When speaking to groups about mental skills and the topic of self talk came up, it seemed that many in the audience had a hard time relating to the fact that useful self talk has to be self created. As athlete's we are trained to do what the coach tells us. In this case, we tell athlete's to use phrases that are positive and have meaning to them - in other words, you gotta figure it out a little.
Olympic Qualifier Alice Schmidt (800 Meters) had this interesting quote in a New York Road Runner interview.
NYRR: I read somewhere that you’ve been working on your mental game. What have you done?
AS: That has come with practice. It’s been tougher since I’ve been training alone. I definitely have to be more deliberate in visualizing through long intervals and workouts. Sometimes it’s really tough for me to stay focused. That’s something that I’ve just acquired over time. During the race I’m usually like “the hay is in the barn and the work has been done and today you will compete fiercely.” If you’re thinking during a race, you’re doing something wrong.
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