Motivation for sport climbing

Motivation for sport climbing

Why is sport climbing so popular? What are the challenges? Steve McClure reveals his personal motivation and gives some insight into the motivation of other climbers too.

Motivation is the single most important thing that will improve your performance. If you want to get better, you will.

What drives you?

This varies from person to person - from wanting to be better than your mate, to being best in the world - though for most people the competition is between you and the rock. Personally, my motivation comes from wanting to be at the peak of my physical ability and climbing the hardest routes I can imagine.


My motivation comes from wanting to be at the peak of my physical ability and climbing the hardest routes I imagine.

Working out moves and remaining focussed - whether redpointing or on sighting - provides a difficult mental challenge. However, once solved, success is still dependent on physical attributes like strength, flexibility and power. When climbing at your absolute limit, the physical and mental skills merge together into one controlled flow over the rock and your mind is completely focussed on just the movement.

Sport and trad climbing differ: in sport climbing, the use of hardware on the rock removes the danger element and allows you to explore the limits of your performance without the stress of potential injury. As a result, sport climbing has become extremely popular and many venues are busy social meeting spots. This can provide enough motivation in its own right, to get out and have a laugh with some friends!

Staying motivated

Often it is difficult to remain motivated without a goal. You love climbing, but what are you training for? The simple desire to improve is enough for many people, though for most setting a goal provides instant motivation. This could be to climb 7b, perform well on holiday, or redpoint a route you never dreamed possible.

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