You Should Probably Just Try Harder

By Kris Hampton

Natalie tries harder than you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.   Photo by Chris Fenzelino

Natalie tries harder than you EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.   Photo by Chris Fenzelino

How often do you give 100%? REALLY give 100%? I make my living coaching climbers, and I seldom see a climber try their hardest.  Myself included.

I like things to feel easy. I want it to look smooth. Effortless. 

Not long ago, near the end of a season, I realized I hadn't had to fight for a single route. I chose routes that were easy enough to not require a battle, or I worked the more difficult ones into submission, until it was harder to make a mistake than it was to send. 

I got soft.

Bouldering always felt hard for me. I could do V9 in a few tries, but not V10. Why?

I just wasn't trying hard enough.

I spent my next training season almost solely on an 8' wall, where all of my projects took maximum effort just to pick my ass up off the pads. Simply creating momentum was reason to celebrate, but the hate crimping required for every problem brought back the game face. 

Power Company Hate Crimping

I sent three gym problems that season. Three. 15 total moves over 12 weeks. It hurt my fingers, and it hurt my feelings.

Those 15 moves asked more of me than any of the thousands of moves I had done on any route I had climbed.

A few weeks later, I sent my first V10. It didn't go perfectly. I had to battle. A few weeks later, I did another. Still another fight. I actually punched myself in the jaw during the topout, but that's another story. More followed.

Across the country, the season is here.  The training you've done the past few months will be put to the test. While you're in the gym waiting for the weekend and that next time outside, I urge you to spend some time working on trying hard. Really hard. Are you giving 100% or are you dropping off because you didn't have the hold just right? Be honest with yourself.

It feels great to float something difficult, but it feels just as good to battle through errors, bad decisions, and failing fingers to find yourself standing on top.

Kris Hampton Power Company