SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort

<< SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate >>
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Lesson 03
For self-talk to be effective, three points should be kept in mind when selecting self-talk statements. It
must be (a) brief and phonetically simple (b) logically associated with the skill involved (c) compatible
with the sequential timing of the task being performed. If the statement is too long and vague it might
not be as effective. For example, when hitting a proper cover drive in cricket, proper front foot
placement and timing of the stroke are necessary. Key words used for self-talk could be "foot" and
Specific Uses of Self-Talk
Zinsser in 2001 identified specific uses of self-talk. All of the recommended uses relate directly to or
indirectly to the enhancement of self-efficacy
According to Zinsser, self-talk is effective in:
1. Building and developing self-efficacy
Self-talk is effective in stimulating thoughts and feelings that lead to the belief that the person is
competent and able to perform the tasks effectively and efficiently
2. Skill accusation
Learning a new skill requires persistence, effort and dedication. Self-talk can be effective in helping the
athlete to continue to work hard in order to achieve a worthwhile goal. In becoming proficient in a new
skill, the athlete change bad habits and learns new good habits
3. Creating and changing mood
Effective use of mood words can either create a desired mood or change an undesirable one. Words are
powerful motivators because of the meaning they convey. In an effort to increase power needed to get
out of sprinter's block quickly , the athlete might say the word "go" or "explode" as she powers
4. Controlling effort
Athletes need to be able to sustain effort throughout long practices or competitions. Self-talk can
suggest to the athlete to increase effort when it is needed or to sustain effort when it is deemed
beneficial for performance learning or enhancement. During long practices, boredom can be a challenge
that must be overcome. Self-talk words and phrases such as `pick it up', `stay with me' or `pace' can be
effective in controlling effort.
5. Focusing attention of concentration
As with maintaining effort, it is often necessary to remind yourself to stay focused or to concentrate on
a task at hand. Athletes often get tired, and when this happens, their concentration can easily wander, if
the mind wanders when a coach is teaching an important concept related to the athlete's role on the
team, it is imperative that he heightens his concentration. Words or phrases such as `focus', `stay with it'
or `now' can help the athlete stay focused.
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Constructing Self-Affirmation Statements
Feelings of confidence, efficacy and personal control will be enhanced if sport psychologists assist athletes in
constructing affirmation statements that can be used during competition or during preparation for competition.
These are statements that affirm to the athlete that she posses the abilities, positive attitude, and beliefs
necessary for successful performance. These self-affirmation statements must be both believable and vivid.
These statements must be prepared before hand and not left for the athlete to come up with one when they are
Psychological Momentum in Sport
Athletes report a feeling of increased confidence during periods of perceived psychological momentum. It is
better described as a boulder rolling down a mountain, gaining seed and momentum as is moves downwards.
Psychological momentum is a phenomenon that has been documented in the literature relative to tennis,
basketball shooting, volleyball and ice hockey.
As defined by Taylor and Demick (1994), psychological momentum is "a positive or negative change in
cognition, affect, psychology, and behavior caused by an event or a series of events that will result in a
commensurate shift in performance and competitive outcome". Negative momentum may be characterized as a
condition necessary to precipitate positive momentum on part of the opposition. Examples of precipitating
events in tennis include a dramatic shot, or winning a game after a long deuce.
Model of Psychological Momentum
Three different models to explain psychological momentum phenomena have been proposed by researchers.
These three models are t he antecedents-Consequences model, multidimensional model and the projected
performance model. Each model is briefly explained ahead.
Antecedents-Consequences Model
In this model a situational antecedent event such as a dink in basketball or an ace serve in tennis precipitates the
perception of psychological momentum. Psychological momentum results in feelings of goal progression, self-
confidence, motivation, and energy.
Multidimensional Model
In the multidimensional model, psychological momentum is defined as being either positive or negative. The
key element in the model is precipitating event, which leads to a momentum chain. The momentum chain
includes a simultaneous change in cognition, affect, and psychological arousal, followed by a change in behavior,
a change in performance and so a change in immediate outcome.
Projected Performance Model
Positive and negative psychological momentums are only labels used to describe performance, and are result of
extremely good or bad performance. Large positive fluctuations in performance above the mean performance
zone are labeled positive psychological momentum while large negative fluctuations below the mean are labeled
negative psychological momentum. In the course of an athletic contest, teams and players cycle through phase
of good and bad performance. These cycles are often labeled positive and negative momentum but there is no
cause and effect relationship between the labels and actual performance.
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Psychological Momentum: Fact or Fiction?
Sufficient evidence exists that psychological momentum is real and that it is associated with changes in
athletic performance. Authors have concluded that their research supported the antecedent
consequence model and the multidimensional model of psychological momentum, but not the
projected performance model. Of related interest is the finding by Eisler that team cohesion and
psychological momentum are related. Teams that enjoy high levels of task-related team cohesion are
more likely to experience psychological momentum during competition than less cohesive teams.
Gender and Self-Confidence
Ellen Lenney (1977) has done a lot of work about women and self-confidence. Lenney argues that
women and girls suffer from reduced levels of self-confidence when one or more of three situational
variables are present. If these situational variables are not present, then girls and women should enjoy
self-confidence equal to that of men or boys. Theses three situational variables relate to (a) the nature of
the task, (b) ambiguity of available information, and (c) social comparison cues.
