“The elite-among-the-elite are in, and on, a perpetual quest of separating from the pack in all four pillars of performance — the technical, the tactical, the physiological and the psychological,” said performance psychology specialist Colleen Hacker, who worked with the U.S. women’s soccer team for 12 years and has served as mental skills coach for the U.S. field hockey and ice hockey teams, as well as Major League Baseball players, golfers, Olympic swimmers and speedskaters. “Getting to the top is extraordinarily difficult in and of itself. Remaining there is doubly so. As an elite athlete, where do you find this separation? Increasingly, it’s at the outer edges.”

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