If you occasionally struggle with the fear of falling, then this podcast is for you!
While the fear of falling is most acute among beginner and intermediate climbers, it's a fact that advanced climbers and the pros also experience a bit of falling fear from time to time. After all, fear is an important self-protective response—the goal, then, isn’t to eliminate fear, but to manage it…which is the focus of this podcast.
My Lithuanian friends, Dei and Ben, have created a series of excellent YouTube videos (called “Day in Nature“) with the common theme of exploring the fear of falling. I was happy to join Dei and Ben (and their YouTube channel viewers) for this online coaching session, in which I answer their fear-related questions and share a variety of mental training tips to better manage fear and advance their climbing ability. No matter if you're an indoor climber, boulderer, or sport climber, I trust you'll find some useful tips and techniques to address your unique vertical-world concerns and fearful experiences.
Ultimately, learning to expertly manage fear is a long-term endeavor—there are no quick fixes—and so I hope this hour-plus-long podcast will help kick-start your journey to becoming a more confident, in-control, and courageous climber!
1:07 - Introducing Jerry Moffatt's MASTERMIND!
2:04 - Eric's intro to coaching the fear of falling.
3:45 - Beginning discussion with Dei & Ben of "Day in Nature"
5:00 – The goal of controlling fear rather than letting fear control you!
10:00 - Legitimate fears vs. phantom fears.
11:30 - The importance of taking practice falls (in a very safe, controlled setting).
13:40 - How to combat fears of the rope getting cut...or a bolt pulling out.
18:45 - Developing the skill of managing fear is a long-term process....that takes effort over months & years.
19:30 - Why do some people conquer fear faster than others?
22:30 - A look inside Alex Honnold's brain (via MRI)...and his "quiet" amygdala.
27:23 - How to handle fear of runouts between bolts?
31:24 - Value of reading books on mental training (such as Warriors Way, Maximum Climbing, MasterMind).
37:00 - Mental training should be comprehensive...and not just focused on managing fear. This is a rich area with potential for huge breakthroughs in performance!
38:12 - Mental training literally changes your brain (neuroplasticity).
38:30 - Using breath-focused meditation as training (at home) and for performance (at the crag).
40:50 - For expertly skilled climbers, further improvement often comes down to mental training...and getting stronger!
41:15 - What about grabbing the rope (or quick draws) when falling?
43:10 - Tips for returning to climbing after an injurious fall.
48:45 - Why are children often less scared of falling than adults?
53:10 - What about fear when clipping the second bolt of a route?
56:23 - How to assess a fall…determining a "safe fall" vs. a dangerous fall situation?
59:55 - What about climbers who never fall (because they climb so far below their maximum ability)? How much harder might they be able to climb by becoming willing/able to fall?
1:03:50 - Who was the most fearful that I've ever coached or climbed with?
1:06:00 - The difference between Anxiety vs. Fear.
1:07:01 - The importance of "mete-cognition"...for improving your mental game and performance (in anything).
1:08:45 - Recognizing and breaking fear "triggers".
1:10:16 - Just as you train your muscles with exercises...it's essential to use mental training exercise to strengthen your mental muscle!
1:12:20 - My two favorite mental training exercises are....
1:14:44 - How to do effective visualization? (Hint: It must be more than just a mental rehearsal of sequence!)
1:16:30 - Closing comments by Dei & Ben.
1:17:30 - Eric wraps up podcasts...and asks YOU to share it with a few friends!
Music by Misty Murphy