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  • Little, Brown
  • Little, Brown

Game Changers: How a Team of Underdogs and Scientists Discovered What it Takes to Win

Joao Medeiros

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Psychology

A fascinating investigation into the science behind high performance in sport, from the science editor of Wired.

At the 1996 Atlanta Olympics, Great Britain ranked thirty-sixth in the medals table, finishing below countries like Algeria, Belgium and Kazakhstan. It was their worst ever record, a dismal performance labelled a national disgrace.

But then something happened. In Sydney in 2000 and then Athens in 2004, Team GB achieved a much more respectable tenth place. BY 2008, in Beijing, they finished fourth with forty-seven medals. How had they so convincingly reversed their fortunes?

In GAME CHANGERS we meet the incredible coaches who rethink how sport is played, how it is performed, how people train and how people coach. In Liverpool in the late 1980s, a motley group - a mathematician, a physiologist, a psychologist and a former Olympic basketball player - began to pioneer ways of tracking performance. Over the decades that followed, performance analysis came of age. Incredible technological leaps have led to devices such as the OptimEye S5, developed by two Australian mechanical engineers to combine fifteen different sensors which monitor every aspect of athletic performance. These advances are now the gold standard in sport: providing the world's best athletes with a competitive edge that has been crucial to some of the most extraordinary victories of all time.

Joao Medeiros's fascinating, insightful account takes us behind the scenes to tell the stories of this sporting revolution and disclose its secrets. We'll find out how the England rugby team used match analysis software and a vision coach to win their first ever World Cup, how a middling football team with no budget and older players found extraordinary success in the best football league in the world using tactics based purely on statistics, how Britain transformed itself from one of the worst to the world's best cycling nation. And we learn too how surgeons, police forces, dancers and business leaders are applying these skills to all aspects of everyone's lives.

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Joao Medeiros

Joao Medeiros is Features Director for Wired magazine. He was born in Portugal, and came to the UK at eighteen. He has a PhD in theoretical physics at Imperial College. He has written widely for publications including The Economist, GQ and Nature. This is his first book.

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