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Positive Self Talk & Athletic Performance


Positive self-talk: When you shift your inner dialogue from negative to positive to boost your mental health and outlook on life.


The theory behind positive self-talk as it relates to athletic performance:  Overcoming negative thoughts will decrease anxiety levels, create excitement, and lead you to a successful athletic performance.


Positive self-talk can be our advocate or our biggest enemy.  Effective use of self-talk can improve your performance by helping you regulate your feelings, thoughts, and conserve your energy about the race you have coming up. Positive self-talk can improve your confidence, your focus, performance and motivate you.  What motivates you can make you become more productive!


How can you take negative self-talk and make it positive when your emotions and nerves are at an all time high before an upcoming race?  Here are some examples below how taking a negative thought and turning it into a positive can be motivating.


Negative Self-talk

Positive Self-Talk

This distance is new to me.

This is an opportunity to learn something.

This workout is too complicated.

I am never going to finish!

I’ll tackle it from a different angle.

I know I can do this; I have trained hard!

What if I fail?

What if this works out?

This is not how I normally do it.

Let’s take a chance.

I’m not going to get any better at this.

I’ll give it another try.

This is difficult.

Let’s break this into smaller steps.

Everyone is better than me.

Being with experienced people will push me.

Talking to yourself negatively will almost ALWAYS result in a poor performance.  You have set yourself up for failure before you even tried.  Learning to spin that negative self-talk gives you a chance to try your hand at something you're fearful of.  Regardless of the result of the experience, the point is – you had the experience!!!  This will only set you up for future success.


So, next time you are struggling with negative thoughts, try your best to look for a silver-lining.  The more you practice positive self-talk, the more it will become a habit.

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