Hey, you. Freshie.
When you don’t achieve something at practice, what does it sound like in your head?
Do you say “I can’t do this!”
Do you berate yourself and tell yourself how rubbish you are?
Do you tell yourself to just give up and go home?
Do you use words like useless, pathetic, stupid..?
Does this make you feel more or less motivated?
Does it make you believe less or more that you can achieve X Y or Z?
Do you find that you get closer to or further away from achieving it?
My guess is that you feel less motivated, uninspired and less confident.
The physical effects of self-talk
Positive thinking isn’t just some hippy BS. Positive and negative thoughts have a very real, scientific and measurable effect on your body. Each thought and the resulting emotion comes with its own physical response, all of which can effect how you perform.
Negative thoughts give you negative emotions and negative physical responses – “I suck at this!” = stress = tight muscles and shallow breathing.
Positive thoughts give you positive emotions and positive physical responses – “I can do this!” = relaxation and excitement = loose muscles and easy breathing.
As you can imagine, tight muscles and shallow breathing doesn’t make trying to perform easier. Whereas relaxed muscles and easy breathing does!
We want our thoughts to be helping us not making skating even harder, so lets get rid of our negative thoughts, make our self-talk work for us and make learning this roller derby thing more fun!
Stopping negative self-talk
It is a hard habit to break; we are so used to talking negatively to ourselves that we don’t always realise we’re doing it. So fixing this takes some self-awareness and hard work
When you do notice yourself using negative self-talk, literally say, “Stop!” and ask yourself, “Would I talk like this to a friend?”. I bet the answer is no!
Make sure you don’t berate yourself for being negative, just accept that you’ve had that negative thought and think about how to fix it.
Next, you need to work on replacing the negative with the positive:
Write down all the negative things you say to yourself most often and then, next to them, write the shiny new positive things you will say instead.
Make sure these new thoughts are in the present tense, specific and actually positive.
For example, replacing “I am so stressed!” with “I am feeling calm and capable” is better than of “I am not stressed” because in the second example, you are still focusing on the negative; feeling stressed.
Here are some more examples:
“I will never be able to do that” – “I am working hard on my basic skills that will take me closer to doing that.”
“I am too slow!” – “I am working hard to get faster and I am improving every week.”
“I’ll never learn the rules!” – “I am focussing on one rule at a time until it sinks in.”
Now, whenever you hear those negative voices in your head (or when you actually say them out loud) shout STOP and quickly replace them with your new, positive and actually helpful thoughts.
This isn’t an easy thing to do, it takes some effort, but keep working at replacing the negative with the positive so that you can continue to be inspired and motivated. Believe and you will achieve!
Why is positive self-talk so important?
What you think about becomes your reality.
I’m going to say that again in caps and bold because it’s important:
WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT BECOMES YOUR REALITY.
What you say in your mind becomes a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy; the more you say, “I can’t do this” the more likely that will become so.
But the more you say, “I can do this!” the more likely that will become so!
So what you say inside your head is very, very important.
What do you want your reality to look like?
“Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right.” – Henry Ford.
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