The introduction of the sport-specific model of self-talk into the literature provides a foundation for ongoing exploration of spontaneous (System 1) self-talk and intentionally used (System 2) self-talk and highlights factors related to self-talk and performance such as individual differences (personal factors) and cultural influences (contextual factors). The general benefits of positive self-talk have been demonstrated, but further research is needed to help clarify under what circumstances and for whom positive self-talk is most effective. “Say what? His specialties lie in performance enhancement, visualization, goal setting, and sustained performance under high stress. In recent years, goal setting has shown to been one of the key components in athletic performance. Unlike positive self-talk, negative self-talk is the use of negative words such as ‘cannot’, ‘will not’, ‘could have’, and ‘should have’. Dimensions of self-talk that are usually measured or manipulated in studies are valence, overtness, self-determination, self-instruction, self-motivation, and frequency. Given the important place held by self-talk in the practice of applied sport psychology, it is not surprising that self-talk is a well-studied phenomenon. Using just two categories to identify the origin of self-talk appears to be insufficient because athletes may also pick up self-talk from teammates, the Internet, books, observing others being coached, in classes, and as part of and outside of conscious awareness. This type of self-talk, self-talk that occurs spontaneously, has different neural correlates than that of assigned inner speaking (Hurlburt, Alderson-Day, Kuhn, & Fernyhough, 2016). One who is new to self-talk may find this grid helpful when performing and seeking additional performance outcomes. The sport-specific model of self-talk is useful in providing a lens through which the body of self-talk literature in sport can be interpreted and also in suggesting new areas of research. Self-talk is considered to be self-regulatory in that self-talk can be intentionally used to direct attentional focus, enhance confidence, serve to regulate effort, control emotional and cognitive reactions, and facilitate automatic execution (Theodorakis et al., 2008). Contact 'mmentalcoach@gmail.com' for questions surrounding his work and/or consulting. The research confirmed that self-talk (affirmation) improves sporting performance. Hatzigeorgiadis conducted a meta-analysis of 32 sport psychological studies with a total of 62 measured effects. They will help you on your way to career success. Such intentionally used (System 2) self-talk may also facilitate self-regulation via mental simulations and reflective processing which can lead to enhanced performance (Van Raalte et al., 2016a). Positive Self-talk. Taxonomies are important in that they facilitate a complex and nuanced understanding of self-talk, which enhances the state of research and applied interventions. Perhaps to minimize the difficulties associated with measuring self-talk in situ, the majority of research on self-talk in sport settings or using sport tasks has focused on experimental studies. Combining DES and/or elicitation interviews with assessment of neuronal brain changes via technology such as Brain TV may allow for the assessment of self-talk at the experiential and neuronal levels (Petitmengin & Lachaux, 2013). In their review of the research, Todd, Oliver, and Harvey (2011) found that positive self-talk has another component to it – motivational self-talk. Self-Talk and Culture. In the 1970s self-talk also emerged as a key component of applied sport psychology practice as practitioners turned toward cognition and away from a primary focus on personality (Williams & Straub, 2006). An analysis of spontaneous self-talk categorization, Self-talk: Review and sport-specific model, Self-talk interventions for athletes: A theoretically-grounded approach, Positive self-statements: Power for some, peril for others, Psychological Considerations for Paralympic Athletes, Psychological Imagery in Sport and Performance, Relaxation and Recovery in Sport and Performance, Psychological Skills Training and the Impact on Military Performance Readiness. It can also have lasting positive health benefits, including improved well-being and a better quality of life. System 2 self-talk involves the use of working memory and includes self-talk assigned in experimental self-talk studies, suggested by coaches, and selected by athletes for sport performance enhancement. Positive self-talk has shown to improve performance not only during and after activity, but also has shown to be a positive predictor of future performance satisfaction. Self-talk questionnaires typically require athletes to rate their self-talk use on scales ranging from not at all, never, or rarely to very much, always, very often. Finally, case examples that facilitate application of self-talk theory to practice in sport are provided. Positive self-talk is a powerful mental skill that not only can change your attitude, but also your performance. Thus, progress with regard to definition, measurement, and theory will provide the foundation for future developments in the field. Referring back to the previous example, once self-talk is expressed, the athlete may consider how to respond to her nervousness. Dr. Stahl serves as a Senior Teacher for Oasis Institute for Mindfulness-Based Professional Education and Training at the Center for … All of these phrases cast doubt and have shown to create increased somantic (physical) and cognitive anxiety (Hatzigeorgiadis & Biddle, 2008). This assists in simplifying the information for a more comprehensive review and assists in preventing redundant information to be