THE MENTAL EDGE
Power of Positive Self-Talk
What athletes think or say is critical to their performance. Thoughts directly affect feelings and, ultimately, actions. Inappropriate or misguided thinking usually leads to negative feelings and poor performance, just as appropriate or positive thinking leads to good performances.
Athletes use positive affirmations to enhance selfimage, and to achieve a secure mental attitude and increase confidence. Muhammed Ali’s positive affirmation was “I am the greatest.” Effective affirmations are positive, clear, realistic, personal, believable, and in the present tense. Other examples of positive affirmations are, “I live for the present,” “I am relaxed,” and “I believe in my abilities.” Take a minute to right down a few of your positive affirmations. sport psychology.
***Now write these positive affirmations on sticky notes and post the notes in the places that you frequent most often, such as the bathroom, your night stand, and your car. Every time that you visit these spots you should take the time to read your positive affirmations out loud. ***
What athletes need to remember is that positive affirmations are self-direction. They point your feet in the direction that you want to travel and enable you to be more willing to do all you have to do to reach your goals. Even if you affirm greatness but fall short, you still will have gone further than you would have if you hadn’t set your sights high.
Changing Negatives to Positives
Many times you don’t need an opponent to beat you. You can do that all by yourself by saying self-defeating negative statements while you are performing or playing a game. The ability to identify inappropriate self-statements and restructure them is an important psychological skill that an athlete should have. So how can you change those negatives into positives?
First, you need to identify the situations in which you are negative. Write down your 10 most common negative statements and, in a column next to the negative statement, write a positive counter statement.
Negative Statement Positive Statement
We have no chance of winning. I’ll just concentrate on my task and my game. It is important that, when you recognize that you are thinking negatively, you stop yourself and correct the statement in a positive manner. This is called thought-stopping. Using lead-ins like “I am” and “I will” are very powerful ways to change your perceptions. If you say something enough times, you tend to act in ways which reflect this. Unless you take control of your own thoughts, they will control you. There’s no time like the present to begin thinking positively and to help you achieve confidence in your athletic area.
To learn more about gaining the winning edge, contact Jackie Van Patten at Personal Performance Enhancement LLC (www.mentalsports.net).