The voice of the athletes mind

By Craig Anthony-
Success coach / Inspirational speaker

Hi all you athletic growth seekers, this week is dedicated to you. Over the years I’ve had the privilege of working with some passionate athletes. A Common objective is to improve their performance and as such they shared a similar challenge. In some instances on a physical level they had a greater advantage over their competition and yet when the game was on, they fell short of expectation and were out performed by their opponents.

90% of sport is played in the mind. And invariably the difference between a win and a loss can come down to mental preparation and attitude. It’s your thoughts and mindset before, during and after a sporting activity that will determine your level of success.

Research has shown that the beliefs of an athlete directly affect their performance. They can be physically fit, strong and agile, yet if they have weak cognitive muscles, this factor will ultimately determine their outcome. What I mean by that is, if they think weak thoughts and they lack belief in their ability to outperform their opponent, they automatically set up a situation where their reality will reflect what they expect.

Question: What do we do every waking minute?
Answer: Think.
Question: What is thinking?
Answer: Well I suppose we could sum it up as asking and answering a series of questions such as; what should I wear today? Should I go left or right? What time should I have lunch?

Science confirms that we consistently have an internal dialog between 150-300 words per minute, anywhere from around 30,000 to 60,000 thoughts a day. This is called self-talk and in most instances it is what I call neutral, it’s neither, empowering or dis-empowering. However the danger lies when our self-talk takes on a negative nature, such as “I’m not big enough” or “I’m the weakest on the team” or “I’m out of my depth”. The ongoing negative reinforcement by habitual negative self talk results in the creation of a limiting belief(s) that goes on to become a self fulfilling prophecy.
We become what we think.

This incoming information is etched into our brain; it creates neural pathways for the data from our senses to travel down on the way to interpretation in the brain. Think of these neural pathways as grooves on a vinyl record. For us to stop playing this outdated record which has so far been yielding us limited results, we must first interrupt this groove, sort of like scratching the needle back and forth over a vinyl record so it will never play again and then we must replace the limiting belief(s) with more powerful and conducive beliefs to our goal. In other words we must etch new grooves in the vinyl record (Brain)

How do we do this? Well it’s pretty simple really, the same way we etched in the limiting beliefs. The grooves where created by self-talk or more specifically affirmations. An affirmation is a positive or negative statement that will lead to an end result you expect. Our subconscious doesn’t differentiate between fact or fiction, so it doesn’t matter what you tell it, it will accept whatever information it’s been programmed with. Be aware of any statement that follows the phrase “I am” always keep such statements in the positive such as “ I am a worthy opponent” “I am a top performer” Ask any person at the top of their game about affirmations and I guarantee this technique will be applied.

Here is a step-by-step “How To Do”

  1. Write down the areas in your life that need improvement.
  2. Write an affirmation that reflects the way you want those areas to be. Keep it short and to the point always state it in the positive and the present tense, as if it has already happened, for example, “I am a winning athlete.”
  3. Get comfortable.
  4. Close your eyes and take some deep breaths. Feel your entire body relax
  5. Speak your affirmation aloud twenty five times. If have more than one reprogramming affirmation, repeat the process for each. If you have limited time speak your affirmation no less than 10 times.

We speak the affirmations aloud to involve more of our brains electrical network by involving speech and kinaesthetic senses. Be patient and trust the process, give your affirmations time to work, just the same way as you programmed yourself in the past, either consciously or unconsciously by repetition over time. Remember it is our thoughts that over time create our beliefs, which then dictates the reality of our life experiences, so create consciously and reach for the stars.

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