Psychology of Sport

I wrote two essentially ethnographic books about the lives of boxers, 'On the Ropes' and 'The Shadows of Boxing'. I wanted to map out the patterns in the lives of boxers, the training, the hard work and dedication, the hours spent in the gym, the gruelling routines, the sparring and the fights, but also the bits in between when they are trying to make ends meet. After all, not everyone becomes a world champion. But I also wanted to map out the dreams and the hopes and the fears, the mental aspects of the whole thing, hidden and private, and I could only get at that by training with them and listening to what they had to say at critical times. The whole point of ethnography is knowing when to ask your questions and when to stay silent.

One of my books ('Head to Head') is based solely on interviews with famous individuals from the world of sport. Alex Ferguson said that he too was really a psychologist, and a bloody good one. Vinnie Jones preferred birdwatching to trying to understand people. 'People are very predictable,' he said. 'Animals aren't.'

In 'Chasing Lost Times' I put myself under the spotlight. I have been a compulsive runner since I was thirteen, my son Ben hated it. Now he's bordering on elite status. This book explores the psychology of compulsive running and family life through lived experience.

Selected publications

Beattie, G. (2015)
Foreward 'Let it Be' to 'The Inner Game of Tennis: The ultimate guide to the mental side of peak performance' by W. Timothy
Pan: London

Beattie, G. and Beattie, B. (2012)
Chasing Lost Times: A Father and Son Reconciled through Running. Read more >
Edinburgh: Mainstream.

Beattie, G. (2002)
The Shadows of Boxing. Read more >
London: Orion.

Beattie, G. (1998)
Head to Head: Uncovering the Psychology of Sporting Success. Read more >****
London Victor Gollancz.

Beattie, G. (1996)
On the Ropes: Boxing as a Way of Life. Read more >****
London: Victor Gollancz.

With my son Ben, an accomplished runner.