Mental Skills: Making a Champion

There has been much research into what not only makes a good athlete but what makes Champion’s stand out from the crowd. Often they have looked at the amount of physical practice and training, finding that despite equal amounts, natural champions still end up on top. What research points to is that to make a champion, you need various mental skills that enable equal physique to be used to a much greater effect. The argument being that in order to make a champion you need to concentrate as much energy on training those mental skills and you do the physical and technical.

Williams & Krane (1993) highlight several key mental ingredients for champions including self-regulation of arousal, high self confidence, appropriate focus and concentration, positive preoccupation with sport, determination, commitment and that the athlete is in control. They also suggest for an athlete to achieve peak performance they go onto suggest several commonly used mental training techniques which are

  • imagery,
  • goal setting,
  • thought control strategies (self-talk, CBT, Hypnosis),
  • arousal management techniques,
  • well-developed competition plans,
  • coping strategies and
  • pre-competition mental readying plans.

    Whilst in climbing the physical side of training has been looked at extensively, in climbing the mental training techniques have been overlooked. One of the aims of this blog is to highlight many of these mental training techniques.

    Williams, J and Krane, V (1993) Chapter 11 Psychological Characteristics of peak performance in Applied Sport Psychology: Personal Growth to peak performance, Ed. William, J. CA, USA, Mayfield Publishing Company.

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