Use Positive Self-Talk to Increase Trust in SKILLS
How would you characterize your self-talk during a ball game?
In other words, is your self-talk primarily positive or negative before you practice or play in games? Does your self-talk become more negative as the game nears?
Many baseball players believe they have no control over their thoughts. In fact, many ballplayers state “I generally think negatively” or “I just can’t seem to be positive, especially after making an error.”
If you tell yourself something over and over enough times, it will show up in your game.
A high school baseball coach who responded to our Softball and Baseball Mental Toughness Survey asked for strategies to change self-talk for his players:
“Some of my players’ biggest obstacles are not their talent, but their self-talk. After an athlete is down on themselves during a game or even before a game, how do you help the athlete to change their train of thoughts?”
Just as positive self-talk or constructive self-talk has a major impact on how a player performs, negative self-talk also has a powerful effect on performance.
The following example is how self-talk can affect a baseball player’s performance:
*Your belief affects your self-talk: “I can’t break out of this hitting slump.”
*Your self-talk affects your mental images. You can see yourself striking out with the bases loaded to end an inning.
*Your mental images affect your emotions. You become anxious and uptight.
*And your emotions affect your approach to a game. Instead of being aggressive at the plate, you take defensive swings hoping to not strikeout.
Your competitive focus and your self-confidence dwindle. You focus on outcomes such as striking out.
When your self-talk is negative, what you fear becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.
In other words, how you think is most likely how you will perform.
The World Series champion Los Angeles Dodgers beat the Tampa Bay Rays in six games to be crowned champs for the 2020 COVID-shortened season.
Dodger starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw earned two wins and struck out at least one-third of the batters he faced.
In a post-series interview, Kershaw was still trying to process being World Series champs.
KERSHAW: “I’ve been saying, ‘World Series champs,’ in my head, over and over again, just to see if it will sink in.”
Even though Kershaw’s comments were after the series was over, the repetition of thoughts holds true before a game, with an even greater impact.
When you repeat something over and over, it eventually “sinks in.”
The more you tell yourself something, the more you convince yourself it “IS” or “WILL BE” true. Ultimately, how you speak to yourself becomes your reality.
How to Use Proactive Self-Talk:
If you feed yourself a steady diet of negative thoughts, negative results most likely will happen. Feed yourself constructive thoughts, you increase the chances for successful and productive play.
The first step in taking control of your self-talk is awareness.
Take notice of the circumstances that pull your attention away from constructive thoughts.
Are there any patterns that cause you to focus on negative thoughts? Log your self-talk after a game and identify which thoughts helped or hurt your play.
Once you notice patterns, make sure you work on re-framing your negative self-talk to help you feel more confident.
Just as healthy food fuels your body, proactive self-talk fuels your mind for peak performance.
Get The Mental Edge For Baseball and Softball Players!
Do you (or your athletes) lack full confidence in your skills when you step on the field as if your game disappears at game time?
Do you lose composure easily after you make your first error of time game?
Do you feel embarrassed after striking out and carry this with you for longer than one inning?
If you answered yes to any of these questions, check out The Mental Edge For Baseball And Softball Players!
Boost your (or your athletes mental) toughness! Learn 8 mental toughness lessons to help ball players improve confidence, focus and composure.
Download your copy TODAY and start boosting your mental toughness!
What are baseball mental game customers saying?
“Dr. Cohn, I’ve been tearing it up lately!!! Every single thing you taught me works perfectly in every situation I’ve been in. I’ve been so into every game and focusing on the process and not the outcomes and everything falls right into place . In the playoffs I’m 5-7 with 2 run home runs and 5 RBIs. I feel great at the plate and focusing is a breeze now. I just wanted to thank you for everything and keep you posted with how everything was going.”
~Jalen Phillips, College Baseball Player
“With your help, I have been able to deal with stress and pressure of the game of baseball more efficiently. I have learned to help me keep my focus and disregard negative thoughts and energies. This process focus will keep me from getting my head in the way of my performance, from working against myself. Thanks for your help. I look forward to speaking with you again.”
~Keith Donnell, college baseball player
“Thank you very much for taking the time to speak with our team. It was greatly appreciated and really helped a lot. I found myself implementing your teachings in our first practice right after you left. I really enjoyed the way you implemented already known ideas, but gave us a different way of viewing it. Thank you.”
~Amber Prosser, Clark College Softball