The Rock Warrior's Way: Mental Training for Climbers
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Mental training is scarcely covered in the climbing literature, yet it is as important to performance as strength, flexibility, and technique. In his unique approach to mental training, Arno Ilgner draws essential elements from the rich 'warrior' literature, as well as from sports psychology, and combines these with his extensive climbing experience to create The Rock Warrior`s Way. Here is a comprehensive program for learning how to focus your mental resources during a challenging climb. It includes step-by-step guidance on motivation analysis, information gathering, risk assessment, mental focus, and deliberate transition into action. Poor use of attention creates fear, which can manifest itself as anything from performance anxiety to sheer terror. By using attention more purposefully we can understand how fear is created, deal with it effectively, and free ourselves to get back in touch with a far more powerful motivating force--our love of climbing. We can then create the kind of unbending intention that leads to outstanding performance. The Rock Warrior`s Way is a revolutionary program for climbers who want to improve both their performance and their enjoyment of climbing.
matter. One such moment revealed how asinine I could act when driven by my Ego. I had just gotten out of the Army in 1980, having served in Korea during peacetime. I was driving through town with some friends late at night when the truck in front of us stopped suddenly—seemingly intentionally. I was sure the driver was purposely wanting to aggravate us, and I reacted by getting out of the car and angrily confronting him. Unintimidated, the truck driver also got out. I was fuming, but my emotions
stop wishing holds were better, stop hoping to miraculously make it up a climb, stop blaming poor performances on weak forearms, inattentive belayers, or global warming. We accept responsibility in order to claim power. As we accept these responsibilities, we grow to accept a great truth: life is difficult. Once we fully accept difficulty as natural and normal, we cease to be offended or daunted when we encounter a struggle or a test. We can embrace these tests as opportunities. Difficult
challenge. You are involved in a subtle dance with expectations. With rigid expectations about how you will perform, you don’t leave room for the process to unfold or for learning to take place. With no expectations, you may not hold yourself to the highest standard. It’s too tempting to take the easy way out if the climbing becomes uncomfortably strenuous. The key is to place your expectations not on a specific outcome, but on an attitude of possibility, effort, and learning. Expect that it is
the process and made it through. Why couldn’t I simply have trusted in the process the first time? Somehow I developed a weak and distracted frame of mind early on the climb. Climbing through a challenging section of rock can resemble conversation. In conversation many people stop listening to what’s being said. Their attention becomes focused on why they agree or disagree with some early remark. They plan ahead to what they’ll say next, even though their remark will probably be out of context
balanced style, and generates confidence. 2. Rock Meditation This exercise is great to include in your warm-up. Setup: Choose a route that is easy for you, either toprope or lead. Set the intention: to climb slowly and pay attention to how you are climbing. Use precise footwork, climb and breathe continuously, push with both legs, and focus on balance. By climbing efficiently and fluidly on easier routes you’ll set a tone for the day that will continue through your later efforts on harder