Tag: Sports

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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IPL: Where the fearless dare

Rana
Nitish Rana, Mumbai Indian (IPL 2017)

A team does well whenever its members perform well. That is why a Team is referred to as a group of people [individuals] who interact with each other to accomplish shared objectives [Carron& Hausenblaus 1998]. Whenever individuals jell together there is cohesion [togetherness] and good team spirit follows: this reflects on the team’s performance. But it is often the case that one or more individual performances are highlighted in the team’s victory- leaving you with a feeling that these performances were solely responsible for the wins. You are helplessly forced to accept this fact.

The IPL– Indian premier league [cricket] is one such tournament that has produced sterling individual performances since its inception a decade ago. Over the years the IPL has witnessed consistent performances from the likes of M.S Dhoni, Chris Gayle, Virat Kohli, Gautham Gambhir, Ab De Villiers, David Warner, Shikar Dhawan, Suresh Raina, R.Uthappa, B McCullam, Bhuvneshwar Kumar, Dwyne Bravo, R Ashwin, Malinga, Bumrah, K.Pollard, Rohit Sharma, Sandeep Sharma and a few others.

But, this edition of IPL has showcased brilliant stand out performances from others – the unsung and the unfamiliar, I can easily recall the names of Sanju Sampson, Shreyas Iyer, Rishab Pant, Hashim Amla, Chris Lynn, Sunil Naraine, The Pandyas- Hardik & Krunal, Manoj Tiwary, Rahul Tripathi, Nitish Rana, Ben Stokes, Andrew Tye, Nathan Coulter Nile, Umesh Yadav, Jayadev Unadkat, Rashid Khan, Karn Sharma, Dan Christian, Imran Tahir and Mitchell McClenaghan. Most of these players didn’t come up with a big reputation, but with this IPL they threw their weight around and delivered when it mattered. To hear from Stephen Fleming the chief coach of the Pune Rising Pune Super Giant- ‘We are not a skilled side in the IPL, but we have had some players stand up from nowhere. We take pride in that.’ 

In a T-20 game, it requires, apart from skill and execution, some special qualities to stand up and deliver when the odds are stacked against you. When you are a batsman you need to go for big shots even when the required run rate is going up, use common sense, be selective with your shots and defend your wicket in the process. As a bowler you need to vary your- pace, line and length all the time. At times you end up bowling juicy full tosses trying some toe breaking Yorkers and are taken to the cleaners. But, Yorkers are effective in the death overs and you have no other option but to try them. Though, there are champion bowlers who shine against challenges, when it is a hard life for the others out there in a batsman’s world.

Whether it is a bowler or a batsman- these are exceptional players who take the courage to come out of the comfort zone and the risks while others don’t. Winners are those who simply do things what others won’t.

These are set of players who are known for their bravery, courage, daring and fearlessness. They are confident enough to take the risks without being fearful of the negative consequences. A person normally doesn’t step out of his comfort zone because he is afraid to take chances-fearing failure. Bravery is overcoming fear. For, Bravery never goes out of fashion. Bravery is the Buzz word for success in IPL.  IPL is for the brave and not the weak hearted. May this tribe of the fearless thrive to provide unlimited entertainment to all its fans.

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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RCB needs Psychological Reconditioning

RCB Disappointment in IPLGame after game I watch with disbelief, RCB lose its matches in the present edition of the IPL – that has pushed the side to the last spot. I wonder – ` Is there an end to this royal team’ misery?  

RCB on paper always looked like winning the IPL title hands down- but that was not to be- it has never won the cup. The closest they have come was the 3 finals they made in 2009, 2011, & 2016.

Why have the RCB not able to live up to their reputation? Let’s analyse:

  • Batting has always been RCB’s strength with stalwarts like Virat Kohli, Chris Gayle & AB De Villiers in its wings. The latest addition being Shane Watson. RCB’s fortunes have always been dependant on the success of this quartet and whenever one or two of them clicked RCB has done well. This makes the team top heavy without the wanted balance in its batting composition.

 

  • The RCB selection committee has invested a large chunk of their budget on the likes of Gayle, Kohli et al and with the remaining meagre budget available they compromise and end up buying mediocre players [especially bowlers]. So the fine balance is lost.RCB Images 2
  • Bowling has never been RCB’s forte – time and again they have failed to restrict the onslaught of the opposition batsman and at times when they were given respectable totals they have not been able to defend it.

 

  • Players have been known to perform well after they were bought from RCB – and why they didn’t perform well with their earlier franchisee [especially the bowlers] is one question that the chief mentor and the bowling coach should answer.

 

  • The aura of some of the players in the RCB ranks is so great that it over shadow’s the performances of other players making it difficult to bask in their own glory. It is the duty of the support staff to make them more comfortable.

There is a dire need for a sports psychologist in the RCB team for these simple reasons:

1.This IPL X season the famous quartet of Kohli, Gayle, AB De and Shane Watson has not delivered. Injuries or otherwise they have been dubbed to be out of form. Remember it can happen to the best in this world and they are all humans. A psychologist in its ranks would have lent them the psychological support to tide over the situation.

2. The team’s think tank on many occasions has admitted that- they have worked very hard in the nets and tried everything. Trying too hard, over thinking and analysing will only lead to – paralysis by analysis. The resultant effect is pressure, stress and decrement in performance. The presence of a sports psychologist would have helped

3. Most teams of the IPL comprise of senior and junior players. Often the junior players are left cooling their heels not sure whether they will have a role to play. The team management has to take them in to their confidence and prepare them mentally to contribute big time when the situation arose. They need to be assured that their contribution is important to the success of the team. Paddy Upton, Rahul Dravid, Shane Warne, and Shane Watson did it successfully with the Rajasthan Royals. The well-known sports psychologist Dr Rudi Webster did it for the KKR in 2012. Who will forget the cameo effort of Manvinder Bisla against the CSk that helped win the tournament?

4. The support staffs of the RCB headed by chief mentor Daniel Vettori does not seem effective enough to fill this role. A sports psychologist in the ranks of the RCB would have done wonders to its fortunes.

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

You can also follow at

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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.