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Sporting heroes praise student's problem-solving theories

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A book written by a PhD student at Sheffield Hallam University has been praised by two of the world's most successful sports stars.

Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill and Andrew Strauss OBE have been using the principles outlined in Peter Lindsay's book which looks at the psychology behind problem solving in the workplace.

'Pig Wrestling: Clean your thinking to create the change you need' provides a unique take on how people can stop wrestling with challenging situations and is based on the expertise of the sports psychologist and his co-author, Dr Mark Bawden.

“Whether you are trying to win Olympic gold or manage the demands of being a busy Mum, we can all find ourselves wrestling with challenging situations," said the former Olympic athlete, Dame Jessica Ennis-Hill.  "I’ve been fascinated by psychology for a long time, and I found the novel ideas contained in this book quick to grasp and easy to apply. They’ve certainly made a profound difference to the way I think in sport and in life.”

English international cricketer, Andrew Strauss, said: "After finishing as England captain in 2012, feeling worn down and exhausted by the demands of the job, I have often wondered whether I might have found a way of dealing better with the day-to-day issues that tended to bombard me and others within the team.

"Having read this fable, I am now sure that there is a better way. Mark and Pete use their vast experience to take you on a journey of discovery that leads to a clear and concise model for dealing with problems in whatever form they come. I will certainly be adhering to these principles in my role of Director of England Cricket.”

The two authors regularly work with elite sports and businesses and are both former sports psychology lecturers at Sheffield Hallam and the book was born out of their shared fascination into how people make changes in their life.

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“The book's title was inspired by the George Bernard Shaw quote, ‘I learned long ago, never to wrestle with a pig. You get dirty, and besides, the pig likes it’," said Pete, who is just about to complete his PhD at Sheffield Hallam.

"We felt there was a real similarity between this quote and how we all find ourselves wrestling with messy problems that just don't seem to change and from that point on, the phrase just stuck.

"We basically found that most people find themselves stuck based on how they consistently view, describe and habitually approach tricky situations and what helps most is 'cleaning their thinking' to allow them to think differently and take different action."

The book is now available to buy online.

For press information: Sarah Duce in the Sheffield Hallam University press office on 0114 225 4025 or email