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The Book Every Athlete Should Read

Javier Snchez Mingorance / EyeEm

After a day of practice last week, I went into our video review room to do exactly that: review my practice videos. As an NCAA Equestrian, the decisions we make throughout patterns during practice and competition are solely made through what we feel underneath us in the horse. Being videotaped gives us the chance to go back and get a visual of those decisions to see what looks best, but also feels best to us and the horse we are on. 

As I was finishing up my videos, I noticed a stack of books on our bookshelf. Like any curious person, I took one, walked straight to my coach’s office, and asked if I could borrow it. Not only did she say yes, but she also handed me another book. She looked at me and said, “I think you’ll like this one even better.” I took her word, and the minute I got home, I started to read. 

I’m only halfway through the first part of Mind Gym: An Athletes Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack, and I can already notice the difference in my performance. Many athletes harp on physically exercising constantly, believing that being in top physical shape is going to get them the results in their respective sport that they are looking for. However, after starting this book, I am realizing this is not true. Now, I am not saying that physical excellence is not going to reap benefits and results, it most definitely will; but, unless you exercise your mind as much as your body, you will never tap your full potential.

Unless you exercise your mind as much as your body, you will never tap your full potential.

Gary Mack’s book is split into four parts, each divided into conquering different aspects of the mental game that comes with being an athlete. I encourage all of my fellow student-athletes to read it, to share it with your team and even with your coaches. Every morning we are given the opportunity to work with an athletic trainer to progress and maintain our physical strength, wouldn’t it be worthwhile to do the same for your mind?