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Thoughts that win
Date:5/25/2011

ms to be more effective in tasks requiring strength or endurance, boosting confidence and psyching-up for competition. Thus, we should carefully design the self-talk athletes use according to needs.

Some other findings are that self-talk has a greater effect on tasks involving fine skills (such as sinking a golf ball) rather than gross skills (e.g., cycling); probably because self-talk is a technique which mostly improves concentration. Self-talk is more effective for novel tasks rather than well-learned tasks; because it is easier to improve at the early steps of learning. Nevertheless, both beginners and experienced athletes can benefit, especially when they practice the self-talk technique.

Most important, says Hatzigeorgiadis, is that athletes train to self-talkthey prepare their scripts and use them consistently in training under varying conditions to better prepare themselves for competition.

The main goals behind self-talklike other techniques such as visualization to "rehearse" a performance or meditation to improve focus and relaxationare twofold, says Hatzigeorgiadis: "to enhance your potential; and to perform during competition in terms of your ability and not less."

The meta-analysis can help sports psychologists and athletes refine their training. But the strategy has implications beyond the playing field. "The mind guides action. If we succeed in regulating our thoughts, then this will help our behavior," says Hatzigeorgiadis.

"The goal of being prepared is to do the best you can do."


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Contact: Divya Menon
dmenon@psychologicalscience.org
202-293-9300
Association for Psychological Science
Source:Eurekalert

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