The Brave Athlete

The Brave Athlete : Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion

3.97 (914 ratings by Goodreads)
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The Brave Athlete solves the 13 most common mental conundrums athletes face in their everyday training and in races.

You don't have one brain-you have three; your ancient Chimp brain that keeps you alive, your modern Professor brain that navigates the civilized world, and your Computer brain that accesses your memories and runs your habits (good and bad). They fight for control all the time and that's when bad things happen; you get crazy nervous before a race, you choke under pressure, you quit when the going gets tough, you make dumb mistakes, you worry about how you look.

What if you could stop the thoughts and feelings you don't want? What if you could feel confident, suffer like a hero, and handle any stress? You can.

The Brave Athlete from Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson will help you take control of your brain so you can train harder, race faster, and better enjoy your sport. Dr. Marshall is a sport psychology expert who trains the brains of elite professional athletes. Paterson is a three-time world champion triathlete and coach. Together, they offer this innovative, brain training guide that is the first to draw from both clinical science and real-world experience with athletes.

That means you won't find outdated "positive self-talk" or visualization gimmicks here. No, the set of cutting-edge mental skills revealed in The Brave Athlete actually work because they challenge the source of the thoughts and feelings you don't want. The Brave Athlete is packed with practical, evidence-based solutions to the most common mental challenges athletes face. Which of these sound like you?

* Why do I have thoughts and feelings I don't want?

* I wish I felt more like an athlete.

* I don't think I can.

* I don't achieve my goals.

* Other athletes seem tougher, happier, and more badass than me.

* I feel fat.

* I don't cope well with injury.

* People are worried about how much I exercise.

* I don't like leaving my comfort zone.

* When the going gets tough, the tough leave me behind.

* I need to harden the f*ck up.

* I keep screwing up.

* I don't handle pressure well.

With The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion, you can solve these problems to become mentally strong and make your brain your most powerful asset.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 360 pages
  • 155 x 209 x 21mm | 566g
  • Boulder, United States
  • English
  • Full-color interior with tables and worksheets throughout.
  • 1937715736
  • 9781937715731
  • 37,031

Back cover copy


You may be physically ready to race, but will your mind by an asset or a liability? Left unchecked, rogue thoughts and feelings can derail you in seconds:

I wish I felt more like an athlete.

Tackling the flawed thinking around your athletic identity.

I don't think I can.

Building confidence and self-belief.

Setting goals is not your problem.

The secret of doing.

Other athletes seem tougher, happier, and more badass than me.

The power and peril of comparison.

I feel fat.

Dealing with body image in a world of athletes.

I don't cope well with injury.

How to respond to setbacks, big and small.

People are worried about me.

Exercise dependence and the incessant need to do more.

I don't like leaving my comfort zone.

How to cross the fear barrier.

When the going gets tough, the tough leave me behind.

Resisting the urge to quit.

I need to harden the f*ck up.

Learning to embrace the suck.

I keep screwing up.

Developing Jedi concentration skills to become a better athlete.

I don't handle pressure well.

How to cope with stress, anxiety, and expectations on race day.

The Brave Athlete will give you tools to overcome negative patterns of thinking and feeling so you can be faster and happier in sport and life. It's the missing manual for your brain, holding everything you need to know to unleash your true potential for training and racing. Using a potent combination of science, practical experience, frank talk, and failure-inspired wisdom, Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson get down and dirty to solve the problems of real athletes.

He's a sport psychology expert and she's a world champion triathlete. Together, they offer you a veritable arsenal of mental skills. You'll get the secrets on how the brain deals with unwanted thoughts and feelings and what you can do about them. Once you identify the mental gremlins undermining your performance, you will learn practical solutions to help you take control of your brain and rise to the occasion--whether it's for the everyday demands of training or your biggest race of the season.

Marshall and Paterson ditch the clichéd methods of taming the athlete's mind and bring to life the latest research in neuroscience and psychology. This is your hands-on guide to the mental strategies that actually work in real life.

Regardless of the level you train or compete at, The Brave Athlete shows you how to feel the fear and jump anyway, opening the door for you to enjoy your sport with more confidence, grit, and gratitude.
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Review quote

"Lesley Paterson is one of the most mentally tough professional athletes I know, and Simon Marshall knows why. Their special sauce has finally been bottled and the strategies described in The Brave Athlete promise to help athletes of all abilities become dirty fast." --Tim Don, World Champion triathlete

"Forget marginal gains, Dr. Simon Marshall understands the most important part of performance: the athlete's mind. His expertise is an invaluable resource to help athletes master theirs." --David Bailey, PhD, Head of Performance at BMC Racing Team

"My training background and philosophy evolved under the coaching of Lesley and the mental slapping of Simon." --Jessica Cerra, professional cyclist

"I have admired Dr. Simon Marshall's talent as a scientist and a communicator for more than two decades. In The Brave Athlete, he brings this talent to the fore as he translates psychological science into meaningful strategies to help athletes become more confident, motivated, and calm." --Dr. Kirsten Davison, Professor of Public Health, Harvard University

