Mental Edge: The self talk of champions

Photo: Gregory Payan/AP

Every person carries on an internal dialog, which we call “self talk.” Self talk can be positive – “I feel fast today “ — or negative — “I hope I don’t embarrass myself and finish dead last today.”

Some athletes have positive self talk and pick themselves up after a mistake, while other athletes beat up on themselves for not performing up to their expectations – “You stink, you should find another sport to play.”

The ideal goal for an athlete is to maintain positive self talk before, during and after performances. You know how hard you trained for this game/competition, so don’t sabotage it with anything negative. Staying focused and trust in yourself is No. 1! The first step is to identify your self talk when you are performing well or in the zone. Think back to the last time you performed your best and were in the zone. What was your self talk and mindset like? What were the cue words you apply to your self talk? Use these statements when you compete, to stay positive and to stay on track!

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