Grasping a skinny rope and doing a pull-up takes a lot of grip strength—just the thing you’ll likely lack after falling off the route. Try pumping with your legs to build a bit of momentum, as you would on a playground swing. If you still can’t boink, a small rope-grabbing device (like a Petzl Tibloc) will help; place the device and a quickdraw on the rope above you, and use the draw as a handle.
THE BELAYER’S ROLE
Nothing is more frustrating than boinking with a bad partner. The boink only works if the belayer takes in slack at the exact moment that the climber releases the rope. It’s seldom possible to manually reel in enough slack. Instead, while locking off with an assisted-braking belay device, lean back and scoot away from the wall to take in slack.
Caution: the boink creates slack so fast that you can find yourself on your butt as you lean back: This is bad because a) it’s embarrassing, b) you might get hurt, and c) you may lose traction and slide toward the wall, losing the precious inches of height your climber has gained by boinking. Watch for obstacles, and wear sturdy shoes. Good communication helps: Have your partner count “one, two, three” while she swings, and then boink on the count of “three.”
If you’ve given a “soft catch” belay and are suspended a few feet off the ground, you are in a perfect position for boinking. Simply lock off the rope and let gravity do your work when the leader attempts his boink. If you’re so light that you do not provide enough counterweight, have a friend pull you toward the ground when your climber is boinking.