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Dreaming big is really important for every athlete, that wants to be one of the best. It’s much easier to spend all those days in the gym when one has a clear goal in their head. Nevertheless, dreaming big also comes with big consequences and sadly these consequences are not always positive. Let me tell you how this went down for me at the world cup in Innsbruck.
It was about time, that my vaccination became useful. Don’t get me wrong, it was a bonus that it was harder for me to get the virus but with the regulations constantly changing I was still not officially vaccinated until now.
The difference between being vaccinated or not feels a bit unfair. You are allowed to do things more freely, which I experienced myself during this competition.
I only had to do one PCR test, in order to register for the competition. Then I didn’t need any additional ones for the stay in the hotel or for the entry to the venue, which other competitors did. Additionally, I was also allowed to go to the restaurants and bars. Finally, all the border crossings were really simple.
The world cup in Innsbruck was the “transition” competition. This is the competition which marks the end of the bouldering world cup circuit and the start of the lead world cup circuit. Therefore, the competition was combined with both bouldering and lead world cups taking place. I was competing in bouldering only, which took place on the 24th and the 26th of June. For me, this was the first world cup with a rest day in-between the qualifications and the semi-final and final.
Lately the weather hasn’t really been “polite” with the hot temperatures and that meant that the conditions for climbing wouldn’t be easy. 114 competitors on the starting list also didn’t help much. A tough qualification round was in front of me.
Luckily because of the size of the climbing centre, there was no separate holding area this time. You were able to climb freely whenever you wanted. That allowed me to combine my usual stretching routine with some easy climbing in-between. I felt great on the wall and my mind was in the right place.
Because there were 2 groups this time I was starting early. That meant, that the temperatures might not be too high yet. With everything going according to my plans I set off to climb the first problem. I had quite a rough start, because I made a few unnecessary tries, although I knew that I was able to climb the problem, which I later did.
That was a perfect confidence boost for me and made me more relaxed and confident for the next problem. Not only did I take the confidence to the next problem, I kept it going throughout the competition. In the end that was enough to solidly make it through to the semi-final.
With one extra day off, I was excited that I would be able to start in the semi-final round with fresh skin. It was the perfect time to show my best and I felt ready!
Because I finished in 13th place after qualifications, I was starting early on. That meant I would have a slight advantage as I would avoid the hot afternoon sun.
Warm-up was smooth and I was ready to start climbing. At the start I felt a bit “rusty” but I soon started waking up and my climbing was suddenly really good. I felt light on the wall and I was able to climb hard stuff. The show was about to begin and it was time to get in the right mindset.
Just like that the wait was over and I was standing in front of the 1st problem. I immediately noticed the sea of small footholds… the exact thing that didn’t really go well in America and the thing I practiced the most in the last 3 weeks. I simply froze. I guess I got scared of not doing well and that definitely resonated in my climbing. My confidence was lost right there on the spot… I had to try to recover mentally, forget the current problem and focus on the next one. I knew it was going to be hard.
The 2nd problem was fairly simple but I needed 4 tries to put the moves together. It felt quite frustrating topping the problem knowing how easy it was, once you did things correctly. From here on things went sideways.
My climbing the last two problems was disastrous. The 3rd problem, which proved to be fairly simple with the right method was too much for my head. I had the wrong beta and that cost me. Additionally, it made me frustrated because reading the beta is usually my strong point.
At that point the only thing I was really doing was fighting with my own thoughts and I just wanted everything to be over. This was visible in my climbing on the last problem. Again, I made a few bad tries and by the time I finally figured out the right sequence I was too tired to put everything together. I managed to reach the zone which only a few people did. That showed that while I’m physically ready, I still fall apart mentally… One more reason to be disappointed with my performance.
The semis left me feeling empty. Usually, I would know what went wrong but not this time. I simply didn’t know why I was so out of tune and scattered.
You can check the full results here: https://www.ifsc-climbing.org/index.php/world-competition/calendar/?task=resultathletes&event=1193&result=3
Thoughts and lessons learned
If I was to tell you what I was thinking about right after I finished with my climbing I’d say: “I have no idea but I just felt absent”. I had quite a few conversations about my performance and even then, it took a few days to put the pieces together and find something that I could work on and fix for future competitions.
Before I continue, let’s talk about my personality type. Everyone who has spent some time with me knows that I’m a bit of a “control freak”. I have a mental box for everything and I like to keep my boxes tidy. The love for my boxes is unconditional and I always look out to add even more boxes to my already “enormous” collection.
This is generally a good trait but, in my case, but it can sometimes hinder me. The basic idea is that it’s good to have a lot of boxes, because they make your life more organised, but it’s important, that you clearly decide which ones to focus on at a certain time. If you focus on too many at once, you confirm the saying: “Jack of all trades, master of none.”. More on this here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jack_of_all_trades,_master_of_none
I think that most of time, this ability really helps me to do my best and push myself further. It also helps me to clearly see my priorities. For me the most important things right now are climbing, my project, called WayUp and spending time with my loved ones. However, I sometimes forget that at competitions the most important thing is to just focus on competing.
A box I’ve been trying to tick and “tidy up” this time was “success”, which is really important but it only comes when all the other boxes are tidy and everything is in sync. Since coming from the world cup in America I knew that all my boxes are finally tidied, except for the “success” one. I wanted the world cup in Innsbruck to be the time to tick that box.
I knew that qualification round was going to be tough but I also knew that I was ready. In the end I climbed well with some minor mistakes. With a whole day off my subconscious wandered to ticking the “success” box. On the day of the semi-final, I felt okay and without any pressure but I lacked the desire to top every problem out there. For me it was just about making it to the finals and the thought of not ticking that ‘’success’’ box scared me.
It was that fear that stopped me from climbing my best. I wasn’t relaxed and my climbing was stiff. The reality is that there are so many strong athletes competing at the world cup that there is simply no room for fear. You need to want that top and be ready to leave everything out there on the mats!
My thoughts have defeated me once again and just like that one more world cup has passed, and I didn’t make the most of it. It feels frustrating that I need to experience all of these mistakes on my own skin in order to learn a lesson.
The lesson to learn is: “If you know you are ready, it’s time to stop overthinking things and simply do your thing. That thing is to climb!”
There you go, another piece of my mind on the Internet. I feel relieved, now that I put that out of my system. Hopefully this helps someone to avoid making similar mistakes. Let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this in the future. Feel free to hit me up on my social media or simply below in the comments.