This is part 2 of the "Getting the right attitude" series of posts. To go to part 1 click here.
All cricketers use self-talk in some way whether they know it or not: It's the way you talk to yourself during a game or in practice. Use it right and it will give you more runs, wickets and catches.
Getting self talk right
There are 2 forms of self talk: Positive and negative. The more you recognise your negative thoughts and change them to positives the better results you will achieve. For example, you may be a bowler who is finding it tough to get a good line and length. You realise you are saying to yourself that you are bowling badly and you are bound to get hit. In response you change your thinking to telling yourself to concentrate on the next ball and focus on the target area.
The stop technique
The way to make this change is to keep yourself aware that negative thoughts can slip into your thinking. When one does, firmly tell yourself to STOP and think of a positive right away. This disrupts your minds negativity and forces you to rethink. This technique works if you are playing badly to put it out of your mind, if you are anxious about your performance or even during your post match analysis to steel yourself for the next game. It is very important to practice recognising your negative thoughts and turning them into positives. You can do this by working on them during net and practice sessions. It is also vital to make sure your positive thoughts are realistic to your own level. While self talk is a powerful tool, it can't replace skill or fitness.
How to recognise negative self talk
Negative thoughts come to us all. Sometimes they so subtle we believe that they are true rather than simply negative opinions. Most people, with awareness of the effects of negative thoughts, can detect them and reverse them using the stop technique above. However, if you have a serious problem identifying your negative thoughts and stopping them you should take the following steps:
- Identify what moments or actions trigger negativity both in cricket and in your life. You can do this by noting down every time you feel negative: where, when and why.
- Tell yourself that negative thoughts are influencing your performance and the next time you feel negative you will use the stop technique.
- Using negative thoughts you had previously, work out some positives to use instead.
- Practice during nets and other training sessions.
- Move the technique into a game situation.
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