I’ve been on the go for nearly a month and a half now. And there’s not really much of a break in sight. But I’m not complaining. Life is a whirlwind and being a ‘twenty something’ I struggle with where I’m going and what I want nearly every day. Therefore living the ‘dream’ as some would call it isn’t something I can complain about. It’s a blessing that I get to travel, learn and be involved in so many lives around the world through climbing.
I’ve been coaching much more than climbing recently. Summer is a busy season for coaching training camps and such. I really enjoy what I do…especially when I seem to make a difference in an athlete’s life whether it has something to do with climbing directly (helping them get over the fear of falling, for example), or with life in general (sometimes we all just need someone to listen). Coaching these training camps is also very taxing and mentally exhaustive. It not only requires me to have enough energy to keep myself going, but also to feed the athletes who might be feeling a little down or tired. It requires me to keep my attention on what is going on so as to ensure everyone is safe. It requires patience, great communication, and empathy, among other skills. It requires me to put my life on a temporary hold and put every single athletes above myself each and every day for the duration of the camp. All of this is worth it to me because if I make a difference for even a single athlete then I can go home confident that coaching is definitely worth my time. Knowing that I made a difference allows me to feel confident that I gave 100% of my energy to those athletes.
There’s way more to coaching than just saying “don’t do that, do this instead.” Obviously. But the less obvious part, for others, is that I learn and rediscover things about life through my coaching as well. It’s a beneficial time for all involved, at least for those who really pay attention.
- Every single individual on this planet has their own story. We are all alike in that we are trying to discover who we are, what we want, and how to get there. We might all, as climbers, be striving to reach our goals to win Nationals, climb 5.11, V12, summit Mt. Everest, or send that blue route in the gym. But once we leave the crag, descend from the mountain, or leave the gym we are faced with life. Climbing is one little facet of what makes us who we are.
- I felt aged last week when discussing music with some of the kids I coach here in Boulder. I don’t remember the song, nor the artist of discussion, but I do remember the song coming out when I was in approximately middle school. To my surprise the kids hadn’t heard the song before, but even more demoralizing was the fact that some of them weren’t even born when I was in middle school. I don’t even consider myself that ‘old’ and reality is that I guess moments like this will only get more frequent.
- I always tell athletes to not shy away from things that are difficult for them. We only improve our climbing, and our lives for that matter, by reaching outside of our comfort zones by trying that slopey boulder, or going in for a new job interview. Being slightly uncomfortable, as long as you’re safe, is growth. I didn’t podium at Nationals this year by training ‘comfortably,’ and I’m not going to get into a graduate school program by taking the easy road. It’s beneficial for us to take that bumpy road sometimes.
I could go on and on, but perhaps the other things I’ve learned/rediscovered need to sit in my head and on my heart just a little longer.
As for what’s coming up next, I’m competing in the Psicobloc Deep Water Soloing competition next week in Salt Lake City (http://psicocomp.com/index.php). I’ll write more than ‘I’M SCARED OUT OF MY MIND’ later…