The Effects of Self-Talk on Climbing Performance

The Effects of Self-Talk on Climbing Performance

You need to talk to yourself while climbing.

It’s not enough to avoid saying negative things, but you can get measurable improvements through motivating statements.

Even better if you get your climbing partner to use this specific language.

In a study from 2014, cyclists were first tested on their time to exhaustion, meaning cycling until they felt unable to continue. And two weeks later they returned for follow-up test.

This time half of the participants were given a given a training session on positive self-talk, and given a series of motivational phrases, then told to pick four to tell themselves while cycling, such as “You can push through this.”

While the first group with no intervention performed the same, the second group with the self-talk intervention reduced their rate of perceived exertion. This means that half way through they felt like the cycling required less effort. Plus they increased their time to exhaustion.


** You might also like The Fascinating Weekly Climbing Routine of Alex Honnold**

The Top Phrase for Climbing Support

In climbing, you can often get your belayer or spotter to give you a boost and one phrase in particular stands out. When you tell your partner “I’m with you” it offers support and encouragement.

“I'm with you” can mean everything from I am watching you, to I’m patient, to I’m supportive. And it also means “I’m rooting for you”

A few more ideas from other climbers:

  1. "Just Go Up!"
  2. "Try harder" // "Get Stronger" // "Just reach it"
  3. "Where are my feet? At the end of my legs!"

Ask your climbing partner to try some of these out next session and experiment to find what works best for you.

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