I was out with a friend climbing the other day, and he was trying an extremely hard slab route, rumoured to be F8b/+ slab on Slate. As I took photos he climbed with confidence to the crux, however after failing several times to link through the crux he said that he couldn’t do it today, because he didn’t believe his foot would stick to the crucial hold.
Whilst it might sound a little bit ‘Matrix’-esque the fact is that self belief is a key ingredient to so many thing to do with climbing that you simply have to believe. In particular lack of belief brings about doubt and that doubt starts a negative spiral in thoughts and then actions that can only lead to failure.
The trick is to identify what doubts you are having and why, if they are irrational then try rationalising them. So my foot won’t EVER stick to that, to, my foot won’t stick to that ALL the time but it WILL stick one in every four attempts. Which to the sensible people among us would mean that in theory we to have at least 4 attempts before you start to get frustrated.
So if you find yourself saying or especially thinking things like i will never, its impossible or similar totally irrational thoughts. Shout STOP, then write down those thoughts, have a look at then at a different time and try to rationalise them.