I don’t know about you, but I do a lot of negative self-talk. Perhaps it was from the environment I was raised in, or the activities that I chose which required perfection (gymnastics, flute, skating, baking!). All of those things combined together formulated my “I can do better” mentality.
Something that I am working on for figure skating is learning to be nicer to myself. Training my mind to think positively and being ‘in the moment’ has been a long and difficult journey. And I’m not sure if I’ll ever make it to the place where everything is puppies and rainbows and my nervousness and anxiousness disappear. But I can try.
A technique that many sports psychologists and self-help books teach is the art of the positive affirmation. It requires you to rewire your brain and turn a negative thought into a positive one.
- Negative affirmation: I am horrible at the backspin.
- Positive affirmation: I enjoy working on the backspin. It will help me with my air position on my jumps.
- Negative affirmation: I’m not good enough to compete in this group.
- Positive affirmation: I belong here. I passed all my tests, and my coaches, family and friends all believe in me. I believe in me too.
By flipping the negative affirmation upside down and turning it into a positive one, we can train our minds to be happier. In turn, this should translate as becoming more confident, which should reflect in our skating.
Of course, this technique works for just about anything else so don’t limit it to skating.
Do you engage in negative self-talk? If so, how could turning into a positive affirmation help you?