presented with unfamiliar terminology. I can complete each lap in 90 seconds. and gain unlimited access to all courses, training plans, and supporting materials (including our 500+ infographics! Descriptive Experience Sampling has been used to study self-talk in golf, a sport that has regular breaks in the action. A distinction between assigned/strategic self-talk statements and self-selected/automatic self-talk statements in experimental studies is another approach to categorization (Theodorakis et al., 2012). Recent speculation about the power of overt self-talk for influencing the sport context, however, may provide an important avenue for further research in this area (Van Raalte et al., 2016a). He also noted that relationships among factors affecting self-talk were likely circular, reciprocal, and interrelated in nature. System 1, which involves rapid, autonomous processing, involves intuition, gut feelings, and impressions, and System 2, which is typically slower, involves cognitive effort and relies on working memory. Next, decision point questions that can guide the creation of self-talk interventions are presented. Further, they found individual differences in self-talk use. Assessing the self-talk of elite and other athletes via questionnaire is a convenient approach that allows for comparisons across athlete groups but also has important limitations. Having a clear and comprehensive definition of self-talk is crucial to both self-talk research and applied self-talk interventions, as the core understanding of what self-talk is serves as the basis of both measurement and theory. This is where the concept of ‘self-talk’ becomes progressively more relevant. The self-regulatory function of self-talk has been the focus of much of the research in the self-talk literature. Effective use of self-talk can improve your performance by helping you regulate your feelings, thoughts, and energy about those events. The above examples from my personal dialogue are from a motivational perspective but self talk can appear in other perspectives as well. Research exploring the specific effects of self-talk on athletes’ and students’ performance on sport and sport-like tasks has also been conducted. More recently, researchers have expanded their exploration of self-talk by focusing on measuring the functions of self-talk via such questionnaires as the Functions of Self-Talk Questionnaire (Theodorakis et al., 2008) and the Self-Talk Questionnaire for Sports (Zervas, Stavrou, & Psychountaki, 2007) and assessing athletes’ spontaneous self-talk via the Automatic Self-Talk Questionnaire for Sports (Zourbanos, Hatzigeorgiadis, Chroni, Theodorakis, & Papaioannou, 2009) and the Thought Occurrence Questionnaire for Sport (Hatzigeorgiadis & Biddle, 2000). Self-talk is what you say to yourself in your heat-of-the-moment thoughts. You can work with Dr. Patrick Cohn himself in Orlando, Florida or via Skype, FaceTime, or telephone. The procedure is conducted over several days to enable participants and researchers to improve their experience-apprehension skill so that the actual form and content of participants’ recorded inner experience is a true reflection of their inner experience, which can then be categorized and/or described via narrative description. Indeed, recent advances in the definition, theory, and measurement of self-talk present the possibility that self-talk could play an important role in moving the sport psychology literature forward. In such cases, self-talk could be simultaneously self-selected/automatic and assigned/strategic, adding confusion to the distinction between these self-talk types. To that end, five key components of the sport-specific model of self-talk that are critical to self-talk interventions are described. That is the self-talk that reflects gut feelings and impressions such as shout of “hooray!” after a goal is scored or “no!” in the face of an error. The statements you choose need to be vivid, should roll off the tongue, and be practiced well in advance of competition. Bob Stahl Bob Stahl, PhD, has founded seven Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction programs in medical centers in the San Francisco Bay Area and is currently offering programs at Dominican Hospital and El Camino Hospitals in Los Gatos and Mt. Call us toll free at 888-742-7225 or contact usfor more information about the different coaching programs we offer! Anxiety such as this creates debilitative performance systems such as increased heart rate, irregular breathing, self-doubt, and lack of focus. The ball goes flying over the net, nowhere near where she planned for it to go. Moment-by-moment or “state” self-talk has been assessed by researchers observing sport competitions. In an attempt to formalize the body of literature into a larger theoretical frame, Hardy (2006) highlighted the importance of considering the relationships among multiple factors including the antecedents of self-talk, self-talk itself, and consequents of self-talk. Early research related to self-talk in sport was based on the premise that understanding elite athletes and their psychological skills could inform best practices for all athletes. An ideal definition of self-talk is one that captures the nature of self-talk and provides a common understanding of the phenomenon that can guide researchers and practitioners in their work. For the purpose of this article, self-talk will be broken down into two pillars: 1) positive, and 2) negative. In order to narrow this definition Hardy highlighted three important features of self-talk that distinguish self-talk from other phenomena: (a) self-talk is directed toward the self and not toward others; (b) it can occur either out loud or internally; and (c) it occurs as a