At the highest level, athletes are highly skilled, highly trained, and highly proficient machines. Take the 100m sprint for example. All of the athletes in the Olympic final can run sub-ten seconds. They are all fast! But on the day, the deciding factor is often not how fast they are, but rather, how fast they can run under the high pressure circumstances of an Olympic final. The ability to deal with pressure is not about any physical or technical skill, but is more about what goes on between the ears – in other words, it is psychological and about performing with freedom, dealing with distractions, regulating emotions, maintaining self-confidence, and trusting the body’s ability to deliver under pressure.
“The ability to produce a world-beating time is about how you use your mind to allow your body to function with freedom and fluency.”
Many athletes grow up with the philosophy that their mental approach to performance is fixed. They do the same things over and over again and expect excellence. But we know that mental approaches are not fixed. They are extremely changeable and adaptable, and therefore the greatest athletes can develop their mental approaches to fulfil their potential. Athletes who can deal with pressure enjoy their sport more, achieve excellence and are resilient to the demands of competition and training.
Tipping The Balance offers contemporary evidence-based and highly practical mental strategies that help an athlete to develop the crucial mental skills that enable them to thrive under pressure, perform consistently when it matters most, and enjoy the challenge of the big event.
This book is about empowering you – the athlete – no matter what level you perform at. In this book you will discover the secrets of how the world’s greatest athletes draw on cutting edge psychological skills to use what’s between their ears to maximize performance.
Who the book is for. This book will show you that pressure is a perception. No matter what sport you play or what level you perform at, this book shows you how to develop a winning mental edge. It does not matter whether you are targeting the Olympic marathon or a local 5k, whether you are a weekend golfer or a tour professional, a local tennis player or a top 250 athlete – this book is for all athletes at all levels, across all sports, who want to become more successful.
Perhaps you are not an athlete, but you work closely with athletes. Maybe you are a coach, a parent, or performance director and sport scientist looking to develop evidence-based and effective psychological training and development programs for your athletes. You too will find the contents of this highly practical book useful as a key stakeholder in the performance of athletes.
Dr Martin Turner is a Lecturer in Sport and Exercise Psychology in the School of Psychology, Sport and Exercise at Staffordshire University. Martin is an active researcher and a Chartered practitioner psychologist. He consults with professional athletes, teams, and coaches, and works extensively with business professionals and management in multinational organizations.
Dr Jamie Barker is Associate Professor of Applied Performance Psychology at Staffordshire University, and a Chartered psychologist. Jamie is an active researcher and contributor to the Centre for Sport, Health, and Exercise Research (CSHER), works with business leaders and professionals across many disciplines, and is the co-author of the acclaimed Bennion Kearny title: The Psychology of Cricket: Developing Mental Toughness, amongst others.
Portrait of an Elite Athlete: The Performance
Chapter 1: γνῶθι σεαυτόν (Know Thyself)
Chapter 2: Be Challenged
Chapter 3: Think Smart
Chapter 4: Tip The Balance
Chapter 5: Be Confident
Chapter 6: Be In Control
Chapter 7: Focus On Success
Chapter 8: Self-Regulate
Chapter 9: Adapt
Chapter 10: Look Forward
Appendix 1: Assessing My Response to Pressure
Appendix 2: PDMS Instructions for Group Confidence
Appendix 3: Increased Pressure Instructions
Authors: Martin Turner, Jamie Barker
ISBN: 978-1-909125-93-3 | Published 1 November 2014 | Paperback £10.99 | Kindle and iBooks £6.99
Note: This is the sister publication to What Business Can Learn From Sport Psychology: Ten Lessons for Peak Professional Performance. Content elements across both titles are similar and readers are, therefore, advised to choose whichever title is most appropriate for them.