Mind & Brain See Inside The Will to Win More and more athletes are engaging in mental workouts to give themselves that extra edge By Steve J. Ayan The Olympic stadium was silent. The spectators held their collective breath. The 100-meter finalists, crouched against their starting blocks, raised their backs as the starter raised his pistol and announced, "Set...!" Each powerful sprinter, poised to explode when the gun went off, was keenly aware of what hung in the balance. They had trained to exhaustion every day for years to prepare their bodies for this one race. But had they disciplined their minds? The runner who would break the tape would need more than strong muscles, heart and lungs. He would need concentration, control, confidence--and an unerring eye on the finish line. At this tensemoment, one mistimed twitch could cause a false start and cost him the race. But if he eased off in any way, his first steps would lag behind those of his competitors, guaranteeing a loss. "Bang!" This is only a preview. Get the rest of this article now! Select an option below: Buy Digital Issue Customer Sign In *You must have purchased this issue or have a qualifying subscription to access this content It has been identified that the institution you are trying to access this article from has institutional site license access to Scientific American on nature.com. Click here to access this article in its entirety through site license access. ADVERTISEMENT Scientific American is a trademark of Scientific American, Inc., used with permission © 2015 Scientific American, a Division of Nature America, Inc. All Rights Reserved.