'EXPLODING SPORTS MYTHS' ... Exposes the nonsense in some of our fondest notions about sport
Sport psychologist George Shirling's sympathetic but no-nonsense perspective exposes the absurdity of the many myths that are clamped with the tenacity of barnacles to modern sport. The author scrutinizes the vulnerability of the innate adventurous spirit that drives sports' participants. He examines the damaging approach of unimaginative coaching, the barrage of ‘experts', stubborn governance, the growing confusion about drugs in sport, the commercial realities and limitations of professional sport, and much, much more.

For thirty years George has observed and listened to scores of players, athletes and coaches up to international level, including the Australian Winter Olympic Team, the NSW 'Waratahs', ACT 'Brumbies', and the 'Wallabies' rugby union teams. His experience is long, his perspective unique. Some may not like what he has to say, but few who are genuinely engaged in sport can afford to ignore him.
A book by George Shirling


"Motivation, enhancement, natural talent and the development of children are well addressed... Your book should be read and studied by students.... Congratulations, it is a fine book."
- John Cheffers - John was an athletics coach and the second Director of the Australian Institute of Sport;  a retired Professor of Education, and coordinator of the human movement Program at Boston University. [Sadly John passed away on 28th October 2012... RIP John.]

 "Thinking outside the square... I think George thought of it first"
- Rhonda Bowen - Managing Director - Tic Technologies

“George's book "Exploding Sports Myths" is required reading for anyone who ever questioned the way sports men and women are supported by their coaching/training teams to seek excellence in their sport.”
- Anne Kennedy, Physiotherapist, Health Care Industry, UK

"Well done for being so brave and thought provoking" 
- Steve Moneghetti, Australian Olympian and distance runner.

"George worked with the Wallabies during the halcyon era between 1998- 2000... a valuable member to us all and especially Rod Macqueen"
- Steve Nance, Performance Director, Pure Sports Medicine, UK

"George has amazing knowledge and insight in his chosen area of expertise"
- Tim Clayton, Freelance Photojournalist/Sports Photographer

"I very much enjoyed the book and I am reading sections of it for the second time! Many thanks for your interest and congratulations on a great book on the 'ins and outs' and 'whys' of sport" - Dave White ACT... represented Australia in the Half Mile at the 1950 Empire Games in Auckland, NZ.

This book includes an incisive probe into the 2003 & 2007 Rugby World Cups, and is 
NOW AVAILABLE @ $35 - which includes postage anywhere in Australia.
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Author quotes:

"The pretense of the rhetoric of the sports world is at best, innocent misunderstanding; and, at worst, a willful attempt to mislead"

"The book proposes a different set of assumptions for participation, and the coaching and management of sport"

The book is introduced by Rod Macqueen AM, a former Australian ‘Wallabies' coach, and the author is introduced by one of Australia's most respected sports journalists, Jim Webster OAM.  

The extraordinary photographs in the book are by Tim Clayton.


Rod Macqueen: "It is my sincere hope that from this book, other coaches, as well as players, and those who administer sport, will gain as much inspiration as I have experienced with the author"

Jim Webster: "Readers will not agree with every assessment made in this book, but you will be left thinking deeply about how cluttered or restrictive your own approaches may be. And what may even be more useful, you will be tempted to take into account how your own beliefs and attitudes were formed"

Philip Derriman (Sports writer): "George Shirling has come up with some surprising approaches to the oldest problem in sport... how to get players performing at their best"

Peter FitzSimons (Sports journalist, broadcaster and author):  "George used to work on my head as a sport psychologist. Need I say more?"


This book probes many issues in sport that are usually avoided:

*  Why do things go wrong?

*  Do athletes deliberately take risks?

*  Why do observers keep declaring: "It's all in the mind"?

*  Does ‘natural talent' really exist?

*  Are training and performance enhancement methods far too predictable?  

*  Why does everyone confuse goal-setting with goal-getting?

*  Are talent identification programs a waste of time and money?

*  Where are all the good coaches?

*  What turns kids off sport?

*  The 'after sport' dilemma.

*  Is anyone winning the ‘war' against performance-enhancing drugs?

*  Has sport been: Sold! Sold! Sold!


George Shirling is a retired sport and organisational psychologist. At the same time, he has also been a business entrepreneur, a restaurateur, an innkeeper in the ski fields, a teacher and mentor to many, a dedicated surfer and skier, a tennis player, a rugby player and coach, and a family man with two daughters, living on Sydney's North Shore. George holds an honours degree in Sport Psychology and Philosophy from Macquarie University, and in 1993 received Sports Medicine Australia's ‘National Sport Services Award'.


Author, George Shirling Tel: 61 2 9960 4490  Mobile: 0412 640 300 

Email: shirling(at)bigpond.net.au  


Publisher: Phillip Mathews Book Publishers Tel: 61 2 9958 2117.

Book: Hardcover, 256 pages, colour plates, references, 240mm x175mm, 128gsm art paper

ISBN 978-0-9775532-3-5  AUD RRP $39.95  NZD RRP $49.99

Now available: from the author. Please use the contact form above, or ring 02 9960 4490.