It was just about 7 months ago, in October of 2016, that I suffered an injury to my right shoulder. I forced myself to completely let it recover and stayed off the wall until I could feel that my shoulder was ready to take the stress from climbing as well as training. Some climbers would just push through an injury while continuing to climb and train because putting a complete halt to training isn’t an easy decision to make. So I ended up taking almost 3 months off of climbing entirely and only got back on the wall in January 2017.
My last competition – SP Rockmaster 2016 – before I sustained the shoulder injury. (Photo by ALEXUS GOH)
COMING BACK FROM AN INJURY
To be honest, in those 3 months, I did not do any rehab and only went to seek advice from a physiotherapist once to aid with my recovery. In those 3 months, I did quite a bit of reading about training and spent most of my time just to think about my goals and aspirations for the 2017 season. I pushed out any negative thoughts or worries with regards to climbing. All I wanted was to recover fully and come back in time for the 2017 season.
30 minutes into my first session back, and my fingers already felt raw. The body, of course, felt extremely weak and I could feel the drastic drop in physical strength. Nonetheless, I was just glad that I could finally be back on the wall again. I forced myself to not rush things, and concentrate more on strengthening the physical aspect of climbing, especially my shoulders. 2 climbing sessions were my maximum in a week, while the rest of the days at Onsight were Physical Conditioning sessions. Thankfully, Onsight have all the necessary equipment for me to strengthen my body physically and still be near the wall just so that I could take in the atmosphere and the psyche of climbing from the other climbers. Having the discipline to really focus on conditioning was definitely not easy at all. Some days I just had to force myself to head straight to the training area to finish up my sets of strengthening exercises on the TRX or simply stretching, before doing some climbing. I made sure I stayed away from any shoulder-y moves, or to get off the wall when I felt any discomfort or pain. I wanted to be careful and take things real slow.
A STRONG MENTALITY CAN GO A LONG WAY
Despite feeling weak and not being able to climb as hard, I felt more mentally motivated. I realised that in those 3 months away, just thinking about what I really want to achieve in climbing, I developed a certain mental strength which proved to be extremely beneficial in my recovery for the next few months. I just felt different whenever I’m at the gym. This may sound weird, but I felt as if I was reborn with this newly developed mentality.
About a month or so back to climbing, I could feel like my progress was faster than I expected. I could already finish a couple of yellow tapes at Onsight, and my shoulders were definitely feeling stronger. People would come up to me and tell me that they were impressed by how fast I’m actually improving even though I took a 3-month break. Of course, there were downs along the way which could have caused me to sway from having positive thoughts, but I continued to press on and concentrated on the good side of my progress. Also, simply focused on the end game – come back stronger, in time for the 2017 Bouldering Season.
As I said, A STRONG MENTALITY GOES A LONG WAY. No matter where you are at now in your climbing career, always remember to just surround yourself with positive thoughts and keep feeding on them. I can assure you that you will feel the difference within just a few climbing sessions. No matter if you’re having a bad day at the gym, and you feel like you just can’t seem to finish any problems while your peers can, take a minute or two to gather your thoughts, catch your breath and just get your focus and psyche back on. Most importantly, just keep that chin up and wear your widest smile
SMILE!! (Photo by Guo Huiping)
Thanks for taking your time to read on my journey coming back from my injury and see you guys around!!! Remember, SMILE!!!! :D