Café Kraft Mastermind
Mastermind is a mental training guide for climbers written by rock climber and writer, Jerry Moffatt, one of the world's top rock climbers of the past 30 years. Mastermind will help you to train your mind so you can use your body's potential to its fullest, with a collection of inspiring stories by the elite of the sport, such as Alex Megos, Adam Ondra, Margo Hayes and Chris Sharma who explain how they mentally prepare for climbing. Pages: 284.
Comes in two versions: English and German.
3 product reviews
This book open my mind and improve my climbing even more. At first place teach me to stay in present when climbing, emotions comes later.
I’ve read couple of climbing books, from strength training to climbing rescue. This must be the worst of them. I don’t think I found anything useful for my climbing in it, or maybe I forgot it while going through a ton of trivial, banal, obvious, not research-based, anecdotal, sometimes even stupid advises. This book is yet anther proof that a great athlete is not by default a great coach/author. I know this sounds bad, but it really is, so let me give you some details.
Mastermind has about 280 pages, although it could be easily presented on fourth of it. The basic content comes in a single not too wide column, but then there are apparently more important bits put between horizontal lines in bold and bigger font, there are pictures (which are nice) and drawings (artistic drawings, nothing crucial), and my favorite – quotes. I will write more on them, but just one example in the context of layout: “Moving, be like water. Still, be like a mirror. Respond, like an echo.” - this one takes literally a whole page (no. 14). It’s not necessarily a bad way to go to expand a book, but just keep in mind it’s only volume-wise, not content-wise. Additionally, the fancy layout is probably the reason for relatively high price of the book.
At the beginning Jerry Moffatt says he will share with us his own thoughts (fair enough) and some research and academic insights from some professor. I couldn't find any quotation of this professor in the book, there is no bibliography at all. No idea where these academic insights come from and what type of research he is talking about. There are no quantitative results in the book, all of it sounds more like bed-time thoughts of the author with anecdotal evidence. Sometimes the content is even inconsistent, with one part (“you are the best”, “think positive”, “think only about the victory” - a lot of these throughout the book) contradicting the other (advises to step back and enjoy the climb with no expectations). Almost every chapter starts with a banal definition: “Motivation is what pushes or pulls an individual to start and direct sustained effort into an activity”, “Confidence is the belief in one’s ability to achieve or do something” (you don’t say!?), “Concentration is a narrowing of the mind and focusing on one specific thing, a form of exclusion” etc. Reading the book feels like hearing “believe in yourself” all the time, said in so cheesy way it makes you sick. Another highlighted part: “It is not possible to be optimistic and pessimistic about he same thing” (no comment). If you want valuable research-based advises for you climbing better go for Eric Horst or David Macia books, or Tom Randall/Lattice Training online content. If you want a good general read about climbing go for “9 out of 10 climbers...”. If you want a book purely about the mental game the Arno Ilgner’s “The Rock Warrior's Way” is 10 times better.
If you enjoyed the funny and entertaining style of John Long’s “Climbing Anchors”, in Mastermind you will find nothing like that. The style is boring, to say the least. It feels like reading en essay of a school kid forced to write it by a teacher – half of the sentences look like put there just to fill up the space. A lot of unnecessary repetitions. Not too complex sentences. No humor.
This book if full of it. It extracts the wisdom of such great thinkers as Bruce Lee and Muhammad Ali. Especially the first one should be listed as the second author. And these quotes are literally labeled “wisdom”. They can also contradict each other - “Three keys to success: persistence, persistence and persistence” (Bruce Lee) and “Champions are not made in the gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep inside them: a desire, a dream, a vision” (Muhammad Ali). Unless you interpret “persistence” as “persistence in dreaming”. Last example: “To be a great champion, you must believe you are the best. If you are not, pretend you are”...
The only plus
The only valuable and enjoyable bit are the very short interviews with top climbers (Adam Ondra, Alex Megos, Margo Hayes, Chris Sharma and more) and couple of their inspirational stories at the end of the book. It’s really interesting to see what is their approach, how they see their way to the top, what climbing means to them. If it was a blog post with just these short interviews, it would be 5/5. For an almost 300 pages book it’s way too little, therefore 1/5 in the maximum.
Gives out so many tips to plan your climbing goals, you start believing it really is possible to achieve the quality you want to achieve. My confidence is much higher than before, I´m taking more risks and enjoying my climbing a lot more.
Some of the tips are so basic, so logical, how have never thought about them before, or nobody ever told me.
Worth the money, definetely!