An authoritative exploration of the psychology of elite sport, written by an Olympic silver medallist and respected sports journalist.
Throughout her career as one of the world’s top athletes, Annie Vernon struggled with an existential question about the purpose of sport in our comfortable, first-world society: why do we do it? What is it about our psyche that makes pushing the mind and body to their limits in order to win a foot race, a swimming race or a rowing race such a basic human desire? Having retired from competition, Annie decided to look for answers to these questions in the world of mind games. What is the psychology behind sport at an elite level?
With Team GB recording its best-ever performances at the Rio Olympic Games, having come second in the medal table in consecutive games, the public is aware of elite sport and the techniques used by our sporting heroes more than ever. 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?
Through interviews with leading sports stars and the latest scientific research, Mind Games discusses elite sports psychology in a way that is interesting to the watching public, sports fans and sports-haters alike, with Annie drawing on her own first-hand experiences to walk them through this fascinating subject.
- Mind Games is a brilliant exposition of some of the basic psychological drives behind sport, written by a woman with unquestioned qualifications for the job.
- Annie’s sporting experience at the ultimate elite level gives her insight and credibility, allowing her to present sport in a different light, making it accessible to the non-sporting general public.
- The author speaks to athletes from a broad spectrum of sports in the UK and the US, including rugby’s Brian Moore, Jonny Wilkinson and Clive Woodward, rowers Steve Redgrave and Katherine Grainger, polar explorer Ben Saunders, triathlete Chrissie Wellington, swimmer Rebecca Adlington, skeleton-bob star Lizzy Yarnold, runner Jo Pavey and sailor Ben Ainslie.
“Mind Games is accessible to anyone who wants to delve into the mind of some of the world’s sporting greats, and gain an insight into how they have dealt with issues such as pressure, success, failure and injury … There is no better person to shed light on the fascinating subject of sports psychology than two-timed World Champion, Olympian and talented sports journalist, Annie Vernon” – Chrissie Wellington OBE
“A tour de force of elite sport, nerves, expectation and pressure from all perspectives.” – Matthew Pinsent