You are using an outdated browser. For a faster, safer browsing experience, upgrade for free today.

My top three books

There are some really great books out there, but sometimes it can be difficult to know where to start! So these are my personal top three books. I suggest that start with them and work from there. All of three of them are really easy to read, contain useful information and are readily available.

Cover Author Title Description
Dweck, Carol Mindset: Changing The Way You think To Fulfil Your Potential If there is one book on this list that you read, make sure that it is this one! One of the most influential books in the area. It provides a great explanation of the Growth mindset. A concept that comes up time and time again.
Colvin, Goeff Talent is overrated: What Really Separates World-Class Performers from Everybody Else A fascinating read and I couldn't put it down. Personally, I found the concept really liberating - the thought that your performance is only limit by the amount of time and effort you are willing to put in was a really eye opener! Forget about talents that you think you are born with - it is all about practice, hardwork and commitment.
Alred, Dave The Pressure Principle: Handle Stress, Harness Energy, and Perform When It Counts Very down to earth with some worked through examples. Stress impacts everyone differently and I found this book helped to understand how to adopt techniques to deal with it. I can't watch kickers in rubgy without thinking about this book.

A more complete reading list

Mindset books

The key book here is Carol Dweck's book closely followed by Geoff Colvin's book. The ideas in these two books fit together really well.

Cover Author Title Description
Syed, Matthew Bounce: The Myth of Talent and the Power of Practice Matthew Syed is known as Mr Ping Pong and this book covers Matthew's own experiences as a table tennis champion. This book re-iterates and reinforces a lot of the work in Colvin's book but from another angle.
Syed, Matthew Black box thinking: Marginal gains and the secrets of high performance This takes the Growth mindset and applies it to organisations as well as individuals. Great content on Cognitive Dissonance and self image. Interesting reading.
Syed, Matthew You are awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything A brilliant introduction to the Growth mindset for younger readers. Very well written and well laid out.
Gladwell, Malcolm Outliers: The story of success Another book that reinforces the issue about talent being over-rated. I am a great Gladwell fan. Really easy to read.
Ericsson, Anders Peak: How all of us can achieve extraordinary things This uses some of the same base research as in Geoff Colvin's book, but takes it on to the next step. This book forms a power combination when read after Carol Dweck's book.
Marshall, Simon and Paterson, Lesley The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion Although aimed at the endurance athlete, it has some great in-depth sections on self-image as well as some great ideas on how to deal with stress.
Turner, Martin and Barker, Jamie Tipping The Balance: The Mental Skills Handbook For Athletes Lots of good practical advice as well as some relevant theory. It is a good book to dip into and it has good hints and tips.

Performing under pressure

You will find a large number of books on the subject. Most will concentrate on process as a method for performing under pressure. There is a set of common themes that run through these books.

Cover Author Title Description
Hudson, Rich Pressure Myths: Understanding the Psychology of Performance Description

Mental game for shooting

There really is only one book worth reading here and it is probably the one that most shotgun shooters will be familiar with.

Cover Author Title Description
Bassham, Lanny With winning in Mind It is a great read and the audio version (just over 5 hours) is well worth downloading. I can't remember how times I have listened to it and every time I do, I hear something new.

In the zone

Being "in the zone" is a phrase you hear a lot. It is also sometimes referred to as "Flow" - this is when 100% of your focus is on the process and you lose track of everything else, even the outcome.

Cover Author Title Description
Brolin, Clyde In The Zone: How Champions Think and Win Big Description
Jackson, Susan and Csikszentmihalyi, Mihaly Flow in Sports Csikszentmihalyi is considered to be the person who first coined the phrase "flow". A surprisingly easy book to read.
Lardon, Michael Finding your zone: Ten core lessons for achieving peak performance in sports and life Description


There used to be only one book on the subject (which was dated and difficult to read), but recently I came across a second which is much more accessible with some good exercises.

Cover Author Title Description
Martin, Wayne F. An insight to sports: Featuring trapshooting and golf This can be a really difficult book to get hold of and even when you do, it can be hard going to read. But it is the only book in the area.
Kennedy, Wes Sports Vision Training for Shooting Performance: A Guide For The Combat Athlete Aimed more at combat sports, this short book does have some very shooting specific exercises.