The Weekend Read: Bounce by Matthew Syed

I am fascinated by success and failure in sport. I love the small things that make a huge difference, the teams that are odds on favourites but come unstuck, the ability of an individual to turn their fortunes around. I have often wondered what would have happened had Gareth Edwards followed his athletics rather than his rugby career and whether his contemporary JPR Williams, having won as a junior at Wimbledon, could have succeeded at the higher level. Would their “God given” talent have transferred?

What about the kid who could have been a great, say, lacrosse player but had no idea that the sport existed?Now that far fewer schools play cricket than in the past are there Bothams. Gowers and Boycotts who are having to make do with kicking a football and perhaps being OK club golfers?

Is there a point in a sportsman’s career where the coach catches their ability and manages to both enthuse them, get top level performances and leave them with a set of values and habits that will carry them to the peak of their career?

This book, subtitled How Champions are Made, by Matthew Syed goes a long way to exploring and explaining how success is attained and maintained. The surprise (or not) is that winners aren’t born, they are made; and the key to achieving greatness lies in hard work, and the right attitude and training.

The author is a three-time Commonwealth table-tennis champion and an award-winning sports journalist.

Through his own experience of being in the right place at the right time, he is able to give an autobiographical take on the subject.

  • His parents seemingly out of the blue bought a top of the range table-tennis table
  • He and his brother were able to play daily as they had a large garage.
  • His brother was as keen & talented as he was.
  • The local coach was the best in the UK.
  • The local club was the most successful in the UK.

As a professional writer he brings an analytical mind to the subject.

A thoroughly readable and fascinating book.

Available from Amazon here.

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