Labeling Yourself in Sports

Often times we develop labels to describe ourselves, but just as negative thoughts can impact our performance, so can negative labels. Whether we think we are a weak defensive player, have a tendency towards choking under pressure, or are a slow starter- we are right! The self fulfilling prophecy tells us that we subconsciously alter our behaviors to match strong held beliefs. So are the labels you are giving yourself damaging your performance?

Even if we have negative thoughts about ourselves as an athlete during moments of self doubt, as most athletes do, we need to shift our attention and focus to the labels that highlight our strengths and abilities, no matter how minor we think they may be. A slight shift in our perception can go a long way, even if we have to fake it! (See the blog on negative thoughts for further information on the impact of negative thoughts on performance)

So what do you do if you find yourself using negative labels? Below are steps that you can use to overcome negative labels in order to prevent their damaging effect on your performance.

Overcoming Negative Labels

  • Step one: Make sure you identify any negative labels you use to describe yourself. They could be "I'm not a pressure player," or "I'm too small," or "I always strike out."

  • Step two: Rid yourself of these negative self-labels. Rationalize with yourself why they are not true. Pretend you are the most positive coach you know, what would this coach say about you? Or write your negative thoughts down on a piece of paper and tear it up.

  • Step three: Write down three confidence-boosting labels that describe your positive talents or qualities as an athlete. These could be "I'm a great team player," "I'm one of the fastest receivers," or "I'm quick on my feet."

  • Negative Thought

  • Rational Thought

  • Positive Thought

When you enter competition, focus on these positive labels that highlight your strengths and talents. Create positive and strong labels for yourself.

MVP Mentality Sports Psychology serves athletes of all ages and levels across Florida, including Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach, Boca Raton, Wellington, Delray Beach, Boynton Beach, Hollywood and the surrounding communities. Call us today at 954-317-0551 or contact us online.

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