Sports Psychology
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Affirmation or Self-Talk
on athltes

        Affirmation or Self-Talk is very useful tool for athletes and should be more widely used by coaches, parents, and figure skaters. The following information deals with creating a positive learning, training, and performing environment.

     In a report for the journal Perspectives on Psychological Science, sports psychologist Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis recalls his experiences as a high school soccer player evolved into his interest in the psychology of sport – the link between one's thoughts and performance.

     "We know the positive or negative attitude of the player(s) occurs in sports" and is frequently related to changes in emotion resulting from just one unexpected play" says Hatzigeorgiadis. How can a sports physiologist initiate a positive attitude or reverse a negative mood of players frequently experience in team sports such as hockey, football, volleyball, soccer, etc.

     Hatzigeorgiadis conducted a meta-analysis of 32 sport psychological studies with a total of 62 measured effects. The research confirmed that self-talk (affirmation) improves sporting performance. But researchers also found that different self-talk cues work differently in different situations.

    Self-talk focuses on positives statements. "I don't skate well if the ice is too hard and
    brittle, is replaced by, "I have trained under these conditions and I am prepared.
    Bring it on!"

     Positive affirmations were also found to have a greater effect on tasks involving fine motor skills. Nevertheless, both beginners and experienced athletes can benefit, especially when they practice the self-talk technique.

     The main goals behind techniques similar to self-talk and visualization is to "rehearse a performance or to meditate to improve focus and relaxation", says Hatzigeorgiadis.

     The objective is "To enhance your potential and to perform during competition in terms of your ability and not less", he said.

     Players who are physically more gifted athletes than their competitors may express their frustration that they are beaten by players who they feel are not equal to them physically.

     Often in these cases an athlete's state of mind or beliefs limits their ability to surpass the competition. An athlete's beliefs start to limit their performance when he or she starts thinking negatively in training or practice sessions:
  • “I will never be as good as he or she is.”

  • “I could never jump as high as he or she does.”

  • “I don't have the speed or quickness as he or she does.”

  • "Why I am always making mistakes in the game."

     Instead of having negative thoughts an athlete needs to use positive affirmations to improve their performance.

Recommended Reading:

Affirmations - A Self Talk Method    Affirmations is a self-talk method for affecting the subconscious mind, by repeating positive statements about your goals and desires.

Changing Directions through Self-Talk   Each month, select five of the most important affirmations or self-talk that you want or desire to apply in your life. (Desire is the energy that you use to get things done.)

Affirmations to Change Your Self Talk
Simply put, an affirmation is a phrase or sentence that affirms something positive. The goal of using affirmations is to change one's mindset to some degree and bring about some kind of change.

Empowering Children Using Affirmations Have you ever used positive self-talk to help you feel better? Have you used affirmations to assist you in creating a positive attitude or achieving a specific goal?

Adventures Within - For Parents - Positive Self-Talk Positive Self-talk & Affirmation Use. An Introduction: I Am What I Think I Am. Teaching children to be aware of their thoughts is one of the most important tools we can teach our children.


Belief, Self-Talk and Performance Enhancement    by Joe Kolezynski. M.B.A., M.A.

The Power of Pre-event Thought     by Craig Townsend

Rational and Positive Thinking     part of the Mind Tools site

The Power of Affirmation And Self-Talk in Building Confidence April 27, 2011 ... You incorporate the use of self-talk and affirmations to proper improper form and bad routine in a number of sport-related movements.


The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:

All materials are copy protected. 
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.

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