Tag: Motivation

Self- talk improves sports performance

Serena Williams

When I finished reading the article ` Talking to yourself isn’t weird, it helps you to perform better, that appeared in Times trends [TOI] by Rhian Lubin on 06/05/17 – my thoughts went back to my own playing days: As a batsman I had this tendency of misjudging the ball and got out playing wrong shots. To correct this, I used to tell myself before every ball- ` watch the ball – play to the merit of the ball. When this became a habit, I became more judicious and thereafter- more successful.

Human beings, with very little exception, have this habit of talking to themselves. Earlier, when we noticed a person on the street speaking to the self: we used to call him `insane. Within sanity: talking to oneself now, is regarded by science as smart’ and even beneficial. Psychologists have come out saying that talking to oneself is a form of intelligence. Smart people are known to do a lot of self-talking: it is reported even Albert Einstein did it.

There is a two way communications happening all the time inside: between our good self and that little fella inside our head. It can happen in two ways: talking to that voice silently or talking out loud. And this inner dialog is called- SELF TALK. You may have noticed when a Tennis match is in progress the player indulges in a lot of self-talk: if it is a singles match the player is not allowed to talk to anyone, even his coach [except himself- hee, hee]. Players abuse themselves loudly – `you fool how could you miss such an easy forehand, you are a loser, you stink, you are a choker, you are useless, I am no good etc or the players can swear under the breath silently. When a player gets angry, anxious, nervous and afraid, the negative thoughts that follows leads to physiological changes in the body-that can be detrimental to performance. When thoughts are positive they enhance performance but when they are contrary they cause negative emotions to debilitate performance.

 What we say constantly to our inner voice, whether it is complimentary or contradictory – it is accepted sincerely by our sub-conscious mind and that is what we become over longer periods of time. So, we have to be very careful with our self-talk.

Shad Helmstetter, PHD writes in his book what to say when you talk to yourself– ` You will become what you think about most, your success or failure in anything large or small will depend on your programming, that is – what you say to yourself and what you hear from others.’

When faced by pressure of competition self- statements made out of desperation like- `I must win this match, I mustn’t lose to this player, I have to win otherwise what will people say- adds more pressure and anxiety to the situation that sends the performance in to a down spiral. Negative self-talk, like- ` I don’t want to choke or `I am not mentally weak or `I am not a loser or `I don’t want to lose to that player- will be accepted literally by the sub-conscious and the results will be in accordance with it. Instead these statements should be converted in to positive statements like- I want to be relaxed and confident or I am mentally strong or I am a winner or I can win against this player.

Self – talk can also be in the form of Cue words like- strong, easy, focus, calm, relax, fight, I can etc- urging the mind-body to follow a certain pattern in that instant.

Positive Self- talk can also be used in the form of affirmations like- ‘I am a winner’ or ‘I am proud of myself and my abilities’ or ‘I play well under pressure’, ‘I love myself’ or ‘I am always confident’.

The everyday motivational self-talk must be. – EVERYDAY IN EVERYWAY,  I AM GETTING BETTER AND BETTER.

M N Viswanath, author of Success Mantra In Sports and sports performance coach, he can be reached at viswanath.author@gmail.com

The book Success Mantra In Sports is available on Amazon and flipkart. To book your copy you can click here, amazon

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Setting goals motivate sportsperson to stay the course longer

anthony-ervin

Elite swimmers Michael Phelps [USA], Ian Thorpe [Aus.] and Anthony Ervin [USA] all made their Olympic debut at the Sydney Olympics 2000. Ever since Michael Phelps who has participated in the 2004, 2008, 2012 and 2016 Olympics: winning a total of 28 medals with 23 of them are GOLD:  is the most decorated Olympian of all times. Ian Thorpe also took part in the 2004 Athens Olympics since Sydney 2000 and has 5 Olympic gold medals to his credit. Whereas, Anthony Ervin after winning his first Gold medal at the Sydney Olympics 2000, surprised everyone by announcing his retirement, at the age of 22. But, by staging a comeback and winning an Olympic Gold after 16 years ever since he first won gold medal [2000 summer Olympics]: at the age of 35 years – Ervin has scripted the greatest comeback in the history of sports.

To find out what happened in the in-between years of Ervin’s life watch the video below:-

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ThQ7ZvJlRnI

When you look at the dramatic happenings post the first gold medal win [Sydney Olympics] it becomes clear that his goal setting and his motivation factor did not support a long celebrated career that a Michael Phelps or a Roger Federer enjoys. Ervin Anthony has admitted that his dream was to win an Olympic gold medal- once that was achieved he stopped enjoying the competition and felt jaded. He lost the sense of purpose and meaning in life and chose to retire. This was a clear case of a lack of a long term goal and an intrinsic motivation to be the best- that would have helped him to sustain his motivation to continue for a longer period of time.

Ervin rediscovers the magic

It was after he was invited to New York to teach kids swimming he rediscovered his love for water. The joy on the faces of the children sparked a new found motivation in Ervin. He felt that the fire left in him was still burning. He took to the pool and worked hard. Soon, he became a member of the US Olympic squad to the London Olympics 2012[finished fifth]. He has expressed that it was during this period he felt unfinished and wanted to do more- through effort he continued to grow and improve [Intrinsic motivation]. At 35, 4 years later at RIO [2016 Olympic Games] he won the gold again.

Message for the aspiring youngsters 

When you look at Michael Phelps [5 Olympic Games- 28 Gold medals] and Roger Federer, two of the greatest athletes in the modern era- you are astonished by their longevity. What keeps them going is the burning desire to be the best in business and wanting to get better and better all the time. This is what intrinsic motivation is all about. It is the intrinsic motivation that prompted Ervin’s return to water. And how well he proved he could be the best at 35. Federer talks of wanting to improve & become better in this video:-

https://www.Goalcast.com/2017/04/03/roger-Federer-never-stop- improving/   

So, guys set your goals in line with your most cherished dream and vision. Your goals must be to follow the intrinsic path and the external motivations [rewards, name-fame, money, material comforts, titles, honours etc] will take care of themselves. Don’t restrict your goal to one big achievement as Ervin did. Take steps to sustain your motivation that can stretch your goals towards a long celebrated career.