KEEP YOUR LEG STRAIGHT WINNING THOUGHTS

THOUGHTS OF A WINNER

Do your thoughts tend to lift you up — or are you constantly tearing yourself with down with an inner monologue of fear, self-doubt and feelings of unworthiness? Great athletes, through all the challenges they face, are able to exert a great deal of control over the way they talk to themselves, and they’ve managed to evict the “obnoxious roommate” living in their heads that tells them they can’t do it.

Instructional and motivation self-talk in particular gives athletes a leg up on the competition, according to sports psychologist Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis. A meta-analysis of sports psychological studies by Hatzigeorgiadis and colleagues published in Perspectives on Psychological Science found that instructional self-talk (“Keep your leg straight,” “Use your core strength here”) helped athletes to improve specific techniques or skills, while motivational self-talk (“You know you can do this!”) helped them to succeed in strength and endurance-based tasks.

“The mind guides action,” Hatzigeorgiadis said in a press release. “If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behavior.”

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