How Bad Do You Want It? Mas­ter­ing the Psy­chol­ogy of Mind Over Mus­cle Rac­ing the Sun­set

Triathlon Magazine Canada - - FEATURES - DR. CHRIS WILLER DCS

Matt Fitzger­ald Velo­press

Imag­ine you could get into the mind of an elite ath­lete and use their skills to im­prove your sport­ing po­ten­tial? That’s the premise of Matt Fitzger­ald’s How Bad Do You Want It? Fitzger­ald is an es­tab­lished sports writer with suc­cesses like Rac­ing Weight and Iron War. Fitzger­ald is also an ac­com­plished ath­lete and this com­bi­na­tion of writ­ing chops, lived ex­pe­ri­ence with sport and cu­rios­ity about the mind comes to­gether here.

Fitzger­ald’s premise ex­am­ines the psy­chobi­o­log­i­cal model of en­durance per­for­mance in­tended to re­duce per­ceived ex­er­tion and to cre­ate the po­ten­tial for mind over mus­cle to ex­pand our ca­pa­bil­i­ties. Bor­row­ing strongly from ex­er­cise phys­i­ol­o­gist Dr. Sa­muele Mar­cora of the Univer­sity of Kent and other re­search groups and their clin­i­cal find­ings, Fitzger­ald un­der­takes the am­bi­tious goal of making the mind more ac­ces­si­ble. What is per­ceived ex­er­tion? What role does “flow” or the “group ef­fect” play in per­for­mance? What makes each ath­lete unique?

Fitzger­ald draws on sto­ries rang­ing from the Tour de France, to the Ironman World Cham­pi­onships, to the IAAF track. While there are no pic­tures in the book, Velo­press has com­pan­ion Youtube videos to dy­nam­i­cally bring it to life found at velo­press.com/how­bad. Fitzger­ald has done a ex­em­plary job in making phys­i­ol­ogy and psy­chol­ogy un­der­stand­able with con­tem­po­rary re­search fram­ing a cre­ative and en­ter­tain­ing book.– Scott Tin­ley Sky­horse Pub­lish­ing

Tin­ley’s vic­to­ries at Kona in 1983 and 1985 are leg­endary in Ironman history and Tin­ley him­self was one of the most inf lu­en­tial fig­ures in the history of the sport. In 2003, he pub­lished the story of what hap­pened af­ter his pro­fes­sional ca­reer in the first edi­tion of Rac­ing the Sun­set. This up­dated edi­tion in­cludes many of the same re­veal­ing anec­dotes plus added re­sources and ref­er­ence ma­te­rial.

When Tin­ley re­tired from com­pet­ing pro­fes­sion­ally in Ironman, he took a 90 per cent pay cut de­spite hav­ing a fam­ily to sup­port. He also, as he says, had to ad­just to the re­al­ity that not ev­ery­one knew about, or was im­pressed by his achieve­ments. As he shows, us­ing a range of anec­dotes from boxer Sonny Lis­ton to Lance Arm­strong, leav­ing pro­fes­sional sport, one way or the other, is a painful and com­plex process that has crushed many ex-pros. Tin­ley, how­ever, went about it me­thod­i­cally and ex­plored other in­ter­ests and makes a life for him­self in new ac­tiv­i­ties and pro­fes­sions. Tin­ley, who has a PHD, isn’t your av­er­age exath­lete cash­ing in on a story of demise and re­demp­tion. His life turned out well, he has no long-term re­sent­ment and along the way, he learned to write well. Rec­om­mended for any­one who wants to know more about the au­thor or who is look­ing for insight from a leg­endary triath­lete on how to nav­i­gate a dra­matic change in life.–

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