Visualization is a skill in my mission to climb better.I visualized my climbing career to come. Looking back, I was surprised on the outcome of my visualization one year ago. One hundred % of my goals were reached.
Everything I succeed in this past year I visualized one year ago. I left to Fontainebleau late September 2011. That summer I started climbing again at the age of 40. I had sold my house and was living in a mobile home in the Netherlands, read my earlier blog ‘Full time climbing again in your 40’s – Michel Kleinjan’. While climbing in Fontainebleau, I visualised my climbing career to come. Looking back, I was surprised on the outcome of my visualization one year ago. One hundred % of my goals were reached: I’m climbing 7a on sight again (one year ago 6b), I created opportunities to train like elite athletes. I’m active as a professional climbing trainer / coach and working with elite athletes. I’m sponsored by elite brands in climbing as Five ten, DMM climbing and Kühl clothing. My main visualization was a professional climbing athlete, using top products and coaching and training the new generation of climbers trying to push the limits of our sport. What’s bringing success? Passion. Each time someone’s asking me for training or coaching I question myself: Is this person passionate about sports and is this coaching the best I can do right now? If I can answer both questions with yes I’ll do it. Two examples: Marianne van der Steen, world cup ice climbing, 8a sport climbing, M10 ice climbing, very scary mixed climbing in the Alps. I met her a year ago. Now I'm coaching her mentally to make the right choices in her career. Maximillian Ruys, 16 years old. He asked me to train him. A talented boy and driven to train. I started training him for free in May to get him fit for his summer trip to Rodellar, Spain. After one week in Spain he climbed his first 8a. And last but not least, the blog I’m making on this site as a Five ten athlete is even beyond my imagination. So if you visualize yourself being coached by a passionate climbing coach feel free to ask. Here’s some free visualization tips:
Physical training is not enough unless you have also developed the skill to mentally prepare for the challenge ahead. Many athletes fail to embrace the advantages that good mental preparation can provide.
Visualization involves going through each step of an upcoming challenge in your head, you are watching a movie of you competing – climbing. It allows you to climb your perfect climb, to prepare for every possible eventuality in a positive and successful way. It serves to reduce the pressures of competition on the athlete while building athletic confidence. The more you practice this skill, the easier it becomes and the better you will become at your sport.
Count for 3 seconds as you inhale and 3 seconds as you exhale. Let your body relax and slowly sink into the floor as you concentrate on your breathing rhythm. Keep counting your breathing for at least 10 cycles of inhaling and exhaling.
Time to focus on your climb. Feel how strong your body is and how prepared you are. Feel the granite bite your fingertips as you warm up, note the movement and strength, feel its coolness, feel the air around you. Look to your supporters, listen to them cheer, feel how comfortable and focused you are.
3. Your thinking
Maintain breathing deeply whilst you focus on developing confident and positive thoughts. You know you have trained hard, prepared yourself well. You love competing – climbing this, is what you train so hard to do. You know you will do well.
4. Your Performance
Time to focus on your actual performance. As a climber, imagine the wall, the bolt clipping, and your supporters cheering, feel your arms powering forward, your hand clipping the final chain, doing what you want to do and appreciate your talent and potential. Take the time to go through different sequences of possible events and notice how calm you are, knowing you can do it.
Picture the finish – you feel strong and competitive and have overcome the difficult parts. Celebrate – enjoy the moment! You have done the best you can – you finished well!
6. Reflection and racing
You’ve trained your mind well – it knows what to do and does it automatically. You have rehearsed for a peak performance and your mind knows how to do it. When in a meditative state, your mind does not know the difference between reality and the imagined, so to your mind, you have executed the climb.
Visualization is an exceptional training skill so no matter where you are you can rehearse your peak performance – you only need to find a place to relax!
Sitting here writing this Five ten blog in my mobile home, stationed in a former swamp near Rotterdam, 10 minutes next to the climbing gym I’m realizing how fortunate I am. Being sponsored I got my new climbing shoes today and I was happy as a child. I got climbing shoes, tees and a beanie for free. What a day. Before I’m starting my winter training program I have two climbing trips planned: 3 day’s in September in Fontainebleau, I’m going to climb an ancient bouldering parcours: le super parcour de la montagne. It exists of 214 boulder problems, including some highballs. Not so difficult, AD+ but you have to do it in one day……we’re doing a photo shoot on it so you’ll see it. And the last two weeks of September I’m climbing a master class in Adršpach, Czech. A very traditional, sandstone climbing area. It’s forbidden to use any chalk or gear. There are some old bolds where needed, but if possible you use slings and knotted ropes as protection… Also on this trip I’m bringing a professional photographer so you all can enjoy the pictures after the trip.
So, after a year of chasing goals, hard training, reaching goals and using all the opportunities I got from my sponsors, friends, my wife and al of my climbing friends I take a weekend off. Tomorrow it will be 32 degree Celsius and Sunday 35! The swamp will be hot this weekend.
Yours, Michel Kleinjan