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Book Review: Maximum Climbing by Eric Horst
When I first read the title Maximum Climbing, it made me want to read it cover to cover as soon as I had it in my hands. Eric Horst, who I consider a climbing guru has been climbing for over thirty years and who has trained many a successful climber, has written yet another reference book for climbing that can take you to the next level.
Initially, I thought that it would be a training book that would focus more on the physical aspects of climbing, but as I dove deeper into the pages, I realized that this text was all about successfully maximizing your brain use throughout the whole process of climbing, training and even life!
Horst breaks the book down into three main parts (I have paraphrased):
1. Your brain,
2. How to develop your brain,
3. Programs of brain training techniques to adopt and adapt for your own life.
Each portion offers tips/strategies for the reader to include in not only their daily lives, but especially into their climbing lives. For me, I was struck with an inner happiness that I was doing what Horst has suggested in order to live a happier life and reach my personal potential as a climber.
There are plenty of technical terms in part 1 which strengthen and detract. I know many climbers who just want the information in layman’s terms rather than the technical jargon. They trust that the author has done their homework. I am one of those guys who appreciates the technical jargon and who will use it later in life as inquiring minds want to know the why behind what we should be doing.
Part 2 is the meat of the text and should be highlighted and reread often. The topics range from self-awareness, to goal setting, to improving your concentration and focus. For many people the managing fear and behavior modification will be sections that you reread and practice over and over.
Part 3 is the chapter that brings it all together. After reading it and reflecting upon the way that I approach my climbing and life, I realized that I can find many parallels in what Horst is saying in my own life. By using goal setting, visualization before and after climbing, and having a positive mental outlook not only about sending a route, but in life you can refocus, eliminate waste and negative feelings and focus all of your mental energy on your chosen route or path.
The message of the book is simple is simple; the challenge is to live and breathe it. Horst mentions those climbers who have accomplished great things including his conversations with Todd Skinner and makes the realization that Todd’s greatness came from the way he approached life, not that he was an extraordinary athlete by birth.
In conclusion, there are three factors that make a great climber. In no particular order, I believe that there is the physical, mental and technical aspect. By not addressing all three, a climber will never reach their personal limit. This book offers the power of understanding how to harness your mental game and take it to a new level.