Affirmations are short statements of personal belief
that are designed to help us feel good about ourselves and our
abilities. They may take many forms, but they must always be
written in First Person, be positive, and are written in the present
tense. They positively state exactly what we are doing to make
our life go the way we want it to.
A recent survey showed that one of the top concerns
for young athletes was, "I am concerned about what others think of
me". Ironically, our concern over such things much more often limits
rather than enhancing it. One excellent way to combat the anxiety
such thoughts raise, is to have plenty of self-affirming statements
that remind us who we are and what we want to accomplish.
Stories of professional athletes using this
technique are widespread and the techniques vary significantly.
For our purposes, I will recommend that you write your affirmations
down, keeping them short, easy to remember, and appropriate for all
circumstances. Still, one of my favorite stories is about Ted
Williams and his affirmation
program. If you are not familiar with him, Ted is probably the
greatest hitter in the history of professional baseball. While
reporters usually talked about his technique, great eyesight, and
exceptional eye-hand coordination, teammates quietly reported his real
secret (though you wouldn't
have seen it in the newspapers!) Before games, Ted would affirm
himself, usually at the top
of his lungs, with statements like, "I am Ted @#$%& Williams and I
am the greatest @#$%& baseball player that ever played the
Now, we might find that humorous if we witnessed
someone acting that way in the locker room, but if that person went out
day after day and never swung a bad pitch, hit for both average and
power, and became recognized as an incredible player, we might think
about trying out that technique for ourselves. In fact, I have it
on good authority that Alexander the Great, Napoleon, and Michael
Jordan went through approximately that same technique every day.
We live in a world where a great number of people are ready, willing,
and able to put us down harshly for almost any stand we take, so it
seems only fair that we should set ourselves up with positive reinforcement
In your case, we'll keep things pretty simple.
I want you to look at some of the statements and usages below, then
think about affirmations
can write up for yourself to help you with the Problems you decided to
work on back on the Goals
page. I want
you to think about positive things you can say to yourself, that will
help you feel capable of handling the problems you are trying to
correct. Listed below are only examples, and I want you to think
in terms of your own personal problems and your "voice" in trying to
correct them, so your affirmations will be very personal.
An athlete having difficulty with persistence might
say, "It is easy for me to keep going when things get tough."
An athlete struggling with feelings of rejection
might say, "I quickly let go of any upset when I hear the word 'No'."
Another might say, "I handle rejection easily and
turn it into a learning experience."
Suffering deeply from losses, an athlete might say,
"I must lose sometimes, and I will learn from each one."
Another might say, "It's OK to make mistakes
sometimes, but I am improving."
Any of us might want to say, "What I need, say, or
think is important." or, "I am worthy of respect." or, "I
am proud of myself and my accomplishments."
If we are stressed, we might say, "I view stressful
situations as a challenge, and use them for personal growth."
A good one for many of us might be, "I maintain
self-control in the midst of the most chaotic circumstances." or,
"I stay on an even keel emotionally at all times."
Other general purpose affirmations
can be, "I accept
myself and others for who we are." or, "I readily forgive myself
and others." or, "I give to myself and others the love and
respect we all deserve."
The real key is to