What Is Hysterical Strength? Mitchell Hooper Breaks Down Sports Psychology

The reigning World’s Strongest Man (WSM) and Arnold Strongman Classic (ASC) champion Mitchell Hooper published a video on his YouTube channel wherein he interviewed executive coach Ken Smithmier to discuss sports psychology and explore how it can improve athletic performance.

Hooper also explores the concept of hysterical strength, which refers to instances of people exhibiting extraordinary feats of strength in dangerous situations. He suggests this phenomenon reflects the mind’s potential to unlock hidden physical reserves.

“[Hysterical strength] is an excellent anecdotal series of case studies to say if your brain is in the right spot, and you have the right levels of adrenaline, and a good control of arousal, you can do way more than you ever think that you could,” Hooper said. Check out the video below:

Sport psychology involves training the mind for competition through mental skills training (MST). (1) “In sports psychology, many people will talk about visualization,” said Hooper. “I have hit 15 podiums in a row I think this is largely because I can have a very good psychologically balanced approach.” Sports psychology interventions have been shown to moderately improve performance. (2)

“Personally, I have always veered away from anything related to psychology,” said Hooper. “I have been to a psychologist in the past for mental health purposes, and I didn’t find it very enjoyable for me.”

However, Hooper has come around to the idea and believes that a strong mental approach is essential for athletic success. Smithmier’s approach to sports psychology is based on a tool called the ‘Judgment Index,’ which helps assess a person’s values and how well they align with their actions.

Hooper took the Judgment Index test, which, according to the Ohio Bureau of Workers’ Compensation is “a measurable, quantifiable assessment of a person’s value system and. capacity for good judgment.” The results revealed that Hooper is a “people-dominant thinker,” meaning he prioritizes building relationships with others. Additionally, Hooper is self-critical and undervalues his own accomplishments.

“It wasn’t until I was on 13 podiums in a row that I could convince myself that it wasn’t a coincidence,” confessed Hooper. “I actually am this good. I actually have this capacity to continue moving forward.”

Hooper believes that sports psychology can be a valuable asset for athletes to help them improve their mental well-being and better understand themselves. Hooper concludes by rating the value of sports psychology its importance an eight out of 10. He believes that mental health is a crucial aspect of overall well-being and that neglecting it can hinder athletic performance.


Hammermeister, J., & VonGuenthner, S. (2005). Sport psychology: training the mind for competition. Current sports medicine reports, 4(3), 160–164. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11932-005-0061-1

Lochbaum, M., Stoner, E., Hefner, T., Cooper, S., Lane, A. M., & Terry, P. C. (2022). Sport psychology and performance meta-analyses: A systematic review of the literature. PloS one, 17(2), e0263408. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0263408

Featured image: @mitchellhooper on Instagram

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