Book Review: Mind Gym by Gary Mack
One of my goals for 2014 is to work through a book every month. As a past English major, this would be a laughably small amount of reading, but when you through in a full time job, a busy training schedule and some semblance of a social life, the reading hours in my days are minimal.
I try to read books that are relevant to my training, the blog and my goals so there will be a lot of non-fiction involved from autobiographies, training guides to sports psycology. To be completely honest with you, I have joined a book club in 2014 that covers travel literature with some people who are much smarter than me in the States, so I am actually reading more like 1.5 books a month. Things are going to get crazy!
I am proud to say that I have accomplished the goal for January with the book Mind Gym by Gary Mack. It is a sports psychology book and one of the most captivating and easily digestible pieces I have read in a long time.
Drawing on his work with some of the top teams in professional sports, sport psychology consultant Gary Mack shares techniques and exercises he uses to help elite athletes build mental “muscle.” There are 40 accessible lessons and inspirational anecdotes that emphasis gaining a “head edge” over competition.
It was a great exercise in looking into the mental preparation of other sports. So much of what I do is mental, so it was interesting to compare the mental game of an ultra marathoner to a golfer or tennis player. At the end of the day, there are some very simple takeaways that apply across every sport:
Mack emphasizes goal setting as a vital way to be successful in your sport. Goal setting is a way of bringing the future into the present so you can take action now.
One of the most important takeaways for me in the book is the importance of focusing on the positive. In order to process a negation, your mind must first understand the positive. So imagine you were golfing and you were trying for a hole-in-one but you had a tendency of hitting the golf ball in the water. The WORST thing you can do is think “Don’t hit the ball in the water.” Because you must first understand “hit the ball in the water” before processing the negation. So you are actually programming your subconscious to hit the ball in the water. It is much more likely you will succeed by thinking about what you want to accomplish rather than what you do not want to accomplish.
Mack states that life is a series of self fulfilling prophecies – it is important to see yourself as successful. To be a champion, you must believe you are the best. If you are not, pretend you are!
A few other things that he stresses is to be able to make quick decisions as a wrong decision is usually less disastrous than indecision as well as to be prepared as chance favours the prepared mind.
I loved this book. I recommend it to anyone who is looking to get a bit of a mental edge in competition. It was a great book for me to read while injured and in my off-season because it helped me to keep perspective and to practice mental tricks for race season.
Latest reading from Laces and Lattes:
What was the best book you have read this year?
Have you ever read Mind Gym? What did you think?