The Brave Athlete
Calm the fxxk down
Lesley Paterson and Simon Marshall
Velopress

I’m a sucker for self help books. If they can help my mind be more positive in any aspect of life then they’ve done the trick. Ironically though any good book helps my mind be more positive. Learning is a positive experience for me.

When it comes to sport I’m a team person. Solitary activities are something I don’t have the discipline for. Again that’s an irony not lost on me as I prefer my own company to the company of others many times. It’s a shyness and quietness that has grown over the years. In social gatherings I’m the one on the outside looking in, in team sports in the one shouting and encouraging the outsiders to belong.

This is a book that tries to dispel certain cliches and is written in a straight forward manner. I appreciate that style. It’s not a psychology on sandals and flowers, it’s a lot more practical than that. It’s still a self help book, your mind holds the key to performance. It’s the springboard to good output.

Throughout we get practical exercises, think back on something that went wrong. Why did it happen that way, what did you do to assist in a poor performance, what can you do to make it better. What do you have the ability to do.

I like the concept of the me tree – your roots are your self worth. Exercise yourself to believe you are a good version. The trunk of the tree is your self esteem, believe you are a competent person. The branches that spring out is the self confidence as you think of your ability in any sport. Finally the leaves or flowers are self efficacy, here is where you can set attainable targets, one bud (target) at a time.

I manage a team and before each game (when I remember) i say to the players, walk in to the pitch, shoulder back and head held high. It creates an impression if nothing else. I try to empower them, make them feel good about themselves. It is described here as “looking like the boss” and whilst I’m not sure that’s the term I’d use it is positive affirmation to see it here.

Of course peoples minds are what defeats them most times, hence the need for these books. What happens when you have a bad day? We all do. We know there are food days but at times the negativity of a bad day can be hard to shake off.

How does a sportsperson prevent the bad days taking over? Verbalize it, talk and release the frustration. Ask was the bad day under your control. Beneath it all there is nearly always something positive. No matter how small. Finally, write down what you regret, read it aloud three times, fold up the paper, put it in a box, smile and sweep it all away.

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