Self-talk in sports helps to improve performance

Talking to yourself is not always bad,
according to a recent study.

Sports and exercise psychologist Dr David Tod, from Aberystwyth University, has found that positive self-talk has beneficial effects in sports performance.

The study suggests overcoming one’s weaker self is not always easy, even if one  regularly engages in sports. Many people often either lack motivation or tend to demotivate themselves and give up too early. Negative self-talk has always been believed to be counterproductive for motivation and success in sports. But “the existing literature suggests that negative self-talk does not impede performance,” said Tod’s report.  He claimed a little chatter with oneself during a run, combined with a bit of self-motivation can help to keep a person going when sports start to become laborious.

Performance benefits were clearly seen for positive self-talk, the team found. The study differentiated between instructional self-talk, which helped to improve technical performance, and motivational self-talk, which  increased strength and endurance. Both types of self-talk were found to positively influence performance. Talking to oneself, the study concludes, is not simply an activity that people regarded as weird do, it’s a common way to interact with oneself and keep oneself motivated.

“Novice athletes may benefit more frequently from the use of self-talk as compared with their skilled counterparts,” said the report. So the next time you’re out playing sports, try a bit of self-talk, it will help you to be more motivated and might even improve your performance.

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