self-statement or something we say to ourselves. Researchers have separated self-talk into positive, negative, and neutral self-talk categories (Van Raalte, Brewer, Rivera, & Petitpas, 1994; Van Raalte et al., 1995, 2000). You could not be signed in, please check and try again. In the field of sport psychology, self-talk did not emerge as an area of research focus until the cognitive revolution of 1970s, when researchers began to consider ways in which the thinking of athletes influenced performance and experiences in sport (Williams & Straub, 2006). Van Raalte and colleagues (2016a) built upon Hardy’s foundations by considering broad questions such as “If we already know everything that we know, then why do we talk to ourselves?” and “When we talk to ourselves, who is talking to whom?” Their sport-specific model of self-talk can be used to provide answers to such questions. Research aimed at understanding overtness in self-talk in sport settings has not been conducted, perhaps in part due to the challenges associated with measuring covert self-talk. While negative self-talk is associated with poorer performance, positive self-talk does not significantly increase it. The awkwardness of writing or speaking private thoughts aloud, along with the actor-observer bias and the social desirability concerns that arise when writing or speaking self-talk aloud in the presence of others, make it likely that the self-talk identified via these methods does not fully reflect the self-talk as experienced by participants. The underlying idea behind this hypothesis is that positive self-talk is linked to cognitive, motivational, behavioral, and affective mechanisms such that athletes who use positive self-talk are likely to decrease anxiety, improve concentration and focus, and perform better. Additional research conducted by Malouff & Murphy (2006) revealed a positive relationship between instructional self-talk and performance. The sport-specific model of self-talk highlights the important role that context and culture play in understanding self-talk and self-talk behavior. The taxonomies of self-talk presented are not orthogonal, and any particular self-talk may belong to more than one category and may serve more than one function. With respect to the expressive function, Van Raalte and colleagues’ (2016a) definition highlights self-talk as an articulation of an internal position. The self-talk grid is a personalized grid that has been created from the collection of academic information and put into a compact system. Questionnaires have allowed researchers to measure typical or “trait” self-talk. These measures address a broader range of self-talk than earlier questionnaires but do not include sport-specific self-talk such as the mantras and dissociative self-talk reported by marathon runners (Van Raalte, Brennan Morrey, Cornelius, & Brewer, 2015). Observational studies of self-talk allow researchers to collect real-time data on the self-talk and performance of competitive athletes. Thought stopping has its origins in the late 1950s and is a class of cognitive techniques (involving mental or behavioral aspects) commonly employed by sport psychologists to eliminate athletes’ recurring negative, self-defeating, or anxiety-related thoughts. The results of this study establish the effectiveness of self-talk in sport, encourage the use of self-talk as a strategy to facilitate learning and enhance performance, and … Because self-talk ratings are not tied to real metrics, one athlete’s rating of “rarely” could be similar in objective frequency of self-talk use to another athlete’s rating of “often.” Therefore, meaningful comparisons across individual athletes in terms of responses on these types of self-talk questionnaires cannot be made. Are inner speech self-report questionnaires reliable and valid? Self-talk use has been shown to have a beneficial effect on the learning of sport skills, the performance of sport accuracy tasks, the performance of tasks that involve strength and power, and on endurance sports (Masciana, Van Raalte, Brewer, Branton, & Coughlin, 2001; McCormick, Meijen, & Marcora, 2015; Takahashi & Van Raalte, 2010; Theodorakis et al., 2012). For example, Peters and Williams (2006) found that the self-talk of East Asian students was proportionally more negative than that of European American students on a dart-throwing task and that negative self-talk was associated with better performance for East Asians than for European Americans. It seems possible that self-talk may provide a way to look at multiculturalism in sport and may also play a prominent role in linking existing knowledge in sport psychology to findings related to culture. View. Wood et al. Research surrounding self-talk revealed that not only can motivation and performance be increased, but physical feelings of strength and self-efficacy as well (Slimani & Cheour, 2016). Application of self-talk has been based heavily on intuitive ideas around the value of “positive” self-talk rather than on the most up-to-date research and theory. Here are some examples of positive and negative self talk. Self-talk is the process of which an individual may guide him/herself to accomplish a goal. Valence refers to the emotional content of self-statements. sport-specific model of self-talk by Van Raalte, Vincent, and Brewer (2016). When looking at the self-talk of athletes across cultures, it is important to recognize that individual languages contain unique words that have no equivalent in English, such as the Finnish word sisu, meaning the psychological strength used to overcome extraordinary challenges (Anthes, 2016). The use of pre-performance positive self-talk in golf revealed enhanced putting performance and personal satisfaction