The last headline talk by Shauna, talking about "her year 2016"  

The last headline talk by Shauna, talking about "her year 2016"  

I'm currently on my way back home from Manchester/ Sheffield and despite the fact that I'm enormously tired and exhausted from getting up at 5 am in order to catch my (early bird) flight home, I'm really happy with how everything went. Britain was a blast!

Last Saturday, the 6th Womens Climbing Symposium took place at the Depot Climbing Wall in Manchester. And wow - what an event! I had researched it beforehand and I really liked the idea and mission behind it! I was therefore really happy and honoured being able to run a talk about sport psychology in climbing and so being able to share my knowledge with other motivated climbers. My expectations were absolutely exceeded! There were more than 400 people visiting, more than 20 different workshops with different focus (steep climbing, dynamic climbing, fingerboard, crack climbing, etc.), yoga classes and talks. The motto of this year's event was "goal setting" - a motto that is a very important one in sport psychology, too. 

What is a goal? Why is it important and what impact does good goal setting have on our performance? 

I started with a visualisation exercise where everyone should reflect their own goals and imagine themselves reaching them in as much detail as possible. I was a bit worried beforehand as it turned out that the noise level was pretty high due to the amount of people and the numerous different workshops. Looking at the picture below though, it seemed to have worked well, nontheless!

There were about 200 (!) people in my talk - which was a lot for me (I can't remember having talked in front of so many people for the last time). Another thing I have to admit I was conscious about was the fact that it was my first time running a talk in front of English speakers only. I've run several workshops in English in the past, but normally the audience was mixed with hardly anyone being having English as their mother tongue. It's for sure something different and more challenging to be speaking in front of English speakers though. (I was particularly scared that I wouldn't quite understand the questions afterwards). However, my fear was unfounded,  the "challenge" worked out fine in the end and having received so much positive feedback via mails or tags afterwards was really rewarding. 

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Here's an excerpt of what we discussed: To answer the question, of how to set goals, follow the SMARTE rule!

  • S - SPECIFIC: Set a specific goal, answer all the "WH- questions"! (what, why, who, which one, how, when, where, etc.)
  • M - MEASURABLE: grade, speed time, ranking, frequency, etc.
  • A - ATTRACTIVE: Set a high, challenging goal!*
  • R - REALISTIC: Even though, your goal should be high, make sure it's realistic! (Get feedback if you are unsure)
  • T - TIME-BOUND: Set yourself a time limit, until when you want to have achieved your goal!

...and last but not least:

  • E - EMOTIONAL: Set a goal that is emotionally important to you! ("why")

* Setting an attractive goal is really important. When we are full of confidence, we can also risk setting goals that might be a bit "too high" and therefore we wouldn't reach. 

However, we might all know these times when nothing works, when we go training and our muscles are sour, when we cannot really switch off, when we are stressed at work or at home. In such times, our self-esteem and self-confidence might be not as high as normally. So what can we do? In such times, it's good if we set goals that are rather easily reachable. However, they should still be a challenge to a certain point so that we have to do a bit of work (if we are a 7b climber and we set ourselves the goal to climb a 6b route, it might be a "lower" goal than normally but it wouldn't be quite rewarding as we wouldn't need to "fight" for it or challenge ourselves in order to reach it).

When we set ourselves goals we should think about the following questions:

  • Why do we want to reach it?
  • What changes once we've reached it?
  • Why is it important to us?

After my talk, the last headline talk took place. Shauna talked about having achieved her lifetime goal this year by winning the Overall World Cup title. I'm not kidding when I'm saying that everyone was hanging on her every word! It was great to see what an impact she has as a role model in the U.K. Climbing is definitely developing fast these days and it needs people serving as role models and inspiration in order to make this development a good one.

After the symposium, I got to stay the last few days with Natalie Berry and her boyfriend Chris Prescott in Sheffield. Nat is one of my very first friends from the European Youth Series which I've known since 2005. Among others, that's one of the best thing about competing: You get to know so many great people and their friendships lasts forever! We had roast dinner with Yorkshire pudding, lots of tea and scones, had British-Indian curry, went climbing on English gritstone (goodbye skin!) and made Apfelstrudel! 

Natalie, Beth Monks (also one of my very first friends from the EYS) and me: 2005 vs 2016 - have we really changed? ;)

Natalie, Beth Monks (also one of my very first friends from the EYS) and me: 2005 vs 2016 - have we really changed? ;)

Thanks England for the great time (and hardly no rain!!!!), thanks to the Womens Climbing Symposium for having me! Hope to be coming back soon!