Cricket Self-Talk

Self-talk

Also known as internal dialogue, self-talk is simply the way you talk to yourself inside your head. You worry over a bad innings, congratulate yourself after a good result, even tell yourself how sexy you look in fresh, clean whites. People do it every day, but mostly it’s negative. Most people use too much low-energy self-talk. Blaming yourself, chastising yourself. “I’m not good enough,” “I’m too tired,” “I’m not able.” This low-energy talk is one of the major causes of poor performance. If you tell yourself something often enough, you will begin to believe it. It may not be true, but you will certainly believe it is.

High-energy words promote high-energy thoughts and unlike the low-energy words, you can practice using high-energy words until your thoughts and emotions adjust for the better. Then your cricket becomes a positive, high-energy experience.

If you have negative beliefs, you have negative self-talk which will confirm the negative belief and so it goes on. You must be aware of your internal dialogue. While positive thinking may not always work, negative thinking almost always does. Put aside any self-pity and accept the responsibility to change. If the voice you use is not supporting you, change it.

A major problem for sports people is the repeated dwelling over poor performance. This memory leads to negative self-talk along with emotional discomfort. Your mind may then remember similar bad events. Allowing the past to affect you instead of focusing on the present only slows you down. You suffer tight muscles, energy loss, poor coordination, which all add to the bad performance.

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Be good to yourself when you talk to yourself by talking positively. Make mental pictures of yourself being a total success. See yourself taking those wickets, hear the congratulations of your team mates and the applause from the spectators and feel how good you feel when you practice being a winner. Mental rehearsal is the next best thing to actually being successful, so do it as often as you can and review it with positive self-talk. You will be delighted when you see those improvements.

What do you say to yourself when things go wrong?

What do you say to yourself when confronted by a challenge?

The secret is a confident cricketer will talk differently to himself than one who lacks that confidence, even though they perform equally well. Playing with confidence gives you the security to enjoy every minute and will be reflected by your game. Without that confidence another player may always feel unprepared, nervous, undecided. Those thoughts will then reinforce those beliefs. So you see how vital confident, positive self-talk is.

Self-talk after a good performance:

Confident cricketer – Cricketer lacking confidence

I am like that. It was luck.

I always perform like that. It was a one-off

I’ll be the same next time. I can’t do that again.

Self-talk after a poor performance:

Confident cricketer – Cricketer lacking confidence

It was luck. I am like that.

It was a one-off. I always perform like that.

I can’t do that again. I’ll be the same next time.

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Research tells us a ratio of three or four positive thoughts to every negative one contributes to better performance. Keep track of the positive or negative thoughts you have about yourself so you can change your negative thinking to a more positive outlook. Any problem you may once had, when you think of it in the future, how will it make you feel?

Making positive affirmations (self-statements) will help you feel more confident, but to work effectively these affirmations need to be inspiring and practical. Boastful declarations such as “I am the greatest wicket keeper” or ‘”nobody can bowl like me” become banana skins, as they do not work in the real world and are in fact, fruitless, distracting, then eventually you will end up looking foolish. Worse, you will lose confidence and give up using affirmations.

Use affirmations such as “I am prepared and ready for… ” repeated slowly and thoughtfully can lead to calmness, which gives you a positive mindset and leads to clear thinking and good judgement.

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by Paul M Maher