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Vertical Mind: Psychological Approaches for Optimal Rock Climbing by Don McGrath and Jeff Elison (2014) Paperback Paperback – 2014
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In Vertical Mind, Don McGrath and Jeff Elison teach rock climbers how to improve their mental game so they can climb better and have more fun. They teach how the latest research in brain science and psychology can help you retrain your mind and body for higher levels of rock climbing performance, while also demonstrating how to train and overcome fears and anxiety that hold you back. Finally, they teach climbing partners how to engage in co-creative coaching and help each other improve as climbers. With numerous and practical step-by-step drills and exercises, in a simple to follow training framework, your path to harder climbing has never been clearer. If you are a climber who wants to climb harder and have more fun climbing, then Vertical Mind is required reading. Well, what’s stopping you? Pick it up and get training today!
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Usually, when someone offers advice, what they are really leading with is "be more like me". While that can be useful, it often doesn't translate to a richer understanding. Vertical Mind instead leads with "here's the current science of how our brains and our neural pathways work" and then proceeds to link the science with the authors' understanding of the climbing game, with a partial bias toward hard sport climbing. Whereas we have all (?) heard suggestions to take practice whippers, write down beta, climb with motivated partners, etc, this book explains in very simple terms the neurobiology behind why these habits can help, why other habits might hurt, and what we need to do as individuals when we recognize a need to change a habit.
It's fascinating stuff. It applies to climbing, and to much more than that.