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Redpointing: The Importance of the Pre-Send Routine

Develop a ritual to ground you in the moment

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After we’ve worked a route, we’re ready for redpoint burns. A routine guides our attention in predictable ways and gives us confidence as we move toward an unpredictable and stressful redpoint. Doing a pre-send routine requires our full attention. This is not the time to be thinking about the upcoming effort—that’ll only stress us out, and we should have laid the groundwork by now anyway. Instead, we focus completely on the routine to prepare ourselves for the upcoming effort. Our routine will include putting on our equipment, centering ourselves, and doing a safety check.


Redpointing Arno Ilgner Pre-send ritual sport climbing visualization
Once you have your gear squared away as part of your pre-send routine, you might also take a moment to look up, breathe, and picture the sequences above you before going into a final safety check, then launching.Tory Powers

It’s important to keep consistency with our gear—shoes, harness, chalk bag, draws, helmet, rope—so we focus on known variables we can control. We’re also consistent in how we put on our gear, doing so in the same way, in the same sequence, each time so that we’re sure we have all the gear we need and that it’s donned correctly. If we’re not attentive to each step, then we may end up feeling distracted while climbing. We may wonder if we brought enough quickdraws, tied our shoes tightly enough, or tied into the rope correctly. Focusing completely on our routine will help us shift our focus effectively to climbing when it’s go time.


Redpointing Arno Ilgner Pre-send ritual sport climbing centering
Taking some small action to ground yourself, such as holding a rock and feeling its weight and texture in the palm of your hand, is a great way to quiet redpoint jitters.Tory Powers

Centering ourselves includes doing whatever helps us to feel grounded and present. Some climbers like to grab holds at the base of the route; they see the shape, color, and orientation of the holds, and how their fingers grab them. They also feel the texture of the rock and its temperature. Doing this engages their attention in the body and senses, and centers them. I like to hold a small stone in my hands for the same purpose. What’s important is to do something that gives you a sense of being present.

Safety Check

Finally, tie into the rope and do a safety check, crosschecking your partner and having her do the same. Now, it’s time to climb!

Want more tips like these to take your climbing performance to the next level? Then check out our Art of Redpointing online education course, with mental-training expert Arno Ilgner and pro climber Heather Weidner. Unlock pro tips and world-class advice, including physical and psychological training techniques, becoming comfortable falling, linking sections, and overcoming frustration. Learn to embrace the process and climb harder and smarter than ever. Register now to save 50%.

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