He who says he can and he who says he can’t are both usually right. ~ Confucius
Self-talk is all the stuff you say to yourself in your mind. Even your emotions are a kind of self-talk, especially if you are mad at yourself. Usually a person’s self-talk is a product of their self-confidence. However, mental skills training can change your self-talk, and increase your belief in yourself. Mental toughness is important for all athletes. Don’t leave out training your most important muscle!
Conversation leads to collaboration
Last week there was a fantastic discussion in the comments after I posted my article on pre-performance. One of the topics that came up was simply, “Where do I start?” That’s a good question to ask, because on a site that is filled with new information it is hard to find a beginning. There are so many tools, theories, and discussions flying around that one is liable to spend all their time reading and thinking about things, but never actually doing. Unless you are Kaleopolitus, whose middle name is apparently “doing things.” If you want to learn how to turn your life around, I’d go read the story. For my own part, I want to continue in the same vein and contribute an easy method to get ones head in the game, instead of letting the game play with their head.
Continue reading Getting your head in the game
Read the first article in the series! – Introduction to self-talk
Read the second article in the series! – Improving self-talk part 1 – awareness
Focus and drive, the mental edge
Now that you are convinced that your self-talk can give you an edge in training and competition it’s time to practice making the best productive self-talk. First though, you should practice some sort of technique for emptying your mind or stopping your thoughts. Most people use a simple word like “stop” or “no” and associate a strong image with it such as a bus or train screeching to a halt or slamming into a solid object. It doesn’t seem to mater much what you choose, as long as it is simple and strong (or fast and fun). Typically though the effect will start off rather weak and only get stronger with use.
The next step is to replace unhelpful self-talk with productive, and the best way to do this is use your unproductive self-talk to craft your helpful statements. Continue reading Improving self-talk part 2 – helpful self-talk
Read the first article in the series here! – Introduction to self-talk
Knowledge is power, understanding your own self-talk
Awareness is a great tool for success and learning. For example, most good singers listen to recordings of their own voice to be more aware of how they sound. Ballet dancers practice in front of mirrors so they can be aware how straight their lines are. So it’s no surprise that being aware of your own thoughts can improve your thinking. Just like the singer and the dancer, who use tools to enhance their awareness, there are some activities we can use to help reflect on our own self-talk.
Continue reading Improving self-talk part 1 – awareness
I think that self-talk, that is the things that we tell ourselves either out loud or internally, reflects a lot our beliefs about ourselves. When a Korean Starcraft player enters a North American tournament says to his teamates, “I’m going to go over there and kick some a$$,” it is because he is confident in his ability to at least place in the top 8. When a Halo Reach player cheers his team up before the match, “Let’s do our best!” it’s because he is confident in his ability to at least do his best, but not sure if he believes that will be good enough to win.
Continue reading Introduction to self-talk