“You can do this.”
Back in 1880, researchers took an interest in understanding the nature and function of inner dialogue. Psychologist, Lev Vygotsky, suggested that internal dialogue becomes the medium of consciousness as children develop and experience life through the early developmental years.
Self-talk develops at a young age because it is internalized and isn’t easily monitored. This stresses the importance of implementing positive self-talk as soon as possible. Not only is self-talk beneficial when it comes to sports performance, but going through everyday life.
There are three functions of Self-Talk:
In sport psychology, self-talk did not make ground as an area of research focus until the cognitive revolution of the 1970s, when researchers realized that perhaps the thoughts and mindset of athletes influenced performance and experiences in sport. There are different types of self-talk that affect performance and self-efficacy. It is a way to understand and intervene with core beliefs about oneself.
Research centered around positive self-talk found that thought stopping, thought replacement, and self-talk journaling enhance and improve an athlete’s positive self-talk and overall performance.
If you are a long-time athlete or coach reading, this all may sound very familiar. However, have you ever considered how we talk to ourselves and how using different pronouns could impact performance?
Participants in a 10km cycling time trial study were asked to think of self-talk in two ways. Half of the participants used first-person self-talk, the other used second-person self-talk. At the end of the trial, those who used second-person self-talk had significantly faster times than other participants. The power output of those using second-person pronouns was also more than those using first-person self-talk.
“This is the first evidence that strategically using grammatical pronouns when implementing self-talk can influence physical performance, providing practitioners with a new aspect to consider when developing interventions. We discussed findings in the context of a self-distancing phenomenon induced by the use of second-person pronouns.” source
First-person– “I can do this.”
Second-person– “You can do this.”
Studies have shown that using motivational self-talk, especially second-person pronouns, during aerobic tasks enables the performer to achieve more positivity, motivation, and confidence. Existing research proposes that using a second-person perspective is beneficial when the activity requires self-regulation, such as when exercising. This type of self-talk acts to separate the self from what the person is experiencing. The use of second-person pronouns reflects the adoption of a broader self-distanced perspective similar to being a fly-on-the-wall.
Through your experience, which methods of self-talk have you used? Have you considered trying the use of second-person pronouns?
Original article posted on RISE
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