Book Review & Discussion : Mind Gym

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An Athlete's Guide to Inner Excellence

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In this event, you’ll learn

Which study proved the efficiency of the idea of the mind gym

What Japanese concept you can learn from about sports

How self-consistency theory determines how successful you are

What SMART goals are

Why inner excellence matters more than outer excellence

Where your mind should be during performances

About the Author

Gary Mack is a leading sports psychology consultant and counselor who has worked with athletes in the NBA, NFL, NHL, WNBA, and Major League Baseball. He is president of two consulting firms, Sports Assist and Planning Solutions; the director of sports psychology for Griffey International; and team counselor for the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.

David Casstevens is a senior writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and author of the Charles Barkley biography, Somebody's Gotta Be Me.

McGraw-Hill authors represent the leading experts in their fields and are dedicated to improving the lives, careers, and interests of readers worldwide


Gary Mack presents a series of short essays describing the importance of mental preparation with regard to increased motivation and performance within the field of sports. Filled with anecdotes and stories from Mack’s career as a counsellor and consultant, this book reads as a who’s who of American sports stars and their insights into mental toughness.

Gary Mack is an American sports psychology consultant who has worked with athletes in basketball, ice hockey, American football and baseball. He is currently the team counsellor for the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury.

Chapters include: The Head Edge / Getting Over Yourself / Progress Not Perfection / Fate Loves The Fearless / Attitude Is Everything / Servant Or Master / Choice Not Chance.

As a trainer and facilitator, I have encountered many of the themes that Gary Mack presents in Mind Gym. Nevertheless, I was initially intrigued by his stories, quotes and statistics which offered new insight on well-trodden psychological principles. The book is structured as a series of short, inspirational stories from the author’s career as a professional sport psychologist. Each of the 40 bite-sized chapters begins with two quotations by sportspeople and ends with a quotation by Mack. Each chapter focuses on a different message and illustrates it with many examples from Mack’s sporting clients.

On reflection, this book for me works as one that should be dipped into rather than read from cover to cover. The book’s light size and shape makes it ideal to carry in a bag, ready to be used for some instant inspiration. As a continuous read, I soon found the book rather repetitive in structure and Mack’s excessive use of name-dropping began to wear thin, especially as I had not heard of 90% of the people mentioned. As a European, I found the references to baseball, basketball and American football difficult to access, and they cloud the key message within each chapter rather than reinforce it. It is only his references within golf that cross the pond effectively.

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