“The mind is the athlete” – Bryce Courtenay

“The mind is the athlete” – Bryce Courtenay

A few weeks ago I was listening to a podcast with the author of one of my favorite training books, How Bad Do You Want It?: Mastering the Psychology of Mind over Muscle, Matt Fitzgerald and at the end of the marshall-and-masonepisode, the hosts asked him for his favorite quote.

Matt’s response was one that got my wheels turning, so I decided to make it the subject of my Food for Thought Friday this week.

The quote he chose was “the mind is the athlete” from Bryce Courtenay.

Short and sweet.

It’s no coincidence that Matt wrote a book about the mind-body connection with a favorite quote like that, but it got me thinking about our athletes at Cróga.

During The Open every single year I watch our athletes accomplish things that they didn’t know they were capable, but I also inevitably watch some athletes score less than I know they have in them.

It’s the nature of sports and competition.

Some athletes will over-achieve, some will perform as expected, and some will under-perform.

And on any given week or in any given workout, all of us are susceptible to any one of these types of performances.

But if you truly understand what Bryce Courtenay meant when he wrote “the mind is the athlete”, when the workout gets hard and you want to slow down or quit, you can turn the tide and get the most out of yourself.

I’ve seen in time and time again and have experienced it time and time again.

When the going gets tough, do you dig deep, grit your teeth and continue to push?


When you hit a rough patch or something you’re not as good at, do you back away, “catch your breath”, go get chalk, and avoid the pain and discomfort that come with pushing your limits?

When endurance is the limiting factor, your body will ALWAYS continue as long as you will it to and are willing to put up with the discomfort that comes with continuing whatever activity it is that you’re performing.

Use this knowledge to your advantage.

And remember, the quote says “The mind is the athlete”, NOT the body is the athlete…