Ever since the British Champs I've been trying to think about where I have gone wrong over the years when I have been competing (and whilst trying hard projects on rock for that matter).
After every competition (with the exception of only two internationals and one BBC) I have felt like I either didn't climb my best or just shouldn't have turned up at all.
Originally, my poor performance was down to naivity, as I didn't realise that in an onsight comp you had to read the problems. I used to just pull on and see how far I would get, which was nowhere. I was quite quickly able to sort this out and started doing a little better, but not that much.
With the benefit of hindsight, it has become clear that the times I had climbed badly I had always put pressure on myself to do well. I used to think that this was purely because I was trying to prove my worth in front of my peers, but it has become more apparent over the last few years that I believed that my life would somehow magically change for the better, if only I could get a good result just this once.
The other main reason for climbing and performing poorly has been down to training really hard prior to a comp, setting new personal bests and then believing that the hard work was over and somehow the boulder problems would feel easy. I couldn't have been more wrong, the hard work always takes place during the competition.
My best results have been when I have not been in my best shape physically and have given everything that I have on the day of the Competition. This has been down to a mixture of the lack of pressure on myself (not expecting to place well), not worrying about how anyone else is getting on and therefore not expecting my life to change at the end of the Comp. This allowed me to focus one hundred percent on reading the problems, enjoying myself and being able to concentrate on the most important thing, which is simply the act of getting from one hold to the next until you top out.
In summary, the times I have climbed well, my brain has (quite unintentionally) been de-cluttered and this has proved to be the most important factor.
Besides, if you want your life to change for the better, you have to work for it, not climb for it.