Self-talk is that little voice inside your head. Whatever you think you can or cannot do in a given situation will influence your self-talk and how you feel, and affect your performance. Depending on how you were raised, you may naturally focus on the good. But some people develop thinking habits that help them focus on pessimistic or negative outcomes.
So, it would be easier to think that positive self-talk may strengthen the athlete’s confidence and athletic performance, and negative self-talk may harm the athlete’s confidence and performance, but we need to be careful; there are cultural differences, and some studies indicated that it might not be true for everyone. When I ask athletes what they say to themselves, they often repeat what the coach told them to think, but they do not believe it. Also, paying too much attention to your self-talk can be distracting and decrease performance.
On the other hand, learning to manage your self-talk is a powerful mental skill; it can be used to change old thinking habits, help athletes control attention, build confidence, manage emotional reactions, and acquire sport skills faster.
In summary, I am saying that building a strong and supportive self-talk that enhances performance is more complex than saying to someone to think like this or that. But it is a powerful mental skill that can be trained and developed just as you train your physical skills.
So, if you want to learn more about how mental training can enhance your athletic performance use the link