How to Build Your Confidence as a Climber

By Jillian Janssen and Jeff Janssen, Authors of The Climber's Journal

Confidence is essential as a climber.

You must believe in yourself and your ability to go for big moves and climb tough routes. Without confidence, you have little chance of being successful.

The tricky thing about confidence is that it is super fragile. You might have it on one part of a climb but then struggle to find it at the crux of the problem.

Because confidence is so hard for most people to create and sustain, it is critical to understand how to build it. There are four primary sources you can use to build your confidence or that of your climbing partner.

1. Strengths

Focusing on your physical, mental, and tactical strengths is especially good to build your confidence. Consider the things that you do particularly well: things like great core strength, work ethic, high climbing IQ. Focus on and feel good about those.

2. Past Successes

Remembering past successes is another effective way to build your confidence. If you have done it before you have the right to believe you can do it again. If you are facing a tough climb composed primarily of volumes, think of the time you flashed a tough V6 with a tricky volume sequence.

3. Preparation

The time you invest preparing, training, climbing, etc., is also a huge source of confidence. Think of all the work you have put in to improve yourself (ARC training, route intervals, visualizing, hang board workouts, practicing lead falls, etc.). You have earned the right to be confident because you have paid the price of success — especially if you have spent quality time training and in practice.

4. Praise

Finally, you can also gain confidence from the praise and compliments you receive from climbing partners, friends, family, and coaches if you are a part of team. Oftentimes their belief in you is a great way to jump start and bolster your own confidence when you doubt yourself. Just be sure you base most of your confidence on your strengths, past successes, and preparation, rather than solely looking to other people.


Whether you are an climber trying to strengthen your confidence or a coach trying to help an athlete overcome doubts and fears, use these four proven sources to create the confidence necessary to climb your best.


For more info on how to master the mental game of climbing, check out The Climber's Journal.



    Sign up for info to help your team!