The 1% Podcast

Simon Hartley

Simon Hartley Sports


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    Simon Hartley

    The psychology of success The 1% Podcast


My guest today is Simon Hartley.

For over 20 years Simon Hartley has helped athletes and business people throughout the world to get their mental game right. He has worked with gold medallists, world record holders, world champions and multiple championship winning teams.  Simon has worked at the highest level of sport, including spells in professional golf, premiership football, tennis, motor sports, and with British Olympians. Since 2005 Simon has also applied the principles of sports psychology to business, education, healthcare and the charity sector.  In addition Simon has become a highly acclaimed author and award winning professional speaker.




Show Summary


2:35 Simon’s start in sports psychology

  • The influence of his sports psychology professor
  • His fascination with how athletes think and feel
  • Why there is an increased popularity in sports psychology

4:50 Mental toughness and composure

  • The 3 elements of mental toughness: Tenacity, resilience, and composure
  • The importance of « sticking to the basics »
  • What he learned from studying an ultra-marathoner

9:30 Drive and motivation

  • Which motives are unhealthy and unsustainable
  • The only sustainable driver : Passion
  • Exploring his own limits
  • The benefits of stretching beyond your comfort zone

14:15 Nature vs nurture

  • Research on which one has the most impact on character
  • How our character evolves over time
  • Understanding that our character is developed by the choices we make: « It’s like flexing a muscle »

19:55 Bad habits and unhealthy motives

  • The importance of building a solid foundation
  • Why losing feels worse than winning
  • The real feelings and meanings behind winning silver or gold

24:00 The body-mind connection

  • The power behind placebo drugs
  • The benefits of exercise on mental health and clarity
  • Understanding and managing our moods for better performance

27:05 Mental training and visualization

  • How to engage your mind during a physical experience
  • Using rest time for mental practice

29:15 Pushing through discomfort

  • Simon’s personal challenge: Running 1000 miles in a year and doing 1000 press-ups per month
  • Knowing when to tolerate pain and when to stop
  • Listening to your intuition
  • Developing tenacity

32:10 Coaching strategies

  • The importance of understanding performers as individuals
  • Why coaches need to let go of their own ego

33:30 Negative voices and outlook

  • Owning negative voices as our own
  • Understanding and sculpting our core beliefs about ourselves
  • Why we give up and how we learn how to keep going

39:00 Advice to youth

  • Approaching exams: Remember what your job is as a student
  • “Just get back to what you can control”

42:45 Performance

  • The basics of performance: Focus, confidence and motivation
  • The performance paradox: The more you focus on goals, the less likely you are to achieve them
  • Paying attention to process instead of the outcome: Why it’s important to watch the ball instead of where it should land

48:40 Performing under pressure

  • The benefits of focusing exercises
  • Practising by performing under more stressful situations gradually

52:55 Prep talks

  • Why prep talks don’t have a lasting effect: The most important motivator is internal, not external
  • How to build solid confidence
  • Hoping vs believing that you’ll perform well
  • Building up evidence that proves you’ll do well

57:35 Lessons learned for business

  • “Do the basics really well consistently”

58:35 Character

  • The difference between personality and character
  • Issues that arise when there is a conflict between one’s internal world and what is expressed externally
  • How and why to recruit players based on character traits

1:03:00 Writing fiction

  • Simon’s challenges while writing a book of fiction
  • Drawing on motivation, tenacity, resilience, and identity to continue the work

1:06:30 Hiring based on character traits

  • Attitude vs ability
  • With the right attitude, anything can be taught

1:08:40 Great teams

The basic principles behind great teams:

  • A strong shared purpose
  • Shared standards and expectations
  • Appreciation for every individual on the team
  • Drawing strength from diversity
  • Brutal honesty
  • Learning constantly

1:11:15 Honesty and transparency within a team

  • Taking responsibility for one’s own behaviour
  • The importance of confidence – in ourselves, in the relationship, in each other

1:12:50 Stronger together

  • What is required for great team performance
  • The example of the Red Arrows

1:15:15 Leadership

  • How to spot a leader
  • The power of leading through influence
  • Why we need leaders at all levels of the organization
  • The team captain’s role

1:18:35 Remote teams

  • Why leadership and team principles are the same for remote teams
  • How to construct a collective identity

1:22:00 Arts sector teams

  • The challenge of being collectively creative for teams in the arts sector

1:23:15 Notable teams

  • Formula 1 pit crew
  • Yacht racing crews
  • Red Arrows
  • Animal teams

1:25:15 The future of sports psychology

  • Moving towards artificial reality, games and technology