Victory in mind

By: Elite Soccer

What percentage of sporting excellence is physical, and what part mental? That’s what author Jim Afremow tries to calculate in The Champion’s Mind, an evolving, detailed and at time luscious foray into the elements that create trophy-winning excellence. From all corners of the sporting world and every sporting demographic, this is a ‘how to’ guide that circumnavigates the psychology of sport.

Whilst leaning on the experiences of a number of chosen leaders in their sport, Afremow looks at how even the most fine-tuned of athletes, at the very peak of physical performance, have been unable to fulfil their potential having failed to synergise brain with brawn. And the author is someone who should know only too well the value of both – Afremow is a sports psychologist and licensed counsellor at Arizona State University; he has worked closely with athletes at all levels, including pros from the MLB, NBA, WNBA, NFL, NHL, PGA Tour, and the LPGA Tour, plus business professionals, performing artists, and others in demanding careers. 

His approach is also clear and concise, and sways between two subtleties. On one side, it is gathering, thinking and interpreting the simplest of principles; on the other promoting perspiring, powered intensity of unrelenting effort that pushes a sportsperson beyond what they recognise as their limit.

Written in a way that doesn’t require it to be read in its entirety, this is an original representation. And as Afremow admits from the start, our own perception of a champion needn’t result in someone crossing a finish line in first place – merely, the true mark of a champion is someone who, in their own mind, has achieved.

Excerpt

“Champion yourself. We all experience similar struggles and deal with demanding challenges in our pursuit of excellence, regardless of the sport or fitness activity. To be a champion, your true best self becomes key to personal and athletic greatness. You know, as we all do, that only those performers who think gold and never settle for silver will continue to strive for and reach their highest, or gold, level. A champion makes greatness happen, despite what may seem like impossible odds.

Of course most of us are not Olympians or professional athletes. But all of us can acquire a champion’s mind-set. Any athlete can learn to think like a champion. Every one of us can be peak performers in the game of life by achieving our own personal best. We can strive to be the best version of ourselves. It is possible for us to stay “professional” whenever adversity strikes. It is possible to ingrain mental fortitude that drives us forward. And it is possible to take a championship approach.”

THE CHAMPION’S MIND: How great athletes think, train and thrive, Jim Afremow. Published by Rodale Books.