The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion – Review

Sometimes your bike isn’t the only thing that needs a tune-up. Whether it’s learning to stay calm under pressure on race day, dealing with an injury or illness, stress management, or overcoming negative self-talk, we all need a brain tune-up from time to time. We know, easier said than done. Fortunately for all of us, Dr. Simon Marshall and Lesley Paterson have authored The Brave Athlete: Calm the F*ck Down and Rise to the Occasion – a new guide that can help athletes tackle 13 of the most common mental challenges many of us face in training and racing.

The Brave Athlete by Lesley Paterson and Dr. Simon Marshall

Dr. Marshall is a sport psychology expert who trains the brains of elite athletes, and Paterson is a three-time world champion triathlete and coach. Together, this husband-and-wife team have written a book that combines science and real-world experiences for athletes of all levels.

When we first picked up the book, we honestly weren’t sure what to expect. In fact, we had our doubts. We’ve skimmed through several sports psychology books in the past, but none really resonated with us. Many seemed totally unrealistic, out of touch, or just downright cheesy. Not so with this one. Immediately we felt connected to several chapters of the book. In fact, we ended up skipping around quite a bit, rather than reading it cover to cover.

We loved how The Brave Athlete drew from real research as well as real-life stories. For example, what’s really going on when we choke under pressure, and more importantly, what can we do to fix it? How can we overcome the urge to quit and train our brains to suffer more effectively in training and racing? Basically, how can you stop the thoughts and feelings you don’t want? You know the kind of stuff we’re talking about—the negative garbage that’s just taking up space in your head? That’s the kind of thing The Brave Athlete will help you with.

The book also contained exercises and worksheets that were truly useful. We’re talking about practical advice that’s actually doable. Tracy, our multisport editor, ended up using a few of the worksheets and found them to be extremely helpful. She’s still got them bookmarked in the book and has gone back to them from time to time.

As athletes, we’ve all had those moments that test our mental limits, and the strategies you’ll find in The Brave Athlete can help you push through those limits. We’d highly recommend checking it out for yourself. You can preview the book at While you’re there, you can also get your copy directly from VeloPress for $24.95.

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