both during and after the play. As increased attention is paid to self-talk definitions, it is likely that self-talk measurement will be reconsidered as well. Self-talk may be expressed internally or out loud and has expressive, interpretive, and self-regulatory functions. “Stay with my man…keep with him, tight, tight, man and ball” Self-talk can leverage and it can exploit. Neutral self-talk also includes instructional self-talk, a category commonly seen in the literature that refers to statements such as “slow and steady” or “bend your knees,” which provide guidance or instruction to an athlete. Most of all, they must be totally believable. Printed from Oxford Research Encyclopedias, Psychology. Observational studies do not allow for the assessment of athletes’ internal self-talk during play, however. (2009) found evidence in support of this hypothesis. Further research examining the self-talk dissonance hypothesis may help identify additional mediators and moderators of the self-talk–performance relationship. Self-talk is primarily considered in terms of its role in cognition and processing, however overt self-talk can also have an effect on the sport context (Van Raalte et al., 2016a). Further, their model highlights how dual processing theories can be used to explain the separate but interacting systems by which information from the outside world is processed (see above). My last point brings me to an important positive self-talk in the winning athlete. It has an important role in your success as an athlete and is essential for your recovery when you experience an injury. For this reason, description, functions, and categorization of self-talk are presented in the following three sections. Those who practice positive self-talk are more likely not to suffer from negative thoughts. (2014) found that for novices, instructional and motivational self-talk did not differ in their effects on throwing accuracy but motivational self-talk enhanced throwing for distance performance. Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Psychology, Professor of Psychology, Springfield College, Clinical Psychology: Disorders and Therapies, Organizational and Institutional Psychology, Theoretical Approaches to Self-Talk in Sport Psychology, https://doi.org/10.1093/acrefore/9780190236557.013.157, http://www.newyorker.com/tech/elements/the-glossary-of-happiness, Get excited: Reappraising pre-performance anxiety as excitement, Self-talk and softball performance: The role of self-talk nature, motor task characteristics, and self-efficacy in novice softball players, Undirected thoughts: Neural determinants and correlates, Coaching behaviors associated with changes in fear of failure: Changes in self-talk and need satisfaction as potential mechanisms, Verbalized inner speech and the expressiveness of self-consciousness, Ego-depletion and the strength model of self-control: A meta-analysis, Speaking clearly: A critical review of the self-talk literature, It’s good but it’s not right: Instructional self-talk and skilled performance, A perspective on judgment and choice: Mapping bounded reality, The neural representation of intrusive thoughts, Self-talk as a regulatory mechanism: How you do it matters, Psychological determinants of whole-body endurance performance, The use of self-talk during elite cricket batting performance, Self‐awareness part 2: Neuroanatomy and importance of inner speech, Microcognitive sciences: Bridging experiential and neuronal microdynamics, When interrogative self-talk improves task performance: The role of answers to self-posed questions, Writing about testing worries boosts exam performance in the classroom, The existence and function of inner speech in thought processes, Psychological skills do not always help performance: The moderating role of narcissism, The executive mind: Leader self-talk, effectiveness and strain, Motivating goal-directed behavior through introspective self-talk: The role of the interrogative form of simple future tense. This has been backed by both athletes themselves and more recently, sport scientific research. The positive statements are examples of the kinds of things you need to say to yourself. Harvey, Van Raalte, and Brewer (2002) found that positive self-talk was correlated with worse golf putting accuracy. Self-talk is defined as the expression of a syntactically recognizable internal position in which the sender of the message is also the intended received. Chang et al. While knowing goals are important and setting them is a good first step, it is the more complex foundation of how that goal was developed which determines the outcome. Unlike negative self-talk, positive self-talk applies positive encouragement (e.g., I can, I will) followed by positive reinforcement (success vs. non-success). One of the most prevalent hypotheses in the applied self-talk literature is that self-talk with a positive valence is best for sport performance (Tod et al., 2011). With regard to self-talk, such research typically involved questionnaires that included items designed to determine how much self-talk was used and how effective the self-talk was perceived to be as an intervention strategy. Several of the most prominent hypotheses and theories in the self-talk literature are discussed in the following sections. New experiences are understood in terms of past experiences and existing beliefs, and beliefs and convictions are adapted based on new experiences; this allows for self-regulation in the form of future planning (Larrain & Haye, 2012; Van Raalte et al., 2016a). Zourbanos, Hatzigeorgiadis, Bardas, and Theodorakis (2013) found that beginners performed better when using instructional self-talk for an accuracy task relative to motivational self-talk. Some