Mind Gym: An Athlete’s Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack with David Casstevens
This off season I’m reading books about sports psychology looking for techniques to improve my mental game. I started with Mind Gym by Gary Mack, a sports psychologist, who worked with teams such as the Seattle Mariners and Phoenix Suns. I listened to the audio version during my commute. It is a well produced audiobook.
While the book mentions many mental techniques athletes use to stay on track like anxiety management, focus, mindfulness, visualization, goal setting and self talk, it sticks mostly to anecdotes and doesn’t provide much in the way of how to information. If you – like me – are looking for ideas on how to smooth out swim panic or come back mentally from a slow bike split, or gut out the last six miles of a marathon you won’t find much here.
The book is positive and uplifting and a quick, easy read especially if you are into baseball, golf and other popular sports. It is full of stories from Mack’s career and there are many quotes from well known athletes. It would be a good book to keep at your bedside or desk for a quick shot of positive thoughts.
It is a bit dated, copyright 2002, and had some cringe worthy references to sports greats who have since become less reputable due to the use of performance enhancing drugs or lifestyle issues like Lance Armstrong, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods.
My two favorite chapters were Fear Lives in the Future and Paradoxes of Performance, which capture how counterintuitive our quirky brains can be.
I’m currently reading Triathlete EQ: A Guide For Emotional Endurance by Dr. Izzy Justice and plan to review it later this month. It was recommended by my swim coach, Katie Malone.