Positive Self Talk

The other night as I was walking into the weight room for a team weights session, I noticed a young man sitting outside the weight room on a bench. Let’s call him Steve. Steve is a boy I had watched develop as a football player from the 5th grade to high school. I was anticipating his turning out for football as a freshman this past year, but he never did. Steve is a big boy at 6’2” tall and weighing probably 250 +, so you can imagine my disappointment when he didn’t turn out! I asked Steve what he was doing and he said that he was thinking about coming out for football this year. I invited him to weights and later on that evening one of our other coaches had a good “one on one” with him about joining our team. Steve told coach that he didn’t want to play football because many of his classmates pick on him. It became real apparent to our coach that Steve was having some major issues with his self esteem and his self talk. For crying out loud, Steve is one of the biggest kids in school, the only people that should be able to pick on him are grown men who are locked up in prison or professional wrestlers! Over the years, I have encountered this many times.

There are a lot of kids wandering around out there with poor self esteems and self talk. They have distorted ideas about themselves and many of them are wearing negative identity labels that they inherited in grade school. Parents may be less than supportive and even abusive. A coach may have yelled and cursed at them and told them they were fat and slow. A teacher might have told them off in front of the class and they became labeled as stupid. Or they had to deal with the ignorant ridicule of other students who pick on them. No matter what the source is, negative talk dominates their day.

I don’t think we coaches realize just how much we can counteract this negative talk and positively influence a young person’s life by improving their “Positive Self Talk”. What these kids say and think to themselves is where their life will go. Every one of them is a pilot, charting the course of a life they will take. They get a lot of misleading advice from people around them. We coaches need to give them better directions by teaching them how to say to themselves things like:

  • I am a virtuous person
  • I deserve good things in life just as much as anyone else
  • I am as capable as anyone else
  • I know with time and effort I can accomplish anything
  • I can be comfortable in front of people and say the right things
  • I know who I am, I am special, I am unique
  • Anyone who meets me will remember me
  • I can accomplish any task set out before me
  • I find things out when no clear answer is defined
  • I am worthwhile, successful, and happy

By empowering these kids with the ability to create “Positive Self Talk” we can boost their self confidence, increase their self esteem, and help them break free from the bondage of peer, family, and school labels that prevent them from being all that they can be.