Athletes Top Workouts

The Intense Psychological Needs of Top Athletes

It isn’t the money. It’s the hunger, the desire, and it’s hard to turn it off. It’s about pride, and it’s about ego.

Chris Evert, who used her pride and ego to become the world’s number 1 female tennis player 5 times and win 18 Grand Slam titles.

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Bob Beamon says that when people are watching, athletes are capable of some grand accomplishments. Competing is somewhat natural to humans, particularly if other people are listening or watching. In the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City, the whole world was watching as Beamon produced one of the most brilliant performances in track and field history leaping 29 feet, two and a-half inches to break the world record in the long jump by nearly two feet.

Many world-class athletes have a need to impress others (of course this is true of amateur and recreational athletes, too one study showed that joggers speed up when they realize people are watching them!). Prior to the Atlanta Olympics, as he prepared for the 200-and 400-meter races, American sprinter Michael Johnson said: I want all eyes on me. Not on the Dream Team [men’s basketball] or anyone else (18).

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