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What if my sport isn’t as good as it used to be?

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What if I'm Not as Good at My Sport as I Used to Be?

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Welcome to Tough Love. We can help you with your dating and relationship questions. Blair Braverman is our advisor, a dog sled driver who also wrote Welcome to the Goddamn Ice Cube. Do you have any questions? Write to us at toughlove@outsideinc.com.

Question 1. Question 1. I have been climbing for seven years. It’s great fun. Although I have never been able to climb in a very steep incline, I felt confident and comfortable on the rock.

Recently, I experienced a major relapse in climbing. It seems that it doesn’t have to do strength but mental / technical weaknesses. I’m afraid of climbing routes that I didn’t plan to climb. I have now scaled back my plans, and I am climbing things that are recommended to new climbers. I have trouble keeping up with my old friends when I go out on the town with people. I used to be a climber, but recently I’ve been having problems with my old partners. It is difficult to care for people who can climb better than I am and are not interested in the activities that I do.

This is not something I can do quickly, so I don’t know if it’s related to the pandemic. I think I will have to repeat the seven years of confidence-building and building skills that I did and then start again. This makes me sad, and it is hard to find joy in the things that I do. It is difficult to feel proud of something you did two years ago. My partner continues to climb very hard, and I feel terrible about having to suggest better options or not being capable of doing something. I am tired of feeling anxious and scared. I miss my old, confident, level-headed friends.

Are you able to give me some advice about how I can enjoy where I am now? Question 2. How can I retain the joy of something, when I feel worse and worse?

Question 2. Question 2. I’ve been doing circus for over a decade as a hobby, and I was in one the most wonderful periods of my life before the pandemic. I enjoyed taking circus classes and felt confident in my abilities. I even considered performing for fun. With the pandemic, all that was good about my life ended abruptly. I felt unsafe exercising in a crowded gym. A difficult school year coincided with the pandemic. I started clinical rotations as a medical student a few months after the outbreak. My general fitness plummeted. Although I’m slowly returning to my old activities, it is daunting to have made so many backward steps. Skills that were once easy to attain now seem impossible. How do you manage returning to something that you love and having to start again?

I am looking for advice on how to return to communities after witnessing them fail in the fight against pandemics. Although some circus rooms and communities did a good job of protecting the safety and health of their members, others did not do as well and encouraged dangerous activities. It is a dangerous activity and you need to trust others in order to ensure your safety. How do you manage this type of breach of faith when you return home to an activity you love?

Because they are related to a topic being questioned frequently lately, I thought I would answer them together. Shame, fear or disappointment in continuing an active at a lower level than it was before. Although the questions may not always be related to the pandemic they do seem to be related. Your life may have been turned upside-down, but you should be humble and praised for getting through it. Not criticism for not being able to prioritize all the things at once.

Although it is normal for your skill level to decline at times, that doesn’t make it any less frustrating or scary. Although it may seem impossible, if you are having difficulty with something that was once easy, you are not really starting over. The knowledge and muscle memory that you have built up over the years is worth all the effort and time spent in your sport. You will be able to regain your strength and calm down your mind much faster than someone who has no experience. It doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be rusty forever.

For the sake of argument, let’s assume you’re rusty for life – you won’t ever get back to where you were. It is more than frustration. I believe it is your expectations. The shame of falling behind, as it were, that makes it so frustrating. Recognizing shame for what it really is, a sense that you are failing rather than objective reality, can help you to return to that childlike joy you experienced when you first started in your sport. You enjoyed your sport or found it enjoyable enough to continue learning and improving. What did you love The feeling of reaching the top of a route and enjoying the view, knowing that you got there on your own? Fresh air? It’s the camaraderie you get from doing something different, beautiful, and enjoyable together.

For climbers: I recommend you visit a psychiatrist (or an exercise psychiatrist) if you don’t have one. They can help you manage anxiety and give you exercises to calm down. It is a sad fact that you will not be able to enjoy extreme sports if there is a pandemic. Your mind and body are more alert than they were before. Clinging to a rock is not an option.

What is the best way to help or guide other climbers? There are many legendary mentors and coaches around the world who can’t do as much as their mentees, but still have the experience and knowledge to help others succeed. If you don’t feel like sharing the reasons why you don’t climb yourself, you can be very vague: “I’m recovering from something” or “uh, it’s a health issue, I don’t want to go into it” is more than enough. If you don’t want to share your mental health, it is not your business. You may also find that your climbing friends can help you trust yourself and support you better. And you might discover that you are not the only one. Simone Biles was an example of this. She chose to not compete in Olympic events. This is a great act of courage and not failure.

I wish I could give a better solution for the circus performer. However, broken trust is broken trust. Circus is communal by necessity. It’s hard to say that you should pull out of your community when it is the only one you have. If possible, you should try to build stronger bonds with people who value safety and responsibility. The more open you are about your values ​​and frustrations, the more soulmates will emerge from the woodwork. You will find the right people, people you can trust, and you’ll be able to see how valuable they truly are.

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