A lot of the time we fail on climbs, the reasons are mental not physical.  Yet as climbers, when it comes to training, we focus almost exclusively on increasing our physical abilities and put very little to no energy into honing our mental skills.  However, if you think about your hardest sends, you’ll probably remember a feeling of total concentration during which you were completely in the moment and were free to execute.

To help you improve your mental game and get to this performance mental state more often, here’s an article by coach and trainer Eric Hörst of Training for Climbing that outlines five strategies for sharpening your concentration when climbing.

“Knowing the importance of concentration to effective risk management and optimal performance, it’s essential that you step onto the vertical stage armed with techniques to fortify mental focus. Developing unbreakable concentration, however, takes a long-term commitment to gather and maintain focus every time you climb. In fact, improving concentration requires a comprehensive effort to reduce distractions and properly direct focus in all aspects of your life. You can’t just turn on a high level of concentration while you climb; you must also learn to wield your concentrative powers at work, at school, and in doing all other important tasks.” – Eric Hörst

Five Strategies For Better Concentration:

As Hörst points out, these strategies are not specific to climbing and can be applied to all facets of your life.  However, just as avoiding procrastination at school or work will lead to dramatic increases in productivity, avoiding distractions and mastering concentration when climbing will result in dramatic increases in performance.

Hörst five strategies are:

  1. Deal with potential distractions before you climb
  2. Use rituals
  3. Use self-talk to direct the conscious mind
  4. Keep your eyes on task-relevant targets
  5. Keep your thoughts in the moment

Click through below to read more about these five strategies and how you can use them to improve your mental game when climbing.

Remember, climbing is an extremely challenging sport mentally. While it can be tempting to simply focus on trying to get stronger and stronger, the best climbers not only train themselves physically, but also ready themselves mentally so that once they get on the rock they are free to put forth the best performance they are physically capable of.

Full Article: Five Strategies to Sharpen Concentration When Climbing

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(photo by Edwin Teran | @edwinteran; climber: Lani Gordon)

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