read an article 7 Habits of Highly Effective Climbers and watched Anthony climbing in 2017 World Youth Championship semi-final round in Innsbruck Austria; after all that I have decided that I want to share my advices to young climbers based on the 7 habits mentioned in the article. Not because I want to impose my sageness upon anyone, but because I wish someone told me this when I was young.
I highly recommend that you read 7 Habits of Highly Effective Climbers article first, otherwise what I am saying further on will be out of the context.
1. Have Confidence in the Process
You are still young, no one including yourself knows where your limits are. Assume no limits then, assume that everything is possible, believe that with proper training process you can achieve anything you want. All great climbers were not great when they just started, think about yourself like one who can be great one day and TRAIN HARD for that.
2. Prioritize Sleep
Think what you do with your time, be disciplined. Hard training is not possible without self discipline. Every little detail in your life actually affects your physical abilities, eat smart and sleep well. Sleeping is very crucial for recovery. Get rid of unhealthy habits like spending hours in front of TV/game console.
Recovery and rest days is as important as training days, bad recovery means you would not be able to maintain correct tempo for your muscles to improve; muscles either would not be ready to work hard or the break between workouts is too long for muscles to remember stress from the previous workout. In other words, the time between your training days/sessions must be short enough for muscles to improve; but for the short time between training sessions you need good recovery.
3. Do Something to Improve Yourself Every Day
Every day counts. You have NO TIME to spare.
Seriously. Every day give to training all 300% of what you have… and then a little bit more.
It is very easy to think when you are young that there is a lot of time ahead. Then one day you suddenly realize that the time is gone; do not make it happen to you. Every day must have a purpose, every evening you must have a plan for tomorrow.
To be competitive climber at age 16 you must try to be best climber in your local gym at age 10. Everyday counts no matter how young you are.
4. Pick the Right Partner
In the gym hang out with kids that climb well. With those kids that come to the gym to only socialize you can always talk some place else in different time.
Again, stick to those who climb better than you. Not to those who climb worse and tell you how good you climb. Do not protect your feelings by climbing with weaker climbers. But, of course, help your motivated friends who climb worse than you to improve (not just show off and brag, actually help), one day they might motivate you.
Pick the right coach. Most kids can’t train themselves well, so find yourself someone who will help you to push your limits. How to pick the right coach, the one who is going to push you? Do not pick a coach who always tells you “Good job”. Really, what is the point to train if you already doing a good job? Pick one who always points to your mistakes and tells you how to improve, the one who honestly tells you your problems. A training coach is not your mom, a coach is not there for your comfort, but for your discomfort (most of the time at least).
5. Focus on Quality over Quantity
If you came to the gym to train then train hard and smart, do not waste time talking and slacking. Training is NOT about how many hours you hang out in the gym or how many easy climbs you have done between conversations with your friends.
6. Record Everything
If you do not have a training log then you a) do not have a PLAN and b) have no way to check your progress and apply corrections. If you are training without a plan then you are fooling yourself, you are not training.
7. Do Your Research
Check how other kids of your age climb, or how famous adult climbers climbed when they were your age. Watch competitions, participate in competitions. Go places, climb with others, objectively compare yourself with others.
8. Do what works for you.
It is hard to train hard, this is why most people do not train hard. Try to find ways to enjoy training. Trick your mind into it, if needed, but find some enjoyable aspects of training.
9. Do not build up expectations.
Have high goals and low expectations. A goal is a real thing, it is a place where you want to be. An expectation, on other hand, is an illusionary place where you projected yourself ahead of time. It is painful to find yourself at a place different from where you (often unreasonably) already put yourself in your mind; avoid this pain, do not make expectations. In my life I saw many climbers being constantly in the bad mood because reality and their expectations differ, and as a result they eventually quit climbing/training. Always compare yourself with others in order to have a progress and realistic understanding where you are, but do not take it personal when someone climbs better than you, just keep training.
In the video below Anthony’s heel slips and he falls, it happens in this sport. This is definitely not what he expected on that day.