Alyssa Weber - ACA Athlete Profile
City/Home Gym: Calgary Climbing Centre
Current Division: Open
How long have you been climbing? 12 years
Do you have a favorite discipline? Why or why not?
For competing, I would say that I like lead and bouldering equally, and then speed climbing second. For outdoor climbing, I like bouldering more than lead climbing. I think my strengths fit to bouldering outside more and I find it more fun to have a session with a group of friends.
How often do you climb/train during the season?
I try to climb 3 days a week at the climbing gym, and also train 3 days a week at Move to Move.
Can you tell us about when you were first introduced to climbing?
When I was 12 years old, I went to a friend’s birthday party at Stronghold. I really enjoyed climbing the tall route walls and the instructor even let me climb on one of the overhanging, more challenging walls. Afterwards, I decided to try out for the junior development team, and a year after that I started competing.
Do you have a favorite memory from one of your past competitions?
One of my favorite memories from a past competition wasn’t actually relating to my climbing. It was when I was coaching a youth competition, so I got to watch instead of participating. One of my favorite things about competition climbing is the support from other competitors, even though you are competing against them. There was one competition last season where a young competitor was trying so hard to make it past a section that all other competitors easily made it past. It was because they where a lot smaller and couldn’t reach past as easily. After timing out on the wall, they were asked to come down. All the other competitors were cheering so loud during the climb, and when the climber got to the ground, they all swarmed in with a giant group hug. It is so amazing to see the support that young athletes give to all their competitors. A lot of the time the biggest cheers are given to those that try the hardest, not necessarily the ones who top the climb and win.
What aspects of competitive climbing help you in the other parts of your life?
The training aspect of competitive climbing has helped me find a balance between climbing and other areas of my life. When training for climbing, you have to train physical strength, mental strength and technique. You can’t just focus on one of those, or you’ll be unbalanced. This is very applicable to other aspects of my life because I need to balance work, climbing, and the social side of life. I started a full-time job a few months ago and at first it was as struggle to find a balance with climbing but as time went by it got easier to figure out where my balance is. It doesn’t happen easily, and it isn’t without its compromises, but just like training, you can’t do it all and you just have to focus on what will help you achieve your goals in the long run. If climbing has taught me one thing, it is that if you have a goal you really want to achieve, you have to put in the time and effort to get there.
How do you deal with a climb where you didn’t do as well as you had anticipated?
Everyone has competitions and climbs where things didn’t go as well as you wanted it to. I’ve had many of these, but I take each one as a learning experience to help me for future climbs. Like most people, I can get frustrated and upset that I didn’t perform how I wanted to, and I think it is part of the learning process. You have to take time to reflect on the situation, and that usually starts of with being frustrated. But once I’ve cooled down, I can look back and analyze what happened so that I can improve next time. If you can pinpoint what went wrong, you can incorporate new training exercises so that next time you are more prepared. What I love about competitions is that you can always find something to improve on after every one.
What advice would you give to other climbers who are starting to get into competitive climbing?
My advice to climbers who are interested in competing would be to just try it out and have no expectations. It’s a really great experience to compete in your first competition because you get to climb with a bunch of other athletes from different gyms and have fun on new problems. It can be a little scary at first, but the competitive climbing community is so supportive, so you don’t have to worry about not being the best or fitting in.