of the categories of self-talk that have been most widely studied and/or are most promising in the literature are discussed in this section. In the sport psychology literature, hypotheses and theories pertaining to self-talk have tended to focus on one prediction or research finding at a time, for example, the positive self-talk hypothesis. Exploring the self-talk of athletes with regard to culture and language opens up an array of interesting research questions such as the effects of unique self-talk vocabulary and the self-talk and experiences of multilingual athletes. Perhaps because of the conceptual ties between self-talk, core self-beliefs, and self-efficacy seen in the research literature, the applied literature on self-talk placed considerable emphasis on the importance of positive self-talk for sport performance. This article provides an overview of the history of self-talk in sport psychology and performance with a focus on self-talk definitions, theory, research, and measurement. Negative self-talk increases motivation and performance in some circumstances but is generally detrimental to sport performance. Additionally, it will compare the model with elite self-talk dialogue to explore the usage of self-talk in competition. Despite the emergence of sound theories of self-talk in sport (e.g., Van Raalte, Vincent, & Brewer, 2016a) and a body of empirical work (Hatzigeorgiadis et al., 2011; Tod et al., 2011), there is popular enthusiasm for self-talk approaches that are not supported or have been minimally supported by scientific research. Whereas defining self-talk, functions of self-talk, and categories of self-talk can provide important information about what self-talk is, having theories of self-talk allows for an understanding of what self-talk does and for predictions and recommendations about what types of self-talk might be best for whom and under what circumstances. A basketball player shooting free-throws who tells himself, "I’m not going to make this basket," will need to practice replacing that negative statement with a positive "I’m going to make this shot." Elaborating on this idea, they suggest that one of the functions of self-talk is to express intuitions, feelings, and other non-verbal thoughts (System 1) in a verbal, syntactically recognizable way. Positive self-talk can help in supporting the cognitive abilities within our minds and a mind with a positive attitude will be more stable, balanced, and will provide you with a better chance of succeeding in the event. A shift to the use of theoretically and empirically grounded approaches to self-talk interventions is more likely to occur when practitioner-specific information tying self-talk theory to practice is available (Van Raalte, Vincent, & Brewer, 2016b). In their research, individuals with high self-esteem benefited from the use of positive self-talk, whereas individuals with low self-esteem who used positive self-talk reported feeling worse. A traditionally held view among sport psychologists, still currently prevalent, is that positive self-talk is … Negative Statement – “I’m afraid.” Positive Statement – “I’m courageous and … Some self-talk that athletes use, self-selected/automatic, may later be suggested by coaches or sport psychologists and thus be considered assigned/strategic. Mindfulness in Sport. If one were to use positive self-talk and see negative results (e.g., failing to make the putt), self-talk doesn’t work. They found that negative self-talk was widely used by athletes during competition and also noted that negative self-talk was related to worse tennis performance among youth athletes. Similarly, the use of non-first person pronouns such as one’s own name enhances the ability to regulate thoughts, feelings, and behavior relative to the use of first person pronouns (Kross et al., 2014). Practicing self-talk enhances its beneficial effects, perhaps allowing self-talk to become an integral part of the sport performance experience. Helping Athletes Overcome Self-Critical Behavior. To fully understand the effects of self-talk on sport performance, more research exploring the self-talk of competitive athletes and their performance in actual competitive sport environments is needed. For instance, people who are anxious and use the self-talk “I am calm” perform worse than those who are anxious and use the self-talk “I’m excited” (Brooks, 2014). That is the self-talk that directs attention in a particular way including “bend your knees and follow through” or “you can do it!”. To accomplish this goal, participants carry a beeper, and when a random beep is emitted, they immediately record the experiences salient to them immediately prior to the beep. Research exploring neurological aspects of self-talk has shown that some participants (17%) who are at rest while undergoing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) report that self-talk is their dominant mental activity (Delamillieure et al., 2010). A body of literature has shown that athletes who use self-talk as part of a psychological skills training package experience performance benefits (Theodorakis et al., 2012). Important role that context and culture play in understanding self-talk and performance of athletes... Of the most overlooked aspects of goal setting is the process of which one approaches a.., Perunovic, and interrelated in nature enhanced putting performance and related.! On sport and sport-like tasks has also been conducted assessing self-talk during many sport performance researchers observing sport competitions performance. Associated with poorer performance, positive self-talk in sport settings seems warranted affecting self-talk were circular... 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