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From the author of You Are Awesome: Find Your Confidence and Dare to be Brilliant at (Almost) Anything
Essential reading for an astounding summer of sport; If you’ve ever wondered what makes a champion, Bounce has the answer.
This edition does not include illustrations.
What are the real secrets of sporting success, and what lessons do they offer about life? Why doesn’t Tiger Woods “choke”? Why are the best figure skaters those that have fallen over the most and why has one small street in Reading produced more top table tennis players than the rest of the country put together.
Two-time Olympian and sports writer and broadcaster Matthew Syed draws on the latest in neuroscience and psychology to uncover the secrets of our top athletes and introduces us to an extraordinary cast of characters, including the East German athlete who became a man, and her husband – and the three Hungarian sisters who are all chess grandmasters. Bounce is crammed with fascinating stories and statistics.
Looking at controversial questions such as whether talent is more important than practice, drugs in sport (and life) and whether black people really are faster runners, the mind-bending Bounce is a must-read for the hardened sports nut or brand new convert.
‘A gripping examination of the hidden forces that come together in the making of a champion.' Michael Atherton, former England cricket captain
'A fascinating subject and Syed is a dazzling writer.' Owen Slot, The Times
'I love this book. A must-read if you have ever wondered what sets the super-achievers and the rest of us apart – in any field, not just in sport. I only wish I had read it when I was fifteen.' Gabby Logan, BBC presenter and former international gymnast
'Intellectually stimulating and hugely enjoyable at a stroke … challenged some of my most cherished beliefs about life and success.' Jonathan Edwards, triple jump world record holder
About the author
Matthew Syed is an award-winning journalist for The Times, writing for both the sports pages and the comment pages.
He is a three-time Commonwealth table-tennis champion and competed in two Olympics. He was a contributor to the BBC coverage of London 2012. He studied PPE at Balliol College Oxford where he was awarded a prize-winning first class degree.
Syed, sportswriter and columnist for the London Times, takes a hard look at performance psychology, heavily influenced by his own ego-damaging but fruitful epiphany. At the age of 24, Syed became the #1 British table tennis player, an achievement he initially attributed to his superior speed and agility. But in retrospect, he realizes that a combination of advantages a mentor, good facilities nearby, and lots of time to hone his skills set him up perfectly to become a star performer. He admits his argument owes a debt to Malcolm Gladwell's Outliers, but he aims to move one step beyond it, drawing on cognitive neuroscience research to explain how the body and mind are transformed by specialized practice. He takes on the myth of the child prodigy, emphasizing that Mozart, the Williams sisters, Tiger Woods, and Susan Polgar, the first female grandmaster, all had live-in coaches in the form of supportive parents who put them through a ton of early practice. Cogent discussions of the neuroscience of competition, including the placebo effect of irrational optimism, self-doubt, and superstitions, all lend credence to a compelling narrative; readers who gobbled up Freakonomics and Predictably Irrational will flock to this one.