Self-talk is the talking you do in your own head about yourself and the things that happen, your own
"running commentary" on your life. Often this self-talk happens so automatically
that you are barely aware of it. However, what you say to yourself can have a big effect
on the way that you feel, and on what you can achieve. Your self talk can be like an internal coach,
encouraging you, boosting your confidence, believing in you, and motivating you to achieve
your goals, or it can be like an internal bully, undermining you, criticising you and beating up
on you when you're down.
Sports psychologists have long recognised the importance of positive self-talk in helping
athletes achieve their potential. Everyone who play competitive sport or who competes at
a serious level faces adversity and obstacles to success: physical pain, poor conditions, strong
opponents, fatigue. The only way an athlete can succeed in the face of these difficulties is
to have powerful self belief and great determination. Positive self-talk is one tool that
athletes use to achieve their best in competition.
There are three steps to changing your self-talk so it works for you rather than against you:
Changing self-talk requires some time and practice, since our ways of thinking
tend to be quite ingrained. You will probably need to keep working on the three
step process above for some time before it becomes second nature.