I often encounter athletes that create negative expectations about their performance, whether it’s the outcome of a specific skill they must execute or the final outcome of a competition. It’s easy to tell an athlete to replace these negative statements with positive ones, but doing so is only half of the equation.
Replacing negative statements requires having an understanding of the reason for the negative self-talk. I’ve seen far to many athletes who tried unsuccessfully to “just think happy thougthts.” The truth is, more often than not, they believed the negative statements they created more than the positive statements. Why? Simply because they could rattle off several examples of why the statement was true, or could be true. At the same time, they often struggle to quickly state why the positive statement mignt be true.
Once athletes are able to understand the reason for believing their negative self-statement, they are in a better position to question these negative self-statements when they occur. This is the key to getting an athlete to truly believe their positive thoughts