POWER WORDS - THE KEY TO INSPIRING YOUR YOUTH ATHLETE – Part 2
Dr. JoAnn Dahlkoetter
Now that we’ve learned the basic guidelines for using Power Words, in part 1, we can discuss specific ways to use positive self-talk for any problem you want to address.
We often find that our young athletes’ minds are flooded with distorted thoughts that they accept as true (e.g. “Just face it, I’m a slug, I’ll never get any faster”). You may have heard the phrase “stinkin’ thinkin’”. This expression most accurately describes the negative thought pattern that people tend to fall in to when they are lacking self-confidence.
When you’re not aware of what is happening in your young athlete’s mind this destructive pattern can snowball and become bigger than life. If you can catch your athlete in the early stages, before the thinking gets out of control, you can change the way your athletes talk to themselves and perhaps explore a new path.
You need to keep experimenting with new ways of thinking until you can say, this one is right for me. Next time you’re upset, listen to the words you use with yourself. Notice if they are reinforcing old worn out ways of thinking or encouraging a fresh outlook. Try to choose words that invite constructive changes.
MOVING FROM NEGATIVE TO AFFIRMATIVE THOUGHTS
Let’s now take time to explore, some of your negative thought traps. What are the bad thought habits that your young athletes consistently use to interpret daily events in a way that brings them down? Even the most rational person on earth functions at some distance from reality. The cognitive distortions we use often have no basis in reality. Yet as long as we ruminate about them they hold power over us. Below I have listed some common negative self-statements that come from my athlete clients. Then I provide a possible constructive counter-statement that you might substitute in your mind.
Change: “I never train well in bad weather.”
To: “I perform well under any conditions.” “I am extremely flexible and adjustable.” “I handle adversity quite well.”
- Change: “I hate running hills."
To: “Hills are my friends.” “These hills are fatigue-proofing my legs.” “I can float up this hill like a gazelle.”
- Change: “I’m too fat and too slow.”
To: “My legs are getting stronger and faster everyday.” “I float and glide along the trails.”
- Change: “I get distracted so easily.”
To: “I can concentrate fully and stay in the moment.” “I am able to re-focus quickly.” “I’m only thinking about what I need to do at this time.”
Notice what areas of training you are struggling with and create your own positive counter statements to move closer to your goals.
MORE KEYS TO CREATING YOUR POWER WORDS FOR YOUNG ATHLETES
MAKE your POWER WORDS PERMANENT:
Use the words, “I always….”. “I always enjoy my workouts.”
USE MOOD WORDS:
Include words that suggest strong, positive emotion: “I always get excited and enthusiastic at races”.
When creating your affirmations, don’t let your critical side limit the type of phrases you create. Use whatever thoughts seem to work for you.
USE CARDS OR POST-ITS or IPHONE TEXT MESSAGES:
Write each affirmation on an individual index card or post-it, or put them on your IPHONE and place them where you can view them regularly - by your desk, refrigerator, a night stand, and on your IPhone.
Try creating your own Power Words, and repeating each of them to yourself 3-5 times on a daily basis. Notice how your attitude begins to improve over time during training and racing.
To get a complete list of more Power Words for you and your young athletes, and how to use them, go to PeakPerformancePlan.com