Your heart rate picks up, beating loud enough for you to hear. Your limbs start shaking - first your hands, then your legs. You can’t hold on any longer, but also you’re too afraid to let go! And before you know it, you’re off the wall…falling!
No matter how you feel about falling, there’s no denying that it is an integral part of climbing. We climb and we fall - it’s just how it goes! But there is fear and anxiety attached to this that we all have to work through at some point or another.
The fear of falling can hinder us from truly enjoying our climb, especially on lead climbing when you will likely experience a bigger fall (i.e. falling a greater amount) compared to bouldering and top rope climbing.
While it is completely natural to experience this nerve-wrecking sensation when we are on the walls, we know it can be tackled with some training.
Here are three training tips you can start with to help conquer your fear of falling:
2. Practice Control Falling:
Get into a position on the wall where you are ready to let go, and then do just that - let go! This is also a great practice in trusting your belayer to catch you! You need to see for yourself that the fall isn’t going to hurt you!
Falling in a controlled setting (no matter how small the fall) is an incredibly effective way to manage your fears and how you have built-up the idea of falling in your own head.
3. Normalize your fear
Even professional climbers get scared too! Remind yourself that being scared is normal and repeat this to yourself when you’re on those walls. Fear is a natural part of any learning process. And we all know that the more we do something, the less the fear and nerves take over. So keep practicing - you got this!
Bonus tip: Build confidence in your grip strength. This comes with practice and training, but we are stronger than we think we are! It’s easy to forget what our body is capable of in the midst of fear. We hesitate to make certain moves because we are afraid to fall on a reach up to the next hold. The chance of us successfully grabbing that hold is pretty high in any other situation, but the fear casts doubts.
Recognizing that climbing is both a mental and physical game, we hope these tips help you in alleviating your fears.
Understanding alone means nothing, so implementation is key! So save this article so you can apply these tips practically on our walls when we open again.
See you on those (high) walls!