Adam Peaty - The elite psychology of an Olympic champion (VIDEO)

By now, you’ve probably heard of Adam Peaty.

The 26-year-old Loughborough swimmer will be looking to make history in Tokyo by becoming the first Briton to win back-to-back Olympic swimming titles.

Adam continues to dominate in the Men's international Breaststroke and could, all being well, bring home one of Team GB’s first gold medals at the 2020 Olympic Games.

But how does he consistently perform at the very highest level? And what can he do to ensure he stays at the top of his game?

Dr David Fletcher, Senior Lecturer in Performance Psychology and Management, spoke as part of the #lboro2tokyo campaign to explain:

“For Adam Peaty, when handling the pressure of an Olympic final, it’s absolutely crucial that he controls the controllables.

“No matter who you are, you’re going to get nervous, particularly when your capabilities are tested, and boundaries are pushed. It’s not a question of getting rid of the butterflies, it’s a question of getting them to fly in formation.”

Dr Fletcher continued:

“There’s the psychology of getting to the top of sport, then there’s the psychology of staying at the top of sport and they’re actually two subtly different things.

“There are all the pressures of being a top-level athlete…you’re there to be shot down and everyone is aiming at you. I think that’s one of the things that is particularly impressive about Adam, the way he’s transitioned into that and maintained his success over the years.

“It’s a real testament to him and his coach Mel (Marshall), as they’ve shifted their focus as part of their training and whatever gets thrown at Adam, be it different competitors, covid, becoming a new father – all these stresses and strains – they’ve clearly given some thought on how they can handle those, and he’s taken them in his stride.”

Loughborough’s dedicated 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games website features all the latest news, videos, and medal tables from Japan. 

Notes for editors

Press release reference number: 21/137

Notes for editors

Loughborough is one of the country’s leading universities, with an international reputation for research that matters, excellence in teaching, strong links with industry, and unrivalled achievement in sport and its underpinning academic disciplines.

It has been awarded five stars in the independent QS Stars university rating scheme, named the best university in the world for sports-related subjects in the 2020 QS World University Rankings and University of the Year by The Times and Sunday Times University Guide 2019.

Loughborough is in the top 10 of every national league table, being ranked 7th in the Guardian University League Table 2021, 5th in the Times and Sunday Times Good University Guide 2020 and 6th in The UK Complete University Guide 2021.

Loughborough is consistently ranked in the top twenty of UK universities in the Times Higher Education’s ‘table of tables’ and is in the top 10 in England for research intensity. In recognition of its contribution to the sector, Loughborough has been awarded seven Queen's Anniversary Prizes.

The Loughborough University London campus is based on the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park and offers postgraduate and executive-level education, as well as research and enterprise opportunities. It is home to influential thought leaders, pioneering researchers and creative innovators who provide students with the highest quality of teaching and the very latest in modern thinking.