Nature of the task
It seems clear that women respond to some tasks with a great deal of confidence, but to other with little
confidence. For example, a woman might be expected to respond with a low level of confidence to a
task that she considered inappropriate to her gender role. The kinds of tasks females considered to be
gender-role inappropriate would probably vary from individual to individual. Body-building was once
considered to be gender inappropriate for women.
Ambiguity of available information
Self-confidence in females depends on the availability of clear and unambiguous information. Females
provided with clear feedback regarding their performance with will exhibit as much self-confidence as
men. However if the feedback is unclear and ambiguous, women tend to have lower opinions of their
abilities and to respond with lower levels of self-confidence than men. For example, women might be
more likely to show a lack of confidence if they were asked to hit a volley in tennis without being told
what was good or bad.
Social comparison cues
When girls and women work alone or in situations not involving social comparisons, they are likely to
respond with self-confidence levels equal to those of men or boys. This is where cooperation rather
than competition is emphasized. When placed in situation where performance is compared with that of
others in a social context, girls and women are expected to respond with lower levels of self-confidence
than those of boys and men in a similar situation.
The result of a meta-analysis conducted, supported Lenny's hypothesis that females will show lower
self-confidence than male when performing male-appropriate tasks. As long as the task was not female-
inappropriate, however, the analysis did not support Lenny's contention that females will be less
confident than males in competitive (social comparison) situations. While research shows that females
do not lack self-confidence in all situations, strategies to increase self-confidence in women may be
Sport Psychology (PSY407)
Strategies to Increase Self-Confidence in Women
Some of the proposed strategies to increase self-confidence in women are:
Ensure success through participatory modeling.
Avoid gender-inappropriate activities.
Avoid ambiguity through effective communication.
Use effective modeling of correct performance.
Decrease competitive situations during learning.
Cox, H. Richard. (2002). Sport Psychology: Concepts and Applications. (Fifth Edition). New York:
McGraw-Hill Companies
Lavallec. D., Kremer, J., Moran, A., & Williams. M. (2004) Sports Psychology: Contemporary Themes.
New York: Palgrave Macmillan Publishers
Table of Contents:
  1. SPORT PSYCHOLOGY DEFINED:Issue of Certification, The Research Sport Psychologist
  2. SELF-CONFIDENCE AND SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Successful Performance, Verbal persuasion
  3. SELECTING SELF-TALK STATEMENTS:Skill accusation, Controlling effort
  4. GOAL ORIENTATION:Goal Involvement, Motivational Climate
  5. CAUSAL ATTRIBUTION IN SPORT:Fritz Heiderís Contribution, Other Considerations
  7. MOTIVATION IN SPORT:Social Factors, Success and Failure, Coachesí Behavior
  9. PRINCIPLES OF EFFECTIVE GOAL SETTING:Clearly identify time constraints
  10. A TEAM APPROACH TO SETTING GOALS:The Planning Phase, The Meeting Phase
  11. YOUTH SPORT:Distress and anxiety, Coach-Parent Relationships
  12. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Information Processing, Memory Systems
  13. ATTENTION AND CONCENTRATION IN SPORT:Measuring Attentional Focus
  14. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Personality Defined, Psychodynamic Theory
  15. THE MEASUREMENT OF PERSONALITY:Projective Procedures, Structured Questionnaire
  16. PERSONALITY AND THE ATHLETE:Athletic Motivation Inventory, Personality Sport Type
  21. COPING STRATEGIES IN SPORT:Measurement of Coping Skill
  22. RELAXATION STRATEGIES FOR SPORT:Progressive Relaxation, Autogenic Training
  23. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Team Energizing Strategies, Fan Support
  24. AROUSAL ENERGIZING STRATEGIES:Precompetition Workout, Individual Goal Setting
  25. IMAGERY:Skill Level of the Athletes, Time Factors and Mental Practice
  26. IMAGERY:Symbolic Learning Theory, Imagery Perspective. Sensory Mode
  27. IMAGERY:Paivioís Two-Dimensional Model, Developing Imagery Skills
  28. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Defining Hypnosis, Social-Cognitive Theory
  29. THE ROLE OF HYPNOSIS IN SPORT:Achieving the Hypnotic Trance, Hypnotic Phase
  30. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Psychological Skills Training Program
  31. PSYCHOLOGICAL SKILLS TRAINING:Performance profiling, Performance routines
  32. ETHICS IN SPORT PSYCHOLOGY:Competence, Integrity, Social Responsibility
  33. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:Defining Aggression, Catharsis hypothesis
  34. AGGRESSION AND VIOLENCE IN SPORT:The Catharsis Effect, Fan Violence
  35. AUDIENCE AND CROWD EFFECTS IN SPORTS:Social Facilitation, Crowd Hostility
  36. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Measurement of Team Cohesion
  37. TEAM COHESION IN SPORT:Predicting Future Participation, Team Building
  38. LEADERSHIP IN SPORT:Fiedlerís Contingency Theory, Coach-Athlete Compatibility
  39. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Special Populations, Clinical Patients
  40. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Social Interaction Hypothesis, Amine Hypothesis
  41. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:The Theory of Planned Behavior, Social Cognitive Theory
  42. EXERCISE PSYCHOLOGY:Exercise Addiction, Bulimia Nervosa, Muscle Dysmorphia
  43. BURNOUT IN ATHLETES:Overtraining and Overreaching, Recommended Intervention
  44. THE PSYCHOLOGY OF ATHLETIC INJURIES:Personality Factors, Coping Resources
  45. DRUG ABUSE IN SPORT AND EXERCISE:Stimulants, Depressants