Mastermind is a must-read for anyone looking to improve their headgame in climbing, regardless of what level you’re currently operating at. It’s also good for psyche levels; I read it during a very wet winter which turned out to be a great help with training motivation. Some of the techniques definitely helped me to have a couple of breakthroughs on routes I’d been stuck on, and I’m looking forward to using more of these strategies over the next few months as travelling and climbing hopefully opens back up.
I almost bypassed Mastermind at first, unconvinced that yet another book on mental training for climbing would have anything new to offer. Thank goodness I didn’t; this is a really unique training manual and I’ve found much of the advice in it to be incredibly beneficial. It’s written almost as a journal, with blank sections left for you to fill in as you apply the advice to your own climbing. I loved the layout – there’s plenty of inspiring photos, and big, bold key quotes make it an accessible read. The titled journaling sections are helpful to ensure that you apply the advice specifically to your own climbing.
Mastermind has plenty of practical advice for dealing with the fears and self-doubt that everyone struggles with occasionally when climbing. Sometimes books from professional climbers can feel a bit too far removed from the ‘average’ climber to offer much help, but I found the voice here to be very down to earth and reassuring. Moffatt’s suggestions are easy to understand and apply, and he gives plenty of examples of how these techniques have helped him.
One of the parts I appreciated most was when he talks about times when he hasn’t used these strategies, and how he thinks he would have performed better if he had changed his mental approach. The honesty here makes his stories easier to relate to, and I definitely felt encouraged seeing that even a climber as accomplished as Moffatt still gets it wrong sometimes.
There’s also lots of input from other climbers which I found valuable; it’s surprisingly inspiring to see that even climbers like Ondra or Megos have bad climbing days, and helpful to see the strategies they use to deal with this. All the advice from such a range of climbers means that whatever you’re struggling with, there’ll be at least one account here that you can identify with. I’ve started to work on using different types of visualisation more after reading this, and have already seen my climbing improve thanks to using it.
(I was provided with a free copy by Vertebrate Publishing in exchange for an honest review.)
Predominantly climbing/outdoors literature, mountaineering history and nature writing.