The 158th Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race will be remembered for a lot of things, the distressing scenes at the finishing line when the Bowman of the Oxford crew colapsed, the broken oar that resulted in Cambridge racing away to win and the cause of the broken oar, the enforced restart caused by a swimmer apparently protesting about elitism.  These are all additional considerations to respond to and focus on for the rowers as well as the gruelling course on the Thames which is the pinnacle of months of exhausting training (6 hours per day, 6 days a week for 6 months). However it demonstrated some important aspects of sport psychology and the mental side of sport.

Starting with the training and preparation for the race. Both crews set a long term outcome goal to win the race but throughout the training will have set smaller manageable goals that focused on the process and performance of elements of the race. These goals would have been set for every hour for every one of the training sessions. Breaking down the gruelling event into small steps of improvement (it's a long journey to PINNACLE PERFORMANCE). This training shows the drive, dedication and commitment needed for PINNACLE PERFORMANCE and the importance of goal setting in the journey to reach the top.

It also shows how important the link between motivation and goal setting is. The drive to achieve the goal was the motive behind the amount of time needed to prepare for the race. This goal and desire of winning was exemplified by Cambridge who had a picture of Oxford's winning crew from the previous years boat race to reinforce this desire achieve the goal to prevent the feelings they experienced the previous year.

Finally the unexpected events highlighted the importance of focus and the need to focus solely on 'Control the Controllables'. Each crew had to focus on what was in their control and disregard what was not. The 'swimmer' and the enforced restart was the same for both crews. Crews needed to focus on the controllables and revert back to their training to maintain the mental racing zone they had been in. The restart and the broken oar was outside Oxford's control and they had to focus on what was in their control and finish the race. Individual crew memebers would have also had to focus on the things within their control during the unforeseen events after the race had finished. Thankfully the Oxford boat appears to be OK (pushing his body to the extreme) but at the time the others rowers had to control their emotions, actions and their their response to winning/losing and the restart on hold.

Whatever peoples views on the boat race the 158th Oxford and Cambridge University Boat Race highlighted the importance of the mental side of any sporting event.