Using Positive Self Statements in Sports

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Want to be the best you can be? You've got to think it to win it! Contact John Ellsworth, Master Mental Game Coach and Sports Psychology Consultant. ProtexSports.com

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Using Positive Self Statements in Sports

  1. 1. John Ellsworth, MA • Protex Sports (www.protexsports.com) Using Positive Self- Statements in Sports Discover why some athletes succeed when others struggle with success and what you can do about it.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC www.protexsports.com Page 1
  2. 2. Using Positive Self-Statements in SportsHave you ever wondered why it seems that certain athletes succeed where others seem tostruggle with success?The people who succeed know how to program their minds for success, while others may beoperating under a cloud of negative suggestions, statements or beliefs. The challenging newsabout what we say to ourselves is these beliefs developed early in life and have become aregular method we use to communicate to ourselves. The good news is that this pattern canwith practice be corrected.The method of using positive Self-Affirmations, or Positive Self-Statements to change yourinternal communication with yourself is simple. The process is so simple that it is oftenoverlooked or underestimated as a powerful tool to help athletes with positive change andimproved success.What is a Positive Self-Talk Statement?The mind is always talking and advising you about who you are, how you should feel, andreinforcing the type of person you are or ought to be. A positive self-talk statement is astatement you make to yourself on a regular and frequent basis in order to reprogram both theconscious and unconscious mind with an idea, belief, or attitude you choose for yourself.Positive Self-Talk statements can be anything you want, but they must be used for your owngood and the good of others.How often have you doubted yourself either before or after an athletic performance?When you achieve success during athletic competition you either reward yourself with positivestatements, or you might repeat negative statements to yourself like, “You choker, or Whycan’t you get it right, or “I can never seem to this done the way I want to.”Positive Self-Statements are a powerful way to replace negative “mind chatter.” Mind chatter isan unproductive unconscious guidance system outside of your awareness that controls yourbehavior with “value related statements.”Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC www.protexsports.com Page 2
  3. 3. Where did these self-talk statements come from?As you grow up you learn certain limitations about what was is possible as a result of your lifeexperiences. Some experiences can be far outside of your conscious thought process and youmay not even be aware they exist. At other times you might be aware of saying ”No, I shouldbe able to do better than this” to yourself. You might even say, “That’s just the way I am, “ andfeel somewhat hopeless about changing some quality, or attribute about yourself. You may haveheard someone close to you say, “Come on now, you can do better than that.” The more oftenyou heard these statements the more you may have started to believe in certain “expectations”about how you should perform rather than how you were capable of performing. Positive Self-Statements are the mechanism by which you can change your mind and literallyre-create your self-thoughts on a daily basis with relatively little effort. All you need is a fewminutes each day to practice. Remember, the problematic negative belief statement you areabout to re-write has been in existence for some time. Now is the time to give yourself ampletime for the change to grow and prosper in your mind.Why do Positive Self-Statements Produce Results?An alert and conscious mind stays alert if it believes it is capable of doing so. We learn anddevelop “belief statements” early in life by what others tell us. If we are told we are “less thancapable” or that we “should do better”, we may cultivate a mindset that is never satisfied withwhat we do or achieve – thereby programming us to always expect more. If the mind is alwaysexpecting more, we have in essence set a standard by which we can never be satisfied with ourachievements. If we are never satisfied with how we perform how do we reward ourselves withpositive self-statements? We will always be asking for something beyond what we haveachieved.Positive Self-Talk statements help to re-program the mind. They are the nourishment the mindand personal self-esteem needs to re-program a belief in self. They are the encouragementstatements that cultivate new thoughts to take root and grow. As you continue to repeat thenew statements the new thoughts become stronger, and grow deeper into your unconsciousmind until the a new belief system is fully established, flourishing, and bearing positive results.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC www.protexsports.com Page 3
  4. 4. Important for Best ResultsAlways phrase your self-statements positively and in the present tense. The unconscious mind,which makes pictures from your words, does not register negatives. When you tell yourunconscious mind, “Don’t miss that fast ball”, the mind makes a picture of missing the fastball,and then has to find a way to cancel that picture and generate a new behavior. This three-stepprocess is very complex and does not help to generate positive behavior. This also explains whyyou continue to do the things that you tell yourself not to do.Tell your unconscious mind exactly what you want it to do and it will follow the instructionsyou give it, especially when you repeat the instructions calmly and cheerfully for a period oftime – four-six weeks. Here are some examples of positive self-statements: (1) My performance today will be the best I can give regardless of the weather or conditions of the field. (2) I choose to see myself performing effortlessly as I glide through my wind-up and delivery with confidence and focus. (3) I love to compete, I love the energy of being in a field of runners, bikers and swimmers and chose to focus on remaining present and in the flow. (4) By having my pre-at-bat plan and sticking to my plan there is success without judgment regardless of the outcome. (5) I choose to take the success from practice in to the game with confidence and trust in my ability to be a winner. (6) Being in the flow and in the process of my own race means no judgment and no analysis. (7) I am looking forward to each new day because I chose to believe I add value to the team.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC www.protexsports.com Page 4
  5. 5. Blocks and Barriers to Self-Affirmations, Self-Statements, Positive-Self TalkYou have faithfully followed the process, but the positive self-statement process is not workingfor you. What is wrong?There are several possibilities. You may have a stronger, more dominant belief conflicting withthe positive affirmation statement(s) you are trying to introduce.Another possibility for positive affirmation statements not working may involve a different kindof conflict. I worked with an athlete who determined after examining other issues, he washolding onto some very strong past resentments. The resentments were “more important” topart of the athletes mind than the improvements he was trying to create.A third possibility is the positive self-statement is based on the person’s idea about what they“should” create, rather than about what they really want to create. For example, anotherathlete I worked with “thought” he “should” perform better each time he had an an-bat duringa game. If the idea of performance improvement is based on an expectation or “should”statement, rather than a confident belief then the positive self-statement will rarely take root.A fourth possibility may occur when a person feels they “don’t deserve” whatever they areattempting to affirm, because of a general lack of self-esteem or specific fear of some kind oranother. This could be a fear of failure or a fear of success.These examples of blocks, barriers, or slumps illustrate a very important principle. As you beginto say or write your positive affirmation statements, pay attention to the “objections” that mayenter into the thought process from other parts of your mind. When you say, I am confident inmy preparation and will perform to the best of my ability without expectations,” and a voice inyour mind replies, “Hogwash, you are no more ready for this game than a man on the moon,”this is “chatter. ” or a conflicting “negative self-statement that will soon disappear, as youcontinue with the positive self-statements and develop a belief that “you are ready”!Let positive self-statements, become a positive force in your athletic life. Let this positive forceenable you to become all that you can be. You can Improve Your Performance with Positive Self-Statements. Make a commitment to get started now.Copyright© 2011 by Protex Sports, LLC www.protexsports.com Page 5

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