Scale even greater heights with mental training

Climbing is one of the best sports for body and mind. Whether on a wall or out in the wild, climbing activates every last muscle To get to the top, you need to be in peak condition mentally as well as physically. Petra Klingler, Switzerland's most successful female climber, knows just what it takes. Only when body and mind are working together in perfect harmony can excellence be achieved. Having the right mindset helps keep your motivation high so you can continue working towards your goals. Petra Klingler tells us how she prepares to face a challenge, and how she motivates herself time and time again.

As an elite athlete, Petra Klingler knows exactly what it takes to train body and mind. In 2016, she was crowned women's world bouldering champion. She followed up this success with podium places in a number of other world championship competitions.

Petra Klingler understands the true power of thought. It takes the perfect blend of body and mind to get the best out of herself and climb her way to the very top.

Petra Klingler has a degree in sports science and gives inspirational talks, in part as a counterbalance to her sports career. She talks about her successes, provides a glimpse behind the scenes and shows how she deals with challenges.

Petra Klingler, Switzerland's most successful and versatile female sports climber

Mental training tips from Petra Klingler

Petra Klingler gives tips on mental training and reveals why she is never without her little book.

Take it up a notch with a positive attitude

The influence of thought on mental and physical condition is immense. Whether a day is good or bad often has a lot to do with personal attitude. Petra Klingler, Switzerland's most successful and versatile female climber, shares her personal tips for staying highly motivated. She also tells us how she deals with her own challenges.

Everything starts with rest and good nutrition

No one has ever delivered their best performance with a rumbling stomach and too little sleep. That's why Petra Klinger makes sure she has a balanced diet and plenty of rest. A healthy and well-nourished body is essential when you're facing challenges and pushing yourself to your mental limits.


Bullet journal: know yourself

Small, rectangular and weighing less than 500 grams, Petra Klingler's bullet journal is her trusty companion. Every day she writes down three things that she has done well in training, in her job or in any other aspect of her life that day. It's something she has been doing for many years now. She also notes three positive things that have happened to her, such as a friendly exchange with someone or a coffee in the sun. She found it difficult to begin with, as she struggled to write down good things about herself. "But ultimately it does you good to write down your positive qualities and to acknowledge them," says Petra. The bullet journal is also a valuable source of support before a competition. If she's feeling at all nervous and underprepared, her little book shows her everything she has done in readiness for the competition, and this gives her confidence. Petra advises everyone to keep a book like this.

Appreciate what you've got

Petra's grandmother taught her to pay attention to the little things in life: After every trip away she enjoys drinking fresh water straight from the tap – something you can't always take for granted in other countries. Her Olympics defeat in 2020 gave Petra sleepless nights. Instead of rejoicing in her success in getting there, she became far too focused on the failure and the feeling of having let people down. Only with a little distance was she able to take pleasure in her fantastic achievement. Disappointment is part of life and should not be seen as negative. It shows that the thing you're disappointed about is important. Petra always reminds herself how well she's doing and how lucky she's been in her life. The warmth of the sun on your skin, a good chat with a friend or pretty flowers by the edge of the road: these are all things that give her energy and mental strength. It's often the small things that count the most.


Know your own limits

Knowing your own limits and sticking to them gives you security and prevents you from trying to do too much. But being able to recognise your own limits takes training and a certain amount of self-awareness. Physical or mental training can help you to push your limits or even overcome them. Petra advises getting to know your own limits, accepting them and also challenging them.

Fall down and get back up again

Climbing has taught Petra that falling down and getting back up are part of life and not a sign of weakness. Every fall provides an opportunity to take a fresh look at the problem and find a different approach. Failure is part of life and a chance to try out different paths – just like in climbing.


Talk about the problem

Petra advises finding a good friend to talk to about problems or difficulties. She finds talking helps her to get her thoughts in order. Being asked questions by another person allows her to see her problem from a different perspective. So her advice is that voicing the problem to a friend is very helpful in getting closer to a solution.


Look at problems from a distance

Challenges are best faced with a cool head. That's why Petra likes to step back from a problem for a short time, or even sleep on it and then come back to it the next day This added distance changes her perspective and she has more energy to tackle the problem.

Have a clear Plan A and Plan B

Having goals and knowing how to pursue them helps to sustain motivation. Petra is very motivated when she knows precisely what she is expending her energy on. But she always reminds herself that her goal can change along the way, because the route is not set in stone.


Personal responsibility

Everyone is the author of their own fortune. As a top athlete, Petra has learned she alone is responsible for her performance and her luck. If she doesn't get the result she wanted she can't blame her trainer and claim he should have trained her better. She alone has to take responsibility for the outcome, whether in training or in everyday life. Only she can say what she needs – no one else. That's why she advises more personal responsibility and also more courage: courage to formulate your own needs very clearly and to take responsibility for them.


In climbing as in life

Petra sees climbing as the perfect analogy for real life. If she falls from a boulder she has no choice but to get back up again, analyse the problem, approach the boulder again and have another go. If one way hasn't worked, she tries another, until eventually she gets to the top of the boulder. There are different ways to reach the destination and the right one isn't the same for everyone. Having a positive attitude is very important in climbing and in every other type of sport, as well as in everyday life. Anyone can train, but if you really want to go far you also have to be mentally strong and capable of maintaining focus. That's why Petra trains her mind as well as her body. Hard training, constant training, having a daily routine – that's what gives her confidence in herself. She has learned exactly when and how she can apply her strengths. Her self-confidence is based on the following three pillars:

  • Honesty: Be honest with yourself.
  • Respect: Respect your limits.
  • Acceptance: Accept yourself and your situation.

A talk from top athlete Petra Klingler

Watch a recording of this live presentation. In her inspirational talk, Petra Klingler speaks about her success in climbing and bouldering. She also explains how she faces up to challenges in her daily routine and professional life, and how she keeps herself motivated.

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Climbing is rewarding – especially with supplementary insurance from SWICA

SWICA is committed to preventive healthcare. That's why, if you have COMPLETA FORTE, COMPLETA PRAEVENTA or OPTIMA supplementary insurance, SWICA contributes up to 900 francs* (*learn more) a year towards your annual or six-month membership at a climbing centre that's affiliated to the IGKA and has a cooperation partnership with SWICA.

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SWICA – Because health is everything

Being active pays off. SWICA – unlike many other health insurance companies – supports your personal commitment through a wide range of activities and offers relating to health promotion and preventive healthcare. Whether it's yoga, tai chi, fitness classes, swimming lessons, breathing exercises, personal training, nutritional advice, mindfulness training, tennis or one of the other available options, you enjoy attractive contributions of up to 1'300 francs* per year from the COMPLETA FORTE, COMPLETA PRAEVENTA and OPTIMA supplementary insurance plans (*see detailed information).

Incidentally, supplementary insurance always provides valuable additional benefits above and beyond those available under basic insurance. It can be taken out with SWICA at any time, regardless of which insurer currently provides your basic insurance.


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