Coaching Tip: Occasionally, I will post tips specifically for the coaches out there. If you’re not a coach, you will still be able to use them to improve as an athlete, teammate or training partner.
Do you want to help your athletes with their self-talk? Do you want to make sure your clients know how to use their mentality to push through workouts? As coaches, it’s imperative that we teach mental skills, as well as physical ones.
New athletes may not know what to say to themselves during workouts. They might not know what thoughts or cues are going to help them, and which ones are going to hold them back.
Here’s how you can help new athletes understand how to use self-talk.
- First, educate them: Help athletes understand there are different things you can say to yourself to help you push through workouts: thinking about form, counting reps (chipping away), mantras, etc. – these options are all better than negative self-talk
- Second, suggest to the new athletes that they “self-talk takes notes” after each workout for the first two weeks. Have them write down which thoughts (or coaching cues) helped them during the workout, and also write down which ones were negative. This helps the athletes build awareness about the power of their mind and self-talk. It also helps the athletes understand which thoughts to continue to use in their training.