“The brain is the most important muscle for climbing.” Wolfgang Güllich
Attention is what one is observing (hopefully not your fear or anxiety). You can think of it like a telescope. It is critical to climbing performance.
“Attention refers to the processing or selection of some information at the expense of other information (Pashler, 1998).
Focus, is the centre point of where you hold your attention.
Concentration is the ability to completely focus your attention on something for a long period of time without getting distracted.
Attention can be trained by focusing on the breath.
“Consciously following the breath is a form of meditation in which we try to become completely one with the movement………Whoever masters this can direct his attention to any sort of activity.” TKV Desikachar
“Where am I now?”
Are you at your last gear? Are you at your next gear? Are you paying attention, focused and engaged with the present moment?
Before we go on. Hold your hands in front of you, pinky to pinky and palms facing up. Slowly raise your hands towards your face until touching. Now, look through the space between your fingers. Notice how this restricts your view of the world. This is a powerful metaphor for how thought can cloud perception and it happens all the time in climbing!
Pay attention with flexibility, openness and curiosity. If you are pumped, scared or feel weak do not try and escape from it or fight it. Experience what is happening and breathe. Stay in a field of awareness. Focus your attention on your breath.
“Athletes who have trouble concentrating or who are distracted by intrusive thoughts are likely to encounter performance difficulties (Brewer, 2009).”
Be mindful. Notice when you’re caught up in thoughts, stories that might happen or emotions.
Break the circuit.
Relax face, brow, neck and drop shoulders. SMILE.
Reconnect to breathing (diaphragmatic).
Consciously breathe in – one, two, three, four, five.
Consciously breathe out, one, two, three, four, five.
Attend to tense muscles.
Relax any muscles that can be relaxed on the exhale.
Re-focus/ shift attention away from irrelevant thoughts.
Focus on what is relevant NOW. Respond to the changing demands.
Do not allow your vision to stray.
Stay with the breath to stay present.
Feel the sensations in the body.
Use the breath.
Feel the belly expanding.
“A daily mental workout where you use your breath as the point of concentration, and continually bring your wandering mind back to your breath, will bulk up your power to focus.” Daniel Goleman
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How to increase attention?
Mindfulness Breathing Practice