Want some tips from the top athletes to help your sporting performance? This sports article looks at ways to boost your performance and confidence through self-talk.
Negative self-talk and distorted thinking often underline many athlete's struggles. Even the best athletes are unaware of these internal thoughts as the main cause of the problem. Instead they might think the circumstances or event has caused the problem. As an example, Bill is batting in Cricket and needs four runs off the last ball to win the game. He misses and feels worthless and fears going out to bat next time. In this example it is not really the situation Bill found himself in but his assumptions (self-talk or thoughts) made about the event. The irrational thought is that his self-worth depends on his performance.
Awareness is the key
Being aware of these thoughts is the first step. The second step is to re-program them by substituting more rational and constructive thoughts. So Bill might think, "Yes it is great to play Cricket but my self-worth and identity is more than that one missed ball."
Positive affirmations don't have to be corny phrases you say to yourself or others. They are meant to be positive encouragement that helps you work towards your goals. If you keep a training or exercise diary try writing our some of these positive affirmations on your notes to help you re-program any negative self-talk you have. Some examples: The Melbourne Football Club had a positive affirmation on their wall, "Stay in the Moment!" The statement helped the athletes focus on what they could control, that very moment. They had no influence over the past or what might happen in the future but it was the NOW. So when athletes became frustrated in training or became injured this positive affirmation helped refocus them.
Once you have identified some of your unhelpful self-talk and formulated some positive affirmations you will be ready to tackle whatever challenges are ahead.
Jeremy Dover is a former sports scientist and Pastor/
Jeremy Dover's previous articles may be viewed at www.pressserviceinternational.org/jeremy-dover.html