Slaying Self Talk

It is easy to preach the importance of developing new skills such as visualization, self-talk, mental rehearsal, imagery, and other mindset centered skills. However, there is also science to back up just how impactful actively practicing these skills can be.

According to the Oxford Research Encyclopedia, self-talk is a phenomenon that many people, researchers, psychologist and scientists are becoming very enthusiastic about. WHY?! Because the outcome of its practice is pure magic.

“Self-talk has been studied scientifically for almost as long as experimental psychology has been in existence, with researchers in the 1880s taking an interest in understanding the nature and function of inner speech and the things people say to themselves (Reed, 1916).

It is no surprise that positive self-talk is linked to performing well in sport. How can we as people and athletes develop this positive self-talk? There are techniques like thought stopping, thought replacement, and self-talk journaling, all which RISE Mentors are trained in to help their athletes develop individual empowerment.

Studies have shown that positive self-talk is directly linked to cognitive, motivational, behavioral, and affective mechanisms while performing and in doing, likely to decrease anxiety, improve concentration and focus, and perform better.

Seems simple, right!? It can be, but it requires mass amounts of self-awareness, intention, and consistency to get to the point of that positive self-talk power. It can be difficult knowing where or how to start with your own self-talk. Start right now.  Ask for guidance and learn how to develop your go-to phrases and words that will then help you when you begin to mentally rehearse your performances.

Examples of general positive self-talk phrases.

“You got this” “You are strong” “You are confident” “You are brave”

The goal here is get specific, sport-specific. Get to the point where you visualize and talk yourself walking into the arena of your event.

Example. “I AM going to walk into the arena feeling strong. I AM going to be calm and ready to perform at my best. I AM going to see my competitors and only focus on what’s going on inside me and trust in the work and my abilities.”

Studies have also shown that in a team environment setting, such as practice, using positive self-talk and openly communicating about it will heighten its impact and carry over into a game, event, or performance setting. Encouraging your teammates, coaches, and peers to get on board and start making this a daily practice will build the morale and show it’s worth when its game day.

RISE Blog Contributor

Jess Rocheleau