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Competition Tips – Controllable Factors and Preparation Strategies
Erin Boyd

Adam Strong during Bloc on the Rock 2017

Comp day can be emotional and overwhelming even for the most seasoned competitors. Try to focus your thoughts on factors within your control. Worrying about factors that you can’t control will only stress you out. Focusing on factors you can control will help you feel calm and prepared as you go into your comp.

Here are some examples of uncontrollable factors in a competition:

  • You can’t control how good a sleep you get the night before.
  • You can’t control which routes and problems are set for the comp. If they feel hard, they are hard for everyone. If they aren’t your style, worrying about this will not change them.
  • You can’t control how well everyone else is going to climb.
  • You can’t control how busy and loud the gym is.
  • You can’t control how many people are in your division.
  • You can’t control how much climbing time you have.

Here are some examples of controllable factors in a competition:

  • You can control what time you go to bed the night before.
  • You can control your attitude.
  • You can take breaks during your competition if you are feeling overwhelmed.
  • You can control how well you feed and hydrate yourself.
  • You can control how much rest you take in between climbs.
  • You can control how much route-reading you do before attempting a climb.
  • You can control your time-management.

Sarah Spurrell during Bloc on the Rock 2017

Comp preparation can start months before a competition, but there is more to it than just training hard. Here are some things you can do to prepare during the week leading up to a competition:

  1. Rest – You’ve worked hard to get ready for comp, but make sure to give yourself a few rest days this week so you are at your strongest for comp day!
  2. Hydrate – being properly hydrated is crucial to performing at your peak but dehydration can’t be remedied in a day. Try to drink a few extra glasses of water every day (and even more on days that you are physically active).
  3. Self-Care – use a foam roller, lacrosse ball, tennis ball or anything else you can roll on. Roll out your muscles, focusing on areas that are tight and full of knots. Stretching and taking a bath are also great ways to help your muscles relax.
  4. Relax – While it’s normal to feel a little nervous going into a competition, the whole point is to have fun. And you will perform better if you are relaxed and focused. Do something fun that will help you relax!

Tyler Blacquire during Rockfall 2017

Here are some things you can do the day before:

  1. Prepare your gear – Lay out your clothes, fill your chalk bag, and clean your shoes (scrub the rubber clean with an old toothbrush and warm soapy water).
  2. Move around – do some light activity to loosen up, relax, and help you get a good night’s sleep.
  3. Keep hydrating!
  4. Watch some videos of climbing comps to psych yourself up!
  5. Make sure to get a good night’s sleep!

Good luck to everyone competing at Rockfall! I am stoked to see everyone trying hard and having a blast!!

Erin Boyd is a coach for the Newfoundland Junior Climbing Team. She also coaches the adult training program at Wallnuts Climbing Centre.




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About the Author: Leo van Ulden