The world of athletics, business, and life in general often boils down to making decisions. Life is full of choices and certain decisions an individual makes that will push them into one direction or another. When making these decisions it is important to have confidence, think positive, and do one’s best to remain calm. Athletes often enter into stressful situations; stepping to the plate with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, lining up for a goal line stand on fourth down, or reading a putt to win a golf tournament. All sorts of thoughts enter into the athletes’ mind and for most individuals these thoughts are not positive or productive.
A commercial from McGladrey, a company that specializes in “Assurance, Tax and Consulting” according to their website, is a great example of what not to do during competition. A golfer, Davis Love III, and his caddie, in this case a representative of negative thought, are crouched on a putting green attempting to read how the ball will break when the caddie begins to speak. “Don’t think about the millions of viewers, don’t think about all those guys right on your tail… and don’t hit it three feet passed because then you’re looking at a possible three putt, that’s going to crush your score. Good luck!”
These are exactly the types of thoughts that run through the minds of athletes everywhere under stressful situations and are often detrimental to one’s performance. Most times when athletes think to themselves, “don’t swing at the curveball in the dirt” that is exactly what they end up doing because they are so fixated on that particular thought.
Positive self-talk is very important and is something that can be worked on at any time. It is imperative to lock in on the elements you can control as an athlete such as breathing to relax or executing a specific trigger to help narrow your focus. Narrowing your focus to implement a task you have complete control over allows you to feel more confident during performance thus creating a positive mindset. A perfect time to begin changing ones internal thought is at practice. Instead of thinking, “don’t hit the ball to the shortstop because it will result in a double play” a batter could begin ingraining a narrowed focused by thinking, “keep my weight back to hit the ball to the opposite field.” This is a simple change in connotation that will boost confidence and positive thinking during performance.
Here is a link to the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SlPqRa4WAg8&feature=related
Sports Psychology/Mental Training from Mental Apex