The Champion's Mind

Practical guidelines on how to develop a mindset for success

There are countless books on mental training for athletes, making it difficult to determine which ones offer the best advice. One clue to determining the quality of these books is by looking at the academic and real-world experience of the author. Consider those of Jim Afrenow, Ph.D., author of The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive.

From 2004 to 2013, Afremow was a sports psychologist and licensed counselor at Arizona State University. He was a sports psychologist for the Greek Olympic softball and India’s Olympic field hockey teams. He has worked with professional athletes in baseball, basketball, football, and golf. That should get your attention.

Photo by Viviana Podhaiski,

Besides his success stories, Afremow’s work has received praise from many credible sources. Here are what some of his admirers have said about The Champion’s Mind:

“The Champion’s Mind is loaded with great lessons, advice, and perspectives on how to be successful. The skills and strategies that Jim provides here are essential in carving a path to success, no matter what field you are in or what your goals are. I can honestly say that I have lived by many of the strategies offered in this book and I can also say I wish I had lived by more of them. But it’s never too late to be as good as you can be!” —Dan Jansen, Olympic gold medalist, speed skating

“I learned early on in my professional baseball career that players at the elite level are generally pretty similar from the perspective of physical aptitude. Yet, what tends to differentiate the all-stars from the rest of the pack resides between the ears. Jim Afremow does a great job of exploring this subject in The Champion’s Mind. This is a great book for coaches and athletes of all ages who are looking to improve performance at any level, in any sport.” —Shawn Green, two-time MLB All-Star

“When I read The Champion’s Mind it quite frankly reminded me of many instances, mannerisms, and thoughts leading to my Olympic Championship, and it has given me many other wisdoms to pass on to the athletes I now coach. Choose your path, follow your path, any path worth choosing will have its ups and downs, but The Champion’s Mind will help you with ideas to keep moving forward on that path. The focus you gain will help you reach the top of whatever you seek.” —Nick Hysong, Olympic gold medalist, pole vault

As with Charles R. Poliquin’s approach to using positive self-talk to perform tasks (refer to his articles on “The Myth of Discipline” Afrenow’s approach is to adopt an “I will” mindset rather than “I could.” That is, playing to win and always going for the gold.

Afremow recognizes that we are individuals and that there is not a single approach to mental training that works for everyone, he offers several practical methods to get you into a positive mindset for success. For example, writing down your goals, improving your focus with breathing techniques, focusing on the completion of your goals, developing a pre-game song playlist, and enlisting the support of your teammates, friends, and family.

Afremow wrote this book for a general audience to help everyone become a champion. It contains motivational stories of methods that enabled elite athletes to excel, overcome obstacles, and get through those days where you “play ugly” and still perform effectively. The Strength Sensei always said, “Success leaves clues,” and you’ll find many clues in The Champion’s Mind. (TSS)

[The Champion’s Mind: How Great Athletes Think, Train, and Thrive by Jim Afremow, Ph.D. is available in hardcover, paperback, Kindle formats through and in audiobook format through]

Scroll to Top

Join The All-New Dojo

All new programs for women’s training, combat sports, and performance.