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It's your thoughts that count - in sport

I was playing in a croquet tournament one weekend and, as usual, had my ears pinned back, listening out for the sorts of things people say out loud when they're competing!

As human beings, we filter what we hear, see and feel. When our self-esteem is high, our filters may enhance what we hear, see and feel. When it's low, the reverse is true. These filters do three things. They distort, delete and generalise 'stuff'. So when we 'beat ourselves up' because our performance isn't pleasing us, we'll often come out with generalisations like, 'I can't do anything today' or 'nothing's working' or 'I'm missing everything'. If we're honest, we know this isn't true. But the generalisations seem to be all-encompassing and, if this ever happens to you in future, you may notice that things begin to happen to your physiology too. Quite unaware, your jaw may be tightening, your shoulders slumping, your head may hang and you may drag your feet. And as for your spirits! Well, they may well be down in your boots. It's not easy to perform well in a negative state like that.

If we were to stop and think for a moment, we might find that we missed two shots in a row and yet we're now prepared to believe that we're missing everything.

So, here's a question you may want to ask yourself next time this happens to you - and, believe me, it probably will happen! When you find yourself making any of the remarks above, ask yourself the questions, 'anything?', 'nothing?' and 'everything?' When you eventually find the one thing that caused you to make the remark in the first place, you can work on your technique, solve the problem - and then move on.

Believe in yourself. Focus on a day when you hit ‘everything’ and do it again!

It's your thoughts that count - in sport

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