I think climbers have an especially good understanding of how both mental and physical conditioning play a big role in overall performance. As climbers, we understand that being strong isn’t enough to create a great climber. We are in a sport that requires intensive mental control and focus; just a slight lapse in concentration is enough to loose that essential body tension you were holding.
So the question is, if we climbers have such a good understanding of the mental and physical components necessary to climb better, then why do we continue to only focus on improving the physical aspect of it? We train harder, climb more, do more reps, and life more weights, while we do close to nothing to prepare ourselves for the mental part of the game. Seems kind of silly don’t you think? To neglect something that has such a huge impact on performance….
Perhaps it’s because it’s such a difficult thing to measure. It’s hard to measure if you are more focused than you were before, or if your mindset is better than it was yesterday, whereas for physical training it’s easy to measure something like holding on longer. Well, we are going to have to get over this and just trust that practicing proven mental techniques WILL improve climbing performance. One effective mental technique that is used religiously by professional athletes to enhance performance is visualization. Visualization is so effective that professional athletes are relying more heavily on it and making it a regular part of their training.
Visualization is the simple technique of using your imagination and thoughts to improve your state of mind. With consistent practice this can result in HUGE success. Eventually, you will be able to improve your confidence and your awareness, which I’m sure you will agree are both great assets.
Just think. How do you think you would climb if you were at a sketchy part of a climb but you where guaranteed to have a safe landing? You’d probably really go for the move without any hesitation. So, wouldn’t it feel amazing to be able to climb with this level of confidence all the time? Um. YES! Mindset is everything and you can tap into its power with just a bit of patience and proper practice.
Here are some tips to keep in mind to make sure you get the most out of your visualization training:
- Make your thoughts as detailed and vivid as possible. Don’t just think about executing the moves, but focus on exactly how you execute them. What is every part of your body doing as you make each move? What do you see? What do you hear? What does it feel like to make the move? You want to get yourself in the exact state of mind that you would be in as if it were already reality.
- Visualization will only be effective if you know exactly how to execute the problem at hand. If you visualize yourself performing the crux of a climb that you don’t actually know how to complete then it’s not going to help you. Likewise, visualizing skills that you don’t know how to execute yet is also useless. For example, if you can’t campus but know that you need to campus through a part of the climb, well, unfortunately visualizing it is not going to make it happen.
- Practice often. The more time you put in the more you’ll get out of it. Just keep in mind that it’s not something that happens overnight. Train you mind, be persistent, and reap the benefits later.
- And most importantly, trust that this technique has the power to make a difference in your performance. If you don’t believe that this technique can help you then don’t bother trying it, it will just be a waste of your time. Plain and simple.
There you go! Start using these tips to enhance your confidence and motivation! Then you just have to combine it with all that physical training you’re already doing and your all set to CONQUER!
Do you currently practice any mental training? Let me know below!