Posts

Are you tough or are you trained?

Mental toughness might be the most cliché term used in sports today. There is no way to the top if you don’t have “it.” When a team loses, coaches most commonly point to mental toughness for where things fell short. While it is easy to point a finger at mental toughness, it is harder to actually understand what all these coaches are talking about. Let’s take a minute to unwrap this idea. If mental toughness is so crucial to success, why do so many coaches struggle to define it or share a common definition, yet time and time again know it when they see it? Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 195: The champion’s mind (with Adam Nelson and Szymon Ziolkowski)

We watch champion’s win all the time, but rarely do we get a chance to see what is going on inside their head. On this week’s episode we get to talk to two Olympic champions and see what their thought process is in competition, how they prepare, and how they’ve overcome some of the most difficult situations imaginable in sport. Tune in to hear shot putter Adam Nelson and hammer throw Szymon Ziolkowski share their experiences. Read more

How to fall on your ass and get up to win gold

Imagine this: you are an up and coming 24-year-old hammer thrower ranked in the world’s top 10. You arrived at the Olympics in the best shape of your life, having qualified in fourth position and been on the podium in every meet except one that year. As you leave the call room in the depths of the stadium and emerge onto the track you’re greeted by more than 110,000 fans and also by torrential downpour. The throwing rings has quickly turned into a slippery lake. Read more

An athlete’s perspective on mental training with Sergej Litvinov

Throughout the month we are sharing different viewpoints on mental training, but it can often be difficult to see how the theory translates into practice in this area. Last December we brought world class hammer thrower Sergej Litvinov to Zurich for a workshop. I’ve already written about his technical philosophy and how he rethinks drills for the hammer. But he also gave us a look inside his mental preparation and how an elite athlete integrates into physical training. Below are a few lessons he taught us. Read more

Mental toughness and mountaineering

Mountaineering can provide some great case studies in risk and mental preparation. The types of situations encountered by mountaineers are at the extreme and can really highlight the decision making process because each decision brings with it more consequences. As I wrote about earlier this year, you might think this environment would lead to more accurate weighing of risks, but often it presents a cautionary tale of what can happen when you’re too motivated to meet a goal. We can learn from where climbers have failed, but we can also learn from where they have succeeded and some new research looks at mental toughness among mountaineers. Read more

Living beyond fear: lessons from Free Solo

In case you missed it, a sports movie won this year’s Oscar for best documentary. The film Free Solo explores Alex Honnold attempt to climb a 3,000 foot of rock face in Yosemite without the assistance of any ropes. Just the thought of that makes my heart start beating a little faster. I’m not scared of heights, but you can’t help but watch the film and think about what would happen if he made just one tiny mistake. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 194: Mental skills (with Mona Pretorius)

Take a look at high level sport and the top teams often do not have much separating them physically. In the end it often comes down to the team with the mental edge. And just as athletes train their physical skills, they must also train their mental skills. World class weightlifter Mona Pretorius has competed on the international stage in three sports and studied sports psychology. She joins us on this week’s podcast to talk about the mental side of sport and training mental skills. Read more

GAINcast Episode 156: Chucking spears (with Steve Backley)

Watch the javelin in full speed and it is a thing of beauty. Watch it in slow motion and it’ll often make you cringe. In order to throw a spear the length of a football field requires athletes to put their body in extreme positions with massive amounts of force transferring through the kinetic chain. Mastering it is hard, staying at the top even harder. Steve Backley was not just one of the best javelin throwers of all time, but sat atop the sport for 15 years. On this episode of the GAINcast, Backley joins us to discuss how he developed in the sport, what creates the perfect throw, and becoming a better competitor. Read more

HMMR Podcast Episode 192: A star is born (with Kevin McMahon)

The making of a champion starts at a young age with the athlete’s family, youth coaches, and community. The champion’s mindset then grows from there. Kevin McMahon won two US titles in the hammer throw and competed in two Olympics and four World Championships. He joins this week’s podcast to share how he started out as a thrower, the San Jose throws community he came of age in, and the inspiration he took from that. In addition, we look a bit at what it takes to be a champion in the hammer throw, and more. Read more

January 2019 in review: goals

To help start the year off on a right foot, we focused on goals in January. From setting goals to achieving goals, we gathered different perspectives of the topic from our team of coaches throughout the month. All of our new resources are linked below, as well as some additional articles from our archives. Read more