Adam Peaty – a sports psychologist’s view on his injury comeback

Ahead of Peaty’s first major championships since last summer’s Tokyo Olympic Games, Loughborough Sport spoke with Dr David Fletcher, Senior Lecturer in Performance Psychology and Management, to see how Adam may be coping with the added pressure of a disrupted schedule.

As Adam Peaty embarks on his third Commonwealth Games campaign, the 27-year-old will certainly have his mind set on another podium place in Birmingham.

However, the last 12 months haven’t been the easiest for the Loughborough-based swimmer as he suffered a shock foot injury that threatened to derail his pre-Games preparation.

“An athlete like Adam Peaty always has pressure and expectations surrounding his performance in major championships,” Dr Fletcher explained.

“Leading into these major championships there are few significant unknowns for him. Coming off the back of Strictly Come Dancing and the injury that he sustained as well, the disruption hasn't been ideal.

“He’ll just be focused on his performance and not too worried about his rivals. Someone like Adam is so experienced that he'll be able to focus on the aspects of his training and preparation that he knows that he needs to execute really well to perform at his very best.”

The swimming events get underway on the first day of action in Birmingham (Friday 29 July), but will Adam’s rivals in the pool be sensing an advantage over the three-time Olympic gold medallist?

“Some of his rivals may be looking over and thinking ‘now may be my opportunity to take down Adam and lay down the marker coming into the next Olympic Games’,” Dr Fletcher added.

“They’ll know ultimately that they are going to have to perform at their best and probably better than they've ever performed before even just to get close to Adam.

“For any top-level athlete, probably the worst mistake that you can make leading into a high-level competition is to focus too much on your rivals.

“It's all about focusing on the things that you can control as an athlete and as a performer.”

More information

Dr Fletcher also appears on the latest Experts in Sport podcast, discussing the pressures of a home games and how it can affect athletes' performance. To listen to the special Commonwealth Games episode, visit here:

Loughborough’s dedicated 2022 Commonwealth Games website features all the latest news, videos, and medal tables from Birmingham.