I’ve been hooked on kayaking since the age of 12, when I discovered the magical feeling of being able to paddle my own boat and the joys of moving water. In the late 70s and early 80s Tasmania still had remote and unknown rivers, and I was lucky enough to share in the adventure of first descents. As a teenager, slalom emerged as my priority. For nearly ten years I followed my ambition as a slalom racer, achieving success at a national level and competing internationally on the Australian team at four world championships through the 1980s. Travelling and competing on the slalom circuit was a fantastic, and at times highly challenging experience, that sparked my curiosity about performance psychology and has shaped my life and career ever since. Following my first slalom career, I coached the Australian slalom team at the Barcelona Olympics, then I moved to Britain where I worked as a coach and sport psychologist with talented paddlers and coaches on the British slalom and sprint teams over three Olympic cycles. For the last ten years I’ve been an active paddler again; running rivers, trying to master freestyle moves, racing slalom again and introducing my daughters to the sport.
Former international paddler and now sport psychologist Jonathan Males combines his many years of experience working with successful competitors with recent research in this accessible book, designed to help paddlers and coaches understand the theory behind success and provide practical skills to improve performance.