Every once in a while I run the Olympic downhill in Japan in my head. I think of how the energy is going to flow and then I make it all work for myself.

~ Picabo Street

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Lotus pose on two

By Alyssa Roenigk, ESPN The Magazine
Originally Published: August 21, 2013

“IT’S DIFFERENT HERE,” Pete Carroll says. “Have you noticed?” It’s hard not to. At 9 a.m. on the first Sunday of training camp in Renton, Wash., high-performance sports psychologist Mike Gervais, dressed in a navy Seahawks hoodie and white baseball cap and flashing more enthusiasm than is rational at this hour, welcomes players into a meeting room at the Virginia Mason Athletic Center. This place used to be the site of a coal tar refinery; now it’s the happiest, greenest campsite in the history of the NFL. Gervais is about to lead a meditation session and, as he always does, instructs the players to hit record on their phone voice-recorder apps and to close their eyes. Then he starts guiding them: “Quiet your minds,” “Focus your attention inwardly” and “Visualize success.”

This is the Pete Carroll experience we always hear about. After flaming out as an NFL head coach, Carroll rebuilt his rep as an ultracompetitive buddy coach at USC. But beneath the perpetual smile was a guy who thought, more than anything, there was a better way to win. Meditation is only part of it. After Carroll was fired by the Patriots following the 1999 season, he agonized over what he’d do differently if he landed another NFL head-coaching job. Almost every day for the better part of a decade, while leading Southern Cal to seven top-10 finishes and one BCS title, he jotted down do-over notes. His dream was to fundamentally change the way players are coached. The timeworn strategy is, of course, to be a hard-ass — think Bear Bryant banning water breaks, Vince Lombardi screaming and yelling, Mike Rice throwing basketballs at players’ heads, Nick Saban berating his team on the sideline. Carroll craved a chance to reimagine the coaching role in the NFL. “I wanted to find out if we went to the NFL and really took care of guys, really cared about each and every individual, what would happen?”… Click here to read on

When the going gets tough in sport

By Caroline Heaney, Open University
Originally Published: Wednesday 29th June 2011

Imagine you’re the favourite to win an important event, maybe even the Olympic Games. You’ve trained hard and are at the top of your game, but two weeks before the event you sustain a serious sports injury. How would you feel?

Injury can be difficult for any sports performer but for those competing at a high level, often on a full-time basis, the impact of injury can be significant, leading to anger, frustration and anxiety. In an interview with The Times, 2009 World heptathlon champion Jessica Ennis compared the injury she sustained prior to the 2008 Olympic Games to a bereavement: “I know it sounds dramatic, but to devote your life to something and then have it snatched away is a bit like suffering a bereavement. You’ve lost something that’s part of you.”… Click here to read on