Skip to content

Climb Smarter: Mental Skills and Techniques for Climbing

Dr Rebecca Williams

“Dr. Rebecca William’s has made mental skills in climbing accessible in her book Climb Smarter. For a sport that demands such high mental strength this book should be foundational knowledge for all climbers. Dr. Rebecca breaks down the essential principles and delivers them to the reader in a way that is tangible and practical to climbing. Every climber will be able to walk away from reading this book with a new outlook and actionable plan to better their climbing. Cheers to Climbing Smarter! “

Suzu Cornella
Summits of the Mind

An extraordinary and brilliant book, with golden insightful nuggets from the first chapter all the way through. These nuggets will help improve your climbing and quite possibly your lifestyle, taking a holistic look at the many factors which can affect our mental state, how to measure them and make changes if we feel we need to. Rebecca brings the science and evidence together in a logical way which is easy to digest. A must buy for any keen climbers wanting to get on top of their head game.

James McHaffie ~ Pro Climber
Pro Climber

As a climber and sport psychologist, Rebecca Williams’ book, “Climb Smarter”, explores her practical approach to mental challenges in a way that is easy to understand. I feel mentally stronger after reading and I can’t wait to go climbing again.

Madeline Crane
Climbing Psychology

Finding your ‘why’ – in my decades of climbing and coaching I find myself always going back to this fundamental assessment. Regardless if i was considering a scary climb, or when trying to help a frustrated athlete, “what is it that you love about climbing?” is often the central question to ask.
Rebecca Williams’ new Climb Smarter Book is of great help for any climbing related inner struggle you might have (or want to help somebody with). It is clearly written and structured and offers actionable exercises as well as case examples that help you to learn about yourself and face climbing’s mental challenges.
From life values to climbing values and back – the Climb Smarter Book is a valuable read for everyone – not only climbers!

Udo Neumann
Climbing Coach, Writer

In Climb Smarter, Dr Williams has given the climbing community a mental training guide that has everything in one text: Scientific rigor, the depth of knowledge, compassion and understanding that comes from a clinical psychologist, and the hands-on experience of a seasoned climbing coach. This text is set to become the industry benchmark by which all mental training advice can be measured. Whether your inner struggles are with confidence, motivation, falling or failing, all the tools you need to grow as a climber and a human can be found in this comprehensive guide. To really excel at climbing, training the mind needs to become a routine behaviour – and for that journey I cannot recommend this book highly enough.

John Kettle
Climbing Coach Performance Coach, WMCI

Climb Smarter is more than a sport psychology book. It is written by a climber for climbers with brilliantly specific explanations, case studies, activities and worksheets to help your mind help your body to take your climbing to the next level.

Dr Josephine Perry
Chartered Sport Psychologist,


Paperback isbn: 9781914110146
Pages: 260
Publication Date: May 6th 2022


£15.99Add to basket

Table of contents

  1. Introduction

    Section 1: Planning

    1. Psychological skills for climbing: Analysing your strengths
      and weaknesses
    2. Dreams, values and goals
    3. Sticking to your mental training plan: Habits and
      behaviour change

    Section 2: Fixing problems in your climbing: Common fears, anxieties and worries

    1. Introduction to fear, anxiety and worries in climbing
    2. Basic anxiety management for climbing
    3. Fear of falling – what to consider
    4. Undertaking fall practice indoors
    5. Adapting falling practice for outdoor sport climbing, bouldering or trad
    6. The social side of climbing
    7. Other common worries and fears

    Section 3: Finessing your mental skills

    1. Climbing confidently
    2. Focusing
    3. Imagery and visualisation
    4. Being adaptable: Problem-solving and movement creativity
    5. Final thoughts: Climbing for life – mental wellbeing for climbers

About the book

We all know that climbing is a headgame, and many climbers recognise that their mindset is holding them back.  But what psychological skills do you need for climbing, and how do you develop them? If you have ever wanted to learn how to climb with more confidence, to learn how to stick to a training plan, or to understand how to tap into flow, then this book is for you.

Split into three sections, covering getting started on a mental skills training programme, fixing problems in your climbing caused by anxiety, and finessing your mental skills, this book provides clear explanations and practical exercises to improve your mindset for climbing.

You’ll learn to analyse your mental strengths and weaknesses, set effective goals, change habits, overcome fear of falling, fear of failing, fear of injury and social anxieties affecting climbers’ performance.  Chapters on confidence, focusing skills, imagery and visualisation, and problem solving and creativity in your climbing are all written in a practical and easy to understand format, so you can incorporate these skills into your climbing training.  There is also a section on mental wellbeing for climbers, with hints and tips on healthy perfectionism, as well as mental health.

This book draws on the latest in climbing and sport psychology research, and translates it into practical accessible ideas and exercises for climbers at all levels of the sport.

About the author

Dr Rebecca Williams is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and performance psychology coach, working with climbers for the last 15 years.  She’s trained and experienced in psychotherapy, including CBT and ACT, holds a level 7 certificate in coaching and mentoring, and is a qualified climbing instructor (RCI).

Rebecca has delivered thousands of hours of individual coaching, group workshops, coach education and lectures, for climbers and coaches interested in improving their headgame for climbing.  She has facilitated workshops for Mountain Training Association, the Diploma in Mountain Medicine, NICAS, the British Mountaineering Council (BMC), and many climbing and mountaineering clubs.  In 2018, she delivered the psychology keynote speech at the International Rock Climbing Research Association Congress in Chamonix, and is a founder member of the International Association of Psychologists in Climbing.  She is passionate about using making psychology accessible and practical, and translating psychological research into mainstream techniques and coaching practices.

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Back To Top