"At the Leeds Triathlon Centre, we pay as much attention to psychology as we do to physiology. Few things are simple in sport but in The Brave Athlete, Simon and Lesley tackle the complexities of getting the best from yourself in a clear and engaging way." --Jack Maitland, Head Triathlon Coach, Leeds Beckett University

"The Brave Athlete will take you deep inside yourself so that you can identify what you thought were your limits and, with Simon and Lesley's help, smash them to smithereens." --Bob Babbitt, host of Babbittville Radio, USA Triathlon Hall of Fame inductee

"Simon and Lesley get to the heart of what it takes to be a brave athlete. It's about creating a mindset that goes to bat for you rather than against you. The Brave Athlete is an invaluable guide to help you sort your head out. Plus it's funny. Really bloody funny." --Flora Duffy, World Champion triathlete

"Marshall and Paterson, in some kind of post-Western duo, limn their own version of Wyatt Earp and Doc Holliday. Only the guns and whiskey are replaced with doctoral degrees and world titles. In The Brave Athlete they challenge the reader to draw swords on the psychic battlefields of sport but do so with the gift of Continental mirth and compassion." --Scott Tinley, two-time Ironman World Champion, author, and teacher

"Working with Lesley and Simon has been one of the biggest life-changing experiences." --Mauricio Méndez, XTERRA World Champion and Ironman 70.3 champion

"Simon and Lesley bring years of training at the world-class level, in multiple sports, together with years of working in academia--all in the real world." --Janel Holcomb, professional cyclists and coach

"Lesley's passion for helping others grow and enjoy a deeper sense of satisfaction with their lives is evident in everything she does. In her book, she expertly addresses the concerns and setbacks so many people face in their pursuits, and outlines a simple and elegant strategy for helping anyone become their very best." --Ben Hoffman, Professional Triathlete and Ironman Champion

"I always struggled with my inner self and demons during races. Simon taught me not only how to deal with those demons, but how to manipulate them in such a way to take my racing to an entirely different level." --Kyle Hummel, Ironman 70.3 Age Group World Champion

"The formula for this book is a winner and can be applied to any challenging situation." --Dr. Jacqueline Kerr, Professor of Family Medicine and Public Health, University of California at San Diego

"Dr. Simon Marshall and World Champion Lesley Paterson remind us that that the best kind of sport psychology is when evidence-based science meets the minds of real athletes. The Brave Athlete bridges this gap with humor and compassion, whilst revealing tenacity for moving forward. This book shows us how to cope with common demons that threaten to disrupt our performances and enjoyment of sport." --Dr. Alison Pope-Rhodius, Professor & Chair, Sport Psychology, JFK University

"Combining their experience in triathlon, psychology, and writing, Lesley and Simon are a force to be reckoned with. They're brilliant and hilarious." --Mitch Thrower, Founder and Chairman of, Author, and 22x Ironman Triathlete

"The tools I've learned from Simon are simply priceless, and to have it all encapsulated into a book for everyone to read is critical reading for any athlete looking to perform at their very best." --Amy Dixon, Paralympic Hopeful, ITU World Ranking: #5

"Lesley has also shown me the ability to suffer like no other with the strategies outlined in The Brave Athlete. With these skills, neither family or sport is jeopardized, bringing a much-needed balance to my life." --Brandon Mills, age-group mountain biker

"Dr. Marshall has such way of explaining the human mind, in the simplest terms and why we think the way we do. Both of them were there day one when I fought the biggest battle of my life: breast cancer, and I'm still winning. Simon and Lesley are coaches who 'walk the talk'!" --Marison Beniek, age group triathlete and breast cancer survivor
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About PhD Marshall

Dr. Simon Marshall trains the brains of endurance athletes and fitness enthusiasts to become happier and more mentally tough. He is former Professor of Family and Preventive Medicine at the University of California, San Diego and Professor of Exercise Science at San Diego State University where he was Director of the Graduate Program in Sport & Exercise Psychology. He has published over 100 scientific articles on the psychology of exercise and has been cited in the scientific literature over 10,000 times. He has served as invited expert on exercise science for the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the American Cancer Society. He is currently the Performance Psychologist for the BMC Racing team, an elite WorldTour professional cycling team. As the sherpa-husband of professional triathlete Lesley Paterson, he is the founding member of Team S.H.I.T. (Supportive Husbands in Training), and competes in triathlon or cycling events as the husband of Lesley Paterson.

Lesley Paterson is a professional mountain biker, 3-time world champion in off-road triathlon, an Ironman (R) triathlon champion, endurance coach, and foul-mouthed Scots lassie. Growing up in Scotland, Lesley was the only girl on an all-boys rugby team, which is where she nurtured her love of dirt and dirty words. Banned from the team when puberty struck, she took up cross-country running and triathlon and was soon winning national titles and competing internationally. Lesley founded Braveheart Coaching to train and inspire endurance athletes to compete with passion, toughness, and an unwavering "Braveheart" spirit in overcoming obstacles. Paterson is a trained actress, a screenwriter, and personal trainer to Hollywood actors.
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Rating details

914 ratings
3.97 out of 5 stars
5 32% (297)
4 39% (357)
3 23% (207)
2 5% (43)
1 1% (10)
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