As physical as climbing is, it is even more mental. Being technically sound and physically strong is not enough to navigate a high-ball boulder problem, personal-best redpoint, intimidating big wall, or treacherous mountain. Ultimately, you climb with your mind—your hands and feet are simply an extension of your thoughts and will. Becoming a better climber, then, requires that you improve your mental mastery.
In this podcast, Eric describes the vital importance of concentration in a world with ubiquitous distractions conspiring to steal your focus and sabotage your performance. You will be armed with six powerful techniques for improving your concentration and, importantly, maintaining focus in stressful, painful, and fearful situations common to climbing.
0:45 – Comments on returning to outdoor climbing after COVID-19 lockdown.
1:55 – Importance of the mental game in climbing your best…and sending your project.
3:00 – Distractions are concentration- and performance-killers.
5:30 – The role of stress in climbing and life—striving to avoid stress will limit personal growth.
7:00 – Stretching boundaries is naturally stressful. Embrace it in health doses!
9:30 – In climbing, a focused mind is like having a fifth contact point…and on hard routes that’s all the difference in the world!
11:00 – The ability to maintain concentration over a long period of time is a discerning trait of peak performers.
SIX ENEMIES OF CONCENTRATION
13:10 - 1. Focusing on the mechanics of well-learned skills. Let go and
14:05 - 2. Dwelling on internal feelings and sensations of fatigue. Embrace the good pain!
15:40 - 3. Entertaining nonproductive self-talk. Be loud. Be positive!
17:04 - 4. Focusing on the past. Let go of the past. Enjoy the moment!
17:38 - 5. Focusing on the future...and potential outcomes. Let go of the outcome—let it develop organically.
18:15 - 6. Visual and auditory distractions. The world is conspiring to distract you! Specifically, what people, places, and things distract you?
SIX TECHNIQUES FOR IMPROVE CONCENTRATION WHILE CLIMBING
20:15 - 1. Deal with potential distractions before you climb.
21:20 - 2. Use rituals to narrow focus.
22:50 - 3. Use self-talk to direct the conscious mind. Be loud. Be positive!
25:08 - 4. Keep your eyes on task-relevant targets.
29:23 - 5. Keep your thoughts in the moment. Mind-body synchronization—and the Flow State—is possible only when your thoughts are in the moment!
31:25 - 6. Use willpower to narrow focus despite adverse or imperfect conditions. Use the pressure of the situation and your will power to create a laser-like focus to perform your best in the moment.
33:45 – The mental game is central to climbing your best and maximizing experience. The mental game doesn’t change from one generation to the next—the risk, the fear, and the adversity of the steep are the same…and links us to past generations of climbers. Strive to become a master of your mind.
35:30 – For a comprehensive manual on mental training, check out my book Maximum Climbing.
36:00 – Please check out and support T4C podcast sponsor PhysiVantage. Research-based, athlete-proven performance nutrition for climbers--use checkout code PODCAST15 to save 15% on your order. Used by a growing number of pro climbers and thousands of recreational climbers around the world. Give PhysiVantage a try!
Music by Misty Murphy
Follow Eric on Twitter @Train4Climbing
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