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King Richard

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King Richard  looks at the upbringing and development of Venus Williams and Serena Williams , largely through focusing on their father, Richard Williams , and the 'plan' that he created for turning them into champions. The movie recounts their early training, attempts to find high-level coaching, the girls' early success once they start competing in junior tournaments, their move to Florida for elite talent development, and finally, Venus Williams' professional debut. Released 2021; Runtime 144 minutes Concepts Parents & Family : The Williams family is very tight-knit, with Venus' and Serena's mother (Oracene) and three other sisters all supporting the plan to develop them into champions. For his part, Richard blurs the line between father and coach, but tries to be each to his daughters. But because Richard is so focused on following his plan, deviations from it are met with resistance and conflict. Career & Economic Issues : A large part of the movie

Screwball

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Screwball  largely shares the story of  Anthony Bosch and his primary role in the Biogenesis scandal that rocked Major League Baseball in 2013. After obtaining his medical license in Belize, Anthony got into the anti-aging field, which inevitable led him to steroids, human growth hormone, and other drugs. Through happenstance, he started prescribing to weightlifters, and eventually started working with  professional athletes, including baseball players Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Ryan Braun, and many others. Eventually, the lab's clientele were leaked to the press and the lab was investigated by the Florida Department of Health and Major League Baseball. Many of the stories are re-enacted with child actors. Released 2018; Runtime 105 minutes Concepts Baseball : The beginning focuses on the  Steroid Era  of baseball and the changes that were implemented in its wake. Once the Biogenesis scandal broke, MLB bribed and threatened witnesses as part of their investigation into it. Dop

Untold: Caitlyn Jenner

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Untold: Caitlyn Jenner  is a documentary that traces the life of Caitlyn Jenner (born Bruce Jenner). Caitlyn describes her upbringing and how she felt that she never quite fit in, but sports were a way to put those feelings aside. Being "Bruce the athlete" became a refuge for her, but she could never completely ignore who she was, which ultimately culminated in her transitioning in her 60s. Released 2021; Runtime 69 minutes Concepts Gender Issues : Caitlyn describes how she battled gender dysphoria most of her life, which caused her a great deal of inner turmoil and confusion. She felt that she could never open up about those issues, so she turned "Bruce" into a persona that she could absorb herself into to avoid having to confront that confusion. Olympics; Pursuing Your Dream : Early in her career, Caitlyn was obsessed with winning the gold medal in the decathlon at the Olympics. Her single-minded pursuit led her to do just that, winning the gold medal with a worl

Untold: Breaking Point

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    Untold: Breaking Point  documents the struggle that American tennis player Mardy Fish had with anxiety and mental health. Mardy excelled at a young age, but really blossomed once he began training with fellow American Andy Roddick . During their professional careers, both were under extraordinary pressure to become the future of men's tennis...and then Federer, Nadal, and Djokovic happened. Once Mardy finally became the highest ranked American male player, the pressure was ratcheted up even further, culminating in constant anxiety. Released 2021; Runtime 79 minutes Concepts Anxiety & Stress, Mental Health Issues : Towards the end of his career, Mardy develops an anxiety disorder. He explains how he felt while he was anxious, how he tried to cope with it, and the toll it took on him, as it eventually forced him to retire. He decided to open up about his anxiety disorder to bring awareness to mental health issues in tennis. Commitment : At one point, Mardy decides that he re

More Mental Toughness Documentaries

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Photo by adpowers on Foter.com Dr. Rob Bell compiled another set of 10 documentaries where mental toughness is on display. The documentaries span a variety of performance domains, from music to running to coaching to 9/11 families and first responders. You are sure to find something both inspiring and informative on the list! Check out his new post here , and if you want more recommendations, his previous list of mental toughness documentaries is still up. And while you're there,  be sure to explore the rest of his website for even more resources and information on developing mental toughness.

Untold: Malice at the Palace

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     Untold: Malice at the Palace  recounts the infamous 2004 Pacers-Pistons brawl that spilled into the stands and led to players and fans fighting each other. The documentary includes extensive interviews with the players involved (namely Jermaine O'Neal, Metta World Peace [Ron Artest], and Stephen Jackson), plus Reggie Miller, Ben Wallace, Donnie Walsh (Pacers team president), police officers, a fan, and one of the referees, amongst others. The documentary follows the events preceding the brawl, the brawl itself, and the aftermath. Released 2021; Runtime 68 minutes Concepts Aggression & Violence : A hard foul leads to a brawl between the Pacers and Pistons, and just as it is wrapping up, one fan made it worse, which led to members of the Pacers jumping into the stands and attacking the fans. Mental Health Issues : Metta World Peace explains some of the mental health struggles he was having in the year or two leading up to the brawl, how he was trying to manage his emotions,

Rush

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    Rush  is based on the real life rivalry of Niki Lauda and James Hunt , two legendary F1 drivers who competed in the 1970s. Despite their rivalry and opposing personalities, the two respected each other and pushed the other to perform at their very best, culminating in an incredible battle for the 1976 F1 championship. But that battle almost never happened as Lauda experienced a horrific accident that nearly killed him. His remarkable recovery only fed into the drama that would unfold the rest of the championship year. Released 2013; Runtime 123 minutes Concepts Imagery : James Hunt uses imagery to help him prepare for upcoming races. The movie depicts him using imagery, intersplicing Hunt practicing with his steering wheel at home while speaking what he would do at each stage of the race with visuals of what he would be imagining. Hunt credits this as an important form of preparation. Injury & Illness : While racing under poor conditions, Niki Lauda is injured in a crash, resu

Athlete A

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   Athlete A  is a documentary about the USA Gymnastics sex abuse scandal that rocked the entire world. Hundreds of young female gymnasts were sexually abused, but the leadership at USA Gymnastics turned a blind eye to what was happening. The documentary recounts what it took to end this abuse by interviewing survivors - particularly Maggie Nichols (Athlete A) and Rachel Denhollander - their families, former gymnasts, and reporters from The Indianapolis Star who helped to  expose the abuse  and hold the enablers accountable. The documentary also touches on the toxic culture of elite-level gymnastics and how it harms young girls. Released 2020; Runtime 103 minutes Concepts Sexual Abuse : The documentary explores how one person could spend decades sexually abusing hundreds of girls and get away with it for so long. Due to his status, power, and connections, any complaints that were brought against him could be quietly deflected or buried. Combine that with a toxic culture that prized w

Althea

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  Althea  is about the life and career of Althea Gibson , the first African-American to win a Grand Slam title. While she was one of the most dominant players of her time, a combination of racism and a lack of funding caused her to leave the sport just as she was reaching her peak. (This led her to take up golf, where she became the first African-American to compete professionally on the woman's tour). Despite her trailblazing successes, she was largely forgotten by the tennis world shortly after she retired. But she was not forgotten by everyone, and her friends and allies ensured that her legacy would be remembered. Released 2014; Runtime 83 minutes Concepts Cultural Differences : Althea was raised in Harlem, and raised to be tough and never back down. This was in stark contrast to many in the tennis world, who were not used to have an aggressive, attacking opponent. Economic Issues : Althea grew up poor, and while she was a successful tennis player, prize money was much, much sm

Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story

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   Uppity: The Willy T. Ribbs Story  chronicles the racing career of  Willy T. Ribbs , the first African-American male to drive in the Indianapolis 500. Despite being an immensely talented driver, participating in the rich white sport of auto racing meant that he would have to deal with racism and the ugly side of sport fandom. But Willy was not one to back down. Willy would give his critics and racist detractors something to really hate him for: being the best. (Content Warning: Racial slurs are used several times throughout the documentary). Released 2020; Runtime 109 minutes Concepts Career & Economic Issues : While driving skill is an important part of being successful in each type of auto racing, participating in said races costs a great deal of money. Coming from limited means and being African-American meant that finding sponsorship was difficult, which in turn meant that Willy often competed with second-rate equipment or could not afford to enter races, which limited his su