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Key points:

1. Every athlete feels self-doubt and negativity at some point during training and/or competition.

2. However, elite athletes are able to change these negative thoughts into positive ones through a technique called self-talk.

3. Elite athletes draw on past successes to give them the confidence they need for their current practice, performance, or competition.

Today’s Exercise: Self-Talk

Fill out the “Self-Talk” form in your Peak Performance Workbook. Think back to some times when you have felt successful and competent in sport and then use these past experiences to create self-talk cues you can use whenever you’re doubting yourself.


More on Self-Talk

Finding the right words, in your own mind and the ones you say out loud, have a real and significant impact on how you feel about yourself and how you perform. As a high performance athlete, you know that you must be disciplined in your self-talk, and hence in your thoughts, if you want to be your best.

So, do you know how you speak to yourself? Are you usually optimistic and positive about the events and circumstances of your day? Ideally, and in order for you to perform your best, it is important for you to notice when you are having negative self-talk and work to replace negative thinking with positive and constructive thoughts.

Those positive thoughts must be both realistic and authentic – you must believe them! So, for example, if you are feeling tired at practice, rather than “I’m so tired. I can’t finish this set.” You can replace it with “I’ve managed difficult practices before, I can make it through this one too.”

The key is to remember times when you’ve been successful in the past and then build a roster of self-talk cues that will shift your thoughts from negative to positive.