Living in the Sweet Spot: Preparing for Performance in Sport and Life

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Living in the Sweet Spot: Preparing for Performance in Sport and Life is a fresh, inspiring guide of how to get ready for life’s big performances. The author integrates the best of the new field of Positive Psychology with the essentials of Sport Psychology. Readers of this book learn how to strengthen their experience of daily fulfillment and concurrently get the most out of themselves when the big moments take place. The issues performers face when under pressure come to life through examples of top athletes, musicians and from the author's experiences as an Olympian and America's Cup sailor. Every chapter contains practical, effective reflective exercises that help readers rise to the challenge of performing their best when it counts.

“What I learned in this book is that if you focus on the positives and what actually brings you joy, it will change your perspective, and maybe most importantly, give you more energy. Everyone, not just athletes, can benefit from reading Living in the Sweet Spot—we can learn how to accept ourselves, our endeavors, our sport, or our profession.”
— from the foreword by Phil Simms, Super Bowl XXI MVP

Contents

Acknowledgments.................................................................................... ix

Foreword............................................................................................... xi

Preface................................................................................................... xv

Part I: The Building Blocks of a Champion Approach

Chapter  1            What Is Living in the Sweet Spot?

Achievement and Happiness.............................................. 3

Chapter   2           Self-awareness and Your Strengths

Learning How Your Strengths Can

Impact Your Performance................................................ 17

Chapter   3           positive emotional experience

Strengthening Your Resources through

Nurturing Positive Emotions............................................ 37

Chapter   4           Small Changes

Optimizing Willpower........................................................ 57

Chapter  5            the Learning approach

Getting the Most out of Your

Wins and Your Losses..................................................... 77

Chapter   6           the positive perspective

Building on Gratitude and Optimism............................... 97

 

Part II: Preparing for Performance or Competition

Chapter   7           Flow and engagement

Nurturing Enjoyment and Engagement

in Training and Performance............................................. 115

 

Chapter   8           Facing Negative emotions

Recognizing, Accepting, and

Shifting Negative Emotions............................................ 137

 

Chapter   9           Coaches, Family, teammates, and Friends

Letting in the Good and Letting Go

of the Negative................................................................ 159

Chapter   10         Imagery and Scripting for performance

Creating Your Intentions for Performance......................... 177

Chapter   11         Mental-emotional Goals for performance

Creating Clear, Specific “Highest Point of Leverage” Commitments           197

 

Part III: The Day of Performance

Chapter  12          empowered thinking

Establishing Your Go-To Responses

When It Counts Most.................................................... 221

 

Chapter   13         emotions on the Day of performance

Getting the Most out of Your Emotional Engine................. 241

 

Chapter   14         Motivational Flexibility

Drawing on the Motivational Sources

That Best Serve You......................................................... 261

 

Chapter  15          Your plan for Game Day

Tailoring the Ideas to Work for You.................................. 281

 

References........................................................................................... 299

Index................................................................................................... 303

About the Author................................................................................ 307

News and Reviews

  • Baltzell discusses the "power of "positivity" with NY Times Best-Selling author Jon Gordon and John Brubaker. Details...
  • Balzell explains "What it takes to win a gold medal?" in BBC interview as US Olympic Team takes the lead in medal count at 2012 London Olympics. Watch here.
  • Former Olympian and author of Living in the Sweet Spot, Balzell suggests "bounce back" techniques for 2012 Olympians. Details...
  • Baltzell comments on diets of Olympians. Details...
  • Baltzell explains "What Olympians are made of" in Boston Herald article. Details...
  • Book Review: Sport Management Review, October 2011, Hatfield,L.M. Bookreview. Sport ManagementReview (2011), doi:10.1016/j.smr.2011.08.008. Read the review here.
  • Esther Lofgren, Media & Communications Associate (USRowing) and USOC Athlete discusses Dr. Baltzell's book Living in the Sweet Spot in the December 2011 issue of USRowing E-Magazine.
    Read the review here.

Read more news and reviews about Living in the Sweet Spot here.

Testimonials

  • “As a former pitcher, I spent six years in the National League trying to find the ever illusive hitter’s sweet spot—a task I found to be very difficult. Finding our own sweet spot in life can be equally as difficult. Amy’s book provides insight and excellent guidance for those in search of harmony, happiness, and fulfillment in life.”
    — Bob Tewksbury, Former Major League Baseball pitcher and current sport psychology coach for the Boston Red Sox
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  • "I read your book (Living in the Sweet Spot) while preparing for the Ironman Regensburg in the fall 2011. It was really good to read it. I could easily understand why you wanted to become a good sport psychologist after the things you experienced in your own sports career! Reading the book helped me to get into a good mindset. I really needed that because the weather conditions were not so good. I cycled 170 km. in the rain! ... I was able to win," Marijke Zeekant
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  • "Shortly after obtaining your book (Living in the Sweet Spot), I had the opportunity to teach an undergraduate sport psychology course at American. I used your book as a text and the students loved it! — Sharon Drake Petro, Ph.D., Performance Coach for Sport, Business, and Balance - Head Coaching Enterprises