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How Champions Think: In Sports and in Life Hardcover – May 5, 2015

4.3 out of 5 stars 55 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise for Bob Rotella and How Champions Think:

“Why sidle up to Bob Rotella? For one, his client list is studded with very successful people . . . a cascade of boldface names, many from the world of sports but others from the entertainment industry . . . [In How Champions Think] he spins tales from his decades of advising the exceptionally rich, talented, and famous. His advice doesn’t sound earth-shattering. It’s straightforward and simple. . . . ‘Ninety percent of this game is half mental,’ said Yogi Berra. Do the math. Read Rotella.” The Wall Street Journal

“Rotella’s philosophy is astonishingly simple . . . [and] probably owes more to Vince Lombardi than it does to Sigmund Freud. . . . Rotella has counseled a dozen athletic teams and organizations (the New Jersey Nets, for one), the employees of some twenty corporations—among them Merrill Lynch, General Electric, and Time Warner—and assorted individuals, including a tennis champion trying to make a comeback and a musician with a bad case of stage fright. . . . Though Rotella’s tips are undeniably useful, they cannot account for his success rate, which is phenomenal.” —The New York Times

“The author is, unquestionably, the premier mental coach for golf, having worked with Darren Clarke and Keegan Bradley as well as athletes in other sports, along with business executives…What makes golf an interesting metaphor is that even the truly luminary succeed, but only a fraction of the time. Rotella emphasizes the importance of goals-setting and the discipline that is required to achieve those aims….[How Champions Think is] so good that this reviewer has recommended it to all,golfers and non-golfers alike.” —Library Journal (starred review)

“Intriguing and persuasive….Though Rotella’s primary concern here is with the very successful, “ordinary” people should also find useful tips here for smoothly handling life’s challenges and opportunities.” —Publishers Weekly

"Having counseled such sports stars as LeBron James and PGA great Hal Sutton, sports psychologist Rotella extends his sports-centric guidance to those seeking to enhance their everyday acumen through the power of focused positive thinking….A solid motivational text for the sports-minded and thoseinterested in the bridging of athletics and exceptionalism.” —Kirkus Reviews

About the Author

Dr. Bob Rotella was the director of sports psychology for twenty years at the University of Virginia, where his reputation grew as the person champions talked to about the mental aspects of their game. His client list includes Hall of Fame golfers like Pat Bradley, Tom Kite, and Nick Price as well as stars of the present, such as Darren Clarke, Keegan Bradley, Padraig Harrington, Graeme McDowell, Mark Wilson, and Rory Mcllroy. A writer for and consultant to Golf Digest, he lives in Virginia with his wife, Darlene.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (May 5, 2015)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1476788626
  • ISBN-13: 978-1476788623
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Michael J. Kerrigan on June 25, 2015
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
It is well known that Dr. Bob Rotella has had several successful careers: as the director of sports psychology at the University of Virginia, as an author of eight best selling books and as a teacher of America’s most accomplished athletes, especially golfers. While much of his acclaim is in the sports field with the publication of How Champions Think, Dr. Rotella will gain wider recognition and become better known as a psychologist and teacher of all whose dream is to become “exceptional in their chosen field.”

As a weekend golfer I have enjoyed Bob’s previous books and his most recent book, How Champions Think does not disappoint. Bob’s prose flows from golfing greats he has coached to his other clients in college basketball to major league baseball. The personal golfing lesson that hit home for me is that “it is better to love one-putting than to hate three putting.” This lesson has a deeper meeting for me as I consciously record the number of putts I take in in each round and circling three putts, as if I wish to remember my failures rather than my few one-putt greens.

Bob’s focus on the positive is throughout How Champions Think but his philosophy is best explained in Chapter Eight… Learned Effectiveness: The Virtuous. While other cognitive psychologist like Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania were evolving from “learned helplessness” to “learned optimism,” Bob was teaching the practical applications of “learned effectiveness” to people who want to be exceptional. Bob acknowledges William James as his role model in the field of psychology I believe both Bob and James would also subscribe to Heraclitus view…

“The content of your character is your choice; day to day what you choose, what you think and what you do is what you become.
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Format: Hardcover
First let me say that I have read everyone of Rotella's books and they are pretty much all fabulous. This one however is different. It lacks the commanding interest of the other books and contains some questionable material, for instance, overly simplified and formulaic ideas about the subconscious and other aspects that are really not grounded in science but just his personal opinions.

Second, the book is patently misleading because on the cover he calls himself America's Sport Psychologist and the man is not licensed as a psychologist. He truly should know better than to mislead like that. While he is certainly qualified to give advice to athletes and performers, he does himself a great disservice by referring to himself this way.

I do however highly recommend his other works, especially Golf is Not a Game of Perfect
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could also be a title for this book. If this is the first of his books that you read, it will be well worth it and you will get a great deal from it. If however, like myself, this is not the first but the sixth or seventh of his books that you have read then a lot of it will be familiar to you. In fact you could almost have written it yourself. Some of the stories have had the names or situations changed, The Jack Nicklaus Story recalls a three putt, in an earlier book it was a shank.....Gary Player (I think) has become Greg Norman....... Personally this is pretty much a nice reminder of things I had already seen from the author.
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Format: Kindle Edition
In the corporate life, there are many a time when despondency decends upon us and we end up feeling as if we are living a life which we dislike every moment. And then we crib about how we just lack the talent to achieve greatness, how some people have everything going for them because of what they have in their genes

Daniel Coyle had demolished the talent theory in his book "The Talent Code - Greatness isnt born, its grown". He firmly believes that with more and more practice and by delierately increasing the level of difficulty, the myelin in the brain cells develop to take a person to greatness.

Bob does not make light of the need to practice. In fact he suggest practice to a level of detachement to achieve dreams, But what he constantly emphasizes is on the frame of mind to enhance the achievement.

He quotes William James "People tend to become what they think of themselves" to explain how people who strive to be exceptional develop a high level of confidence in their skill, He also brings out the fine difference between optimism and confidence. Optimism is a general faith while confidence is more specific to the skills. To bring out the confidence, the conscious brain has to be active at the time of practice but inactive at the time of performance. The subconscious mind is areas does the best job of controlling the motor skills.

Bob also gives various cases to emphasize the fact that while the correlation between optimism and success may be imperfect, there is an almost a perfect correlation between negative thinking and failure. And that in face of negative experience, a champions mind does let themsleves get stuck to it.
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An interesting read. It cries for an update on those athletes whose skills and performances have declined. It would be interesting to read this and "Outliers" concurrently. I think he could have delved a bit more deeply into those athletes who visualize their own reality so deeply, that they don't recognize actual reality.
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