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Becoming a True Athlete: A Practical Philosophy for Flourishing Through Sport

Laurence Halsted

Laurence Halstead really has pulled together a Magna Carta of ‘sport in the right way’ – connecting the original purpose, meaning and ethos of sport and setting it in the current context. What I love about this book is that it gets beyonds highlighting the problems, and articulates tangible, practical solutions – and from someone who has experienced the physical, psychological, sociological conundrums first hand.

It is unique, powerful and truly valuable to anyone who seeks to experience true fulfilment through sport, and also those who seek to enable others to do so – coaches, support staff and athletes alike. Becoming a True Athlete is an outstanding piece of work. Thank you to you and to the True Athlete Project in believing in what is possible.

Frances Houghton MBE
5 x Olympian, 4 x World Champion, 3 x Olympic Silver Medalist


Paperback isbn: 9781914110030
Pages: 250
Publication Date: August 26th 2021


£15.99Add to basket

Table of contents


Part 1. Introducing the True Athlete Philosophy

  1. What is the True Athlete Philosophy and why is it important?

Part 2. The Virtues of the True Athlete Philosophy

  1. Treat yourself and others with compassion
  2. Live with integrity
  3. Acknowledge and embrace responsibility for your own journey and that of your community
  4. Grow your awareness in the present moment and of what truly matters in life

Part 3. Mental-Emotional Strategies and Practices for Cultivating the True Athlete Virtues

  1. Introduction and Mindfulness Meditation
  2. The Athlete Identity
  3. The Stoic Approach
  4. Love and Connection
  5. Reflection and Conclusion

About the book

There is a looming existential crisis for competitive sport. While unmatched in its potential to provide peak human experiences and help us to thrive in life, sport all too often creates devastating consequences for individuals and society.

We are witnessing a waning trust in the integrity of sport that stems from the win-at-all-costs culture, now pervasive worldwide. Doping, corruption and inhumane high-performance systems as well as worrying levels of dropout, burnout and mental health issues among athletes are rife. This all points to the fact that sport has lost track of its true meaning and core values.

What is needed is a powerful counterpoint to this results-focused culture. One which goes far deeper than wins, losses, medals and fame, providing a roadmap for athletes to discover greater meaning and achieve more in their sporting lives. Becoming a True Athlete is that counterpoint.

Drawing on a combination of ancient wisdom and modern psychology, Becoming a True Athlete is written by two-time Olympian, Laurence Halsted, for athletes and those that support them. It shows how they can harness their lived experience of sport to contribute to a healthy, meaningful and fulfilled life. This approach unleashes the best of sport – the persistent drive for excellence, constant innovation, unmatched opportunities for personal development – putting it firmly in service of the participants and society as a whole.

About the author

Laurence Cassøe Halsted is a two-time Olympic fencer who competed for Team GB in the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Olympics. After retiring from competitive sport Laurence became the Performance Director for the Danish Fencing Federation. He joined The True Athlete Project in 2016 where he is currently the Director of Mentoring as well as consultant on TAPs various other programs and projects, all with an ambition of creating a more compassionate world through sport.

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