The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life

Narrated by: Dr. Eddie O'Connor
Length: 12 hrs and 18 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (454 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

"How do you get to Carnegie Hall?" "Practice. Practice. Practice." Today, the relatively new science of performance psychology tells us that old answer is incomplete at best. In The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life, clinical sport psychologist Eddie O'Connor, PhD, shares the best ways for you to reach your personal Carnegie Hall based on the latest scientific research - whether your performance environment is music, dance, business, or sport. These often surprising research results will make you rethink your own performance strategies, offering approaches you might never have considered and busting myths you might have taken as truth.

As Dr. O'Connor explains, the work of a sport psychologist is not defined by sport, but by the science of performance psychology, the mental aspects of superior performance in settings where excellence is central - usually sports, the performing arts, business, and high-risk professions such as the military. In Dr. O'Connor's work and in this course, sport is a lens through which to view the issues of practice, anxiety, injury, confidence, and more - issues that apply to any performer.

We've always known that physical training can reshape our bodies. This exciting research reveals that mental training also can modify the structure and function of our brains, resulting in increased neurological ability to perform a particular skill. Purposeful practice gets you there. Learn why it's the only thing that can.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.
©2017 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2017 The Great Courses

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

This course helped me personally and professionall

Dr O'Connor's course was a great help to me. As an older dressage rider learning how develop my skill, this course helped me think through the steps I need to take to have my best outcome and quite frankly- fun- doing the sport I love. I learned how important clarifying my values and developing a mindfulness practice will help me act and react in ways that reflects those values. Even though as a psychotherapist, I know this in my daily life, I had not understood how it can change how I practice and how that will make me a better rider.
I have also used the information in this course to help my clients change their behaviors or at least understand why doing therapy along, without a daily practice of some kind, inhibits the progress they want.
Thank you Dr O'Connor and please do more.

15 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Good Performance, Got Lost in Content,

Would you try another book from The Great Courses and/or Dr. Eddie O'Connor?

Big fan of the Great Courses, would not purchase another book from this author.

Would you recommend The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life to your friends? Why or why not?

Marginal recommendation. Some chapters relevant. Would start with Chapter 3. Early part of book is history of sports psychology or interpreting psychological methods used in the past. I was looking for applications recommendations which are found in Chapter 3. Mid part of book was into meditation and positive thinking ... which started to lose me.

I felt like this was a 3 chapter book which was crammed into 12. Would only recommend if you ok skipping irrelevant content.

What about Dr. Eddie O'Connor’s performance did you like?

Pace and presentation are excellent. Dr. O'Connor is clearly an experienced and knowledgeable presenter.

Did The Psychology of Performance: How to Be Your Best in Life inspire you to do anything?

Helped me with some specific types of goal setting to achieve objectives.

28 people found this helpful

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Excelente conferences and outstanding content.

I am an amateur musician and I got this audiobook to see if it can give some tips to improve, to my surprise I found that this has a lot of good information and pragmatic knowledge that I can use a parent as well. I really enjoyed it and I learned a lot

16 people found this helpful

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Applicable outside of sports

Though this course is sport-focused, and this may resonate best with those who have played sports, essentially every lecture is more broadly applicable to other pursuits (work, relationships), and to life in general

10 people found this helpful

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should be titled how to mentally prepare for sport

thought the title of the book was super misleading. it has nothing to do with how to be your best in life, he doesn't talk about different aspects of life everything he refers to is the conditioning of sports. if I would of known that from the beginning probably wouldn't have bought the book

21 people found this helpful

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Unable to recommend

I studied psychology and even was a teaching assistant and studied cognitive therapy. I can not follow his structure. He uses multiple abstract terms or acronyms strung together to define a "construct'. This has a couple of pearls early on but starting at lecture 8 it deteriorates to unintelligible terms to actually define a "new language" so to speak making it difficult to even discuss the work with anyone who has not studied his terminology and worked to understand it. I tried but with 5:22 remaining it was an exercise in frustration and futility. I am returning this book. Very cumbersome to follow his multiple lists of abstracts to define another abstract term. ie cumbersome mnemonics.

1 person found this helpful

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Excellent information. Very interesting.

Really interesting. Very thorough and engaging. Highly recommend this book especially if you enjoy sports.

1 person found this helpful

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Good read, sport psychology focus.

pretty good book. heavy focus on sports psychology wish it had general information as well.

2 people found this helpful

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Excelent material

I enjoyed it very much. rich content and eell strructured. Aplicable outside sports as well.

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Good for those involved in sport, not much for me

Although it says it has something for everyone, this book is definitely a written for athletes and those involved with sport. There are nuggets of useful info but it's sandwiched in-between stories of athletes and clinical info. Hard for me, someone not involved with any sport, to stay interested.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-02-18

Exceptional

I bought this realising it was going to be heavily sport focussed and was in two minds. I'm so glad I did! I'm no athlete but was hoping for useful information on the general attributes of the most successful. I wasn't disappointed. As a secondary school teacher, I learned a great deal to help myself and those I teach.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Anna
  • 11-23-17

Excellent course.. surprisingly applicable

I was surprised at how useful the information in this course is across all areas of life.

It’s almost a one stop shop for self help, motivation, productivity, mindfulness, parenting and just generally being the best you can be.

Truly brilliant and inspiring course.. thank you so much!

2 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Amazon Customer
  • 10-02-17

an excellent course, however

an excellent course, however the author, as many others, has serious misconceptions about 'talent'. He even adds: 'if it even exists', which gives an hint as to the fact that he has not seen proof of it, so he has doubts as to whether it exists, etc. Also, like many other authors, he thinks that 'performing arts' (like music) are similar to sports. Well, I have been practicing music seriously for almost 30 years, and been playing professionally for several years. I know all about talent. I have seen it, heard it, and even experienced it for myself, in some cases, but too long to explain here what I mean. The author doesn't know anything about talent which isn't so strange: talent is rare, but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist!', he knows even less about music. I still give this 5 stars as the Great Courses are the best courses I can get anywhere. They come with excellent 'reference manuals'. And I still found the course very useful, as a musician. The misconceptions about 'talent' is my only niggle. But the rest is very well researched, buy it .

11 people found this helpful

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  • Timbo
  • 12-13-18

Very sport based

These lectures are interesting and well structured. The lecturer clearly has a good depth of understanding and manages to collate a lot of material and make it easy to understand.
Although he touches on other performers, such as musicians - the title of this is misleading and really should read the psychology of sport performance. There are a lot of references to sport, in particular North American sport, which may be lost on a non sport or non American listener.
The delivery sounds like a speech being read out rather than a book being read or a lecture being given but you get used to it.
The first lecture is particularly dull, but persevere as it picks up in the second one.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Gery Lynch
  • 03-18-18

Not Their Best

I use Great courses, both directly and via Audible, a lot as I find the Lecturers a lot better than most I have experienced in further education.  This courses although reasonably presented lacks content.  Most of the observations are rather intuitive, and can be gleamed from any Psychological course.  Initially I had the idea it was convenient to have them all in one place but I am afraid I gave up as I got little from it. 

3 people found this helpful

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  • A. Forsythe
  • 12-13-18

An Evidence-based approach

With so many generalist books on this topic it was refreshing to find something so evidence driven

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  • Edward
  • 02-23-18

Another ourstanding course from the Great Courses

At first I was concerned that this would be mainly about sports (and about a quarter is only about sports), but a lot of the techniques and approaches can be applied to almost any area. Things such as goal setting, deliberate practice, commitment, self-compassion, mindfulness and routines help you perform well in any area. The course deals with overcoming mental barriers such as focus, anxiety, motivation, perfectionism, and burnout. I didn't fully realise how important these are. The course does a good job of introducing some ways to deal with these barriers effectively to perform your best.
This course is suitible for high performing professionals, athletes or coaches. I would recommend it. It is long, but interesting.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 11-28-18

Useful and well-grounded

This course has something for everyone - not just athletes.

The most generalizable content is at the start of the course, which was a great choice structurally. This means that there's no hunting for relevant information if you're listening for the advice on performance in general, not just performance in sport.

Probably the best advice I've ever heard on this topic. I'd highly recommend.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-27-18

So far the best on this topic ive listen to

this book is filled with a mixer of studies that back up the ideas snd practical information about how to apply the practice techniques. I read through it once but am very keen to revisit it soon!!

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Frank qian
  • 04-11-18

Reasonable Introduction

Narrator/author was knowledgeable but kind of contradictory by emphasizing sacrifice/discipline then switching to well-being and health. The beginning lectures mention how training and dedication are absolutely imperative for high performance, but then he starts focusing on well being which obviously relates to sport but giving examples which are very counter towards discipline.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Lloyd
  • 10-25-17

A must have for the amateur athlete

This lecture series gave me the tools I needed to re-engage with my sport and start training intensely again. Highly recommended.