Amy Oliphant is a Positive Performance™ certified Mental Training Coach and Visualization Specialist as well as a trained instructor of Mindful Sport Performance Enhancement and Youth Mental Health First Aid. A mother of four children who compete in college and high school sports, Amy coaches competitive swim teams in the Northbrook, IL area and competes as an Ironman triathlete. Originally from Winnetka, IL, she was active in high school sports and became an NCAA Division 1 college Women’s Tennis player at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. As Founder of Transcend Mental Training, Amy passionately coaches individuals and teams in mental training techniques to help them overcome mental barriers and gain a competitive edge in their sports. To learn more about Amy’s coaching services, visit: https://www.transcendmentaltraining.com.
Q. As a mental training coach, you guide individuals in using mental training techniques to overcome mental barriers and renew competitive performance. Your new free e-course, “The Power of Self Talk,” addresses one of the most common mental barriers: negative self-talk. Can you share your insights into why negative self-talk can be so detrimental to a player’s performance and a tip for overcoming negative self-talk?
A. We’ve all been there. We blow an easy overhead, or we blast the short sitting duck way past the baseline. How we respond to our mistakes is going to determine the outcome. My guess is that most of us respond with a flurry of negative self-talk. I know I have found myself calling myself all sorts of names and making claims that I should just quit, because I’m never going to win again. The problem with negative self-talk is that it is never going to help and is a waste of your energy. The more negative you become, the more your confidence suffers. 80 percent of our confidence comes from self-talk. So, how do we stop the negative self-talk and keep our head in the game? I use a technique called A.R.M. Yourself to Victory. It involves awareness, a reset word, a mistake ritual and a brief visualization:
The goal is to eventually skip the negative self-talk and eventually go right into this routine after every mistake. Just like you get your stroke reps in on the court and strength reps in at the gym, you also have to get your mental reps in. Make A.R.M. Yourself to Victory a habit, and I guarantee you will see the results on the court.
* Get more tools and exercises for improving your self-talk from Amy by enrolling in her free e-course, “The Power of Self Talk.“