Mind Games discusses concepts used in sports psychology in a way that is understandable to the watching public, sports fans and sports-haters alike. Annie Vernon draws on her own experiences as an Olympic medalist, interviews with a wide range of people from other sports, and input from experts to answer the question: What is it about our psyche that makes pushing the mind and body to their limits such a basic human desire?
Annie speaks to athletes from a broad spectrum of sports around the globe, including basketball's Shane Battier and John Starks, NFL star Ryan Fitzpatrick, fencer Tim Morehouse, and baseball's Craig Breslow and Tino Martinez, tennis's Judy Murray, polar explorer Ben Saunders, triathlete Chrissie Wellington, skeleton-bob star Lizzy Yarnold, runner Jo Pavey and sailor Ben Ainslie, along with coaches and sports psychologists from both Olympic sports and their professional equivalents.
Whether it be performing under pressure, coping with nerves, teamwork, or building self-belief in the face of adversity, the methods that elite sports-people use are also relevant to everyday life. But sports psychology is still regarded as something of a mystery. How exactly do elite sports performers harness the power of their mind in pursuit of physical perfection?
After looking closely at areas such as motivation, competitiveness, gender, and teamwork, Annie Vernon uncovers the underlying psychological principles behind the sports that everyone enjoys.
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About the Author
Table of Contents
Foreword Chrissie Wellington OBE ix
Introduction: Science, Magic or Voodoo?
How top sports performers train their minds in pursuit of sporting excellence 1
1 Chickens or Pigs
Where does drive come from? 13
2 The Penny's Got to Drop
Becoming an elite athlete 36
3 Coming to Violence over Trivial Pursuit
Competitiveness and elite athletes 57
4 Choosing Training over Cold Turkey
Motivation and happiness 76
Every family has an odd member, and if you don't know who it is, it's probably you 97
6 The Confidence Wand
Sourcing, building, maintaining and utilising confidence 122
7 How to be Tarzan, How to be Jane
Preparing for the competition 150
8 Race Day, the Moment of Truth
Performing when it counts 187
9 Becoming a Carrot Farmer
Post-match analysis 244
About the Author 269