Sport Psychology Library: Triathlon

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If you are a triathlete, coach, or someone interested in participating in an upcoming triathlon, Sport Psychology Library: Triathlon holds many answers to establishing and maintaining the mental discipline needed for what is certainly one of the most grueling and psychologically challenging events in all of sport. Guided by the expertise of Dr. Joe Baker and Dr. Whitney Sedgwick—both experienced, successful athletes and triathlon competitors — Sport Psychology Library: Triathlon summarizes current research and offers invaluable mental exercises to improve mental performance during triathlon training and competition.

Praise for Sport Psychology Library: Triathlon

"This is a great guide that will prove to be an invaluable resource to any triathlete looking to improve. This book is going to be a 'must-read' for all of the people I coach!"--Kevin Mackinnon, Canadian triathlon coach

"Finally a sports psychology book that takes into account the unique aspects and challenges that the sport of triathlon throws at the athlete. Looking back on my best races, they were always preceded by a strict regimen of mental training and preparation. However, when reading sports psychology books I was always reading about other sporting disciplines and trying to apply it to triathlon. It is nice to know that there is now a book dedicated to our sport. This book will now be in my arsenal of training equipment."--Mike Neill, elite professional Ironman triathlete

"Finally, a comprehensive sports psychology book that converts theory into practical and manageable exercises. Athletes can implement them and see immediate results as they work on the details that translate into success." -- Jamie Cleveland, Ironman and Canadian National champion.

Table of Contents
Preface viii
Acknowledgments ix
Chapter 1 The Start Line: Introduction and Overview of the Psychology of the Triathlon 1
Section I: Pre-competition and Training Factors 9
Chapter 2 “I want to go fast ...” Motivation and Goal Setting for Maximized Involvement 11
Chapter 3 Using All of Your Senses: Imagery 25
Section II: The Psychology of Competition 35
Chapter 4 “I don’t know what happened ... I choked”: Arousal, Anxiety, and General Stress During Training and Competition 37
Chapter 5 Keeping Your Head in the Race: Focus and Concentration 51
Section III: Other Issues 61
Chapter 6 When Disaster Strikes: Dealing with Pain and Injuries 63
Chapter 7 “How did I perform?”: Using Reflection to Become Analytic and Strategic 75
Chapter 8 Sticking with It: Concluding Remarks 83
Further Reading 87
Photo/Illustration Credits 91
Index 93
About the Authors 97

Sports Psychological Guidance for Triathletes

Camilla Lindholm
Sport Sciences, Malmö University

FiT Publishing's Sport Psychology Library has published several branch-specific manuals in sports psychology, including Triathlon. The authors Joe Baker (University of York) and Whitney Sedqwick (University of British Columbia) have extensive experience in research, teaching, and applicaation in sport psychology and triathlon. Together they have taken on the task of writing a sport psychology handbook for both the triathlon coaches and practitioners. The purpose of the manual is to fill the gap that exists in today's literature about triathlon, which according to most authors is focused on the physiological aspect of the sport. The target group is the coach, those already active, and aspiring triathletes who do not have access to personalized sports psychological counseling.

The book's first chapter aims to provide an introduction to sport psychology and triathlon, as well as show how the book should be used. The book is divided into three sections, each section includes two to three chapters. The book is remarkably written with more facts and examples, rich illustrations, and chapter summaries that make the book very easy to read.

The first section deals with the training factors and preparation for competition and takes up factors such as motivation and how it can be raised by means of objective and visualization. The book's second section focuses on psychological factors before and during the competition, focusing on stress, tension and concentration. The third and final section addresses other issues that do not fit in the other two sections, such as treating pain and injury, the importance of reflection during and after a performance, and a final chapter on how the athlete will be running and maintaining their mental training.

It is an uphill task as the writers have taken on. The 95 pages both provide a theoretical background of all of the above parts and pass on techniques and exercises that can help the athlete in vulnerable situation. The relevant inquiry is of course; is this even possible? The answer to that question is no. It would be impossible with this meager page range to provide a comprehensive picture of such a wide area of ​​knowledge and that also is relevant for both experienced coaches as for athletes who are planning their first race. As training or handbook for the already sporting psychologically oriented coach or triathlete seems the book is rather meager both in scope and in content. The question is whether it really is these writers include in the target group coaches, athletes and potential triathletes. The book should instead be seen in light of the lack of practical applicability sports psychology books in triathlon. The authors say in the foreword will fill a gap in today's triathlon literature and introduce the subject as well as simple techniques for the coaches and triathletes who have no personal sport psychological counselors available. And, it is only those they wanted to capture, so they might even succeed at a pretty good in a pleasant and easily digestible manner.

The book should be read as an introduction to sports psychology and the use of mental techniques in triathlon. There is an obvious gain in giving a more digestible picture of the area of ​​knowledge to spread interest and avoid misunderstandings, such as sport psychological training is something extremely complicated and only for a select few. That puts it a point to reduce the number of pages and making many illustrations and easy-going, as well as the selection of easy to understand mental techniques as well as reduce the number. In this way, more get  interest in the area of ​​knowledge and improve themselves in more advanced literature. This could be the authors' intent, as they after the concluding chapters provide an extensive list of suggested further reading literature, with heavy profiles in triathlons as well as in sports psychology. Here is given a full opportunity for the sport with psychological interest to improve in selected subject areas within the area because the reference list is divided according to the different chapters of the book and meet all the requirements of science.

Overall impression of the book is positive. It serves as a good introduction to the subject. The language gives the impression of scientific ambitions, however, must be considered easy to understand, even for a novice. Another great benefit of this book is the extensive reference list provided at the end and that gives the reader the opportunity to go on for a deepening and application within the selected area.

By extension, I see with great enthusiasm forward to a more in-depth book on applied sports psychology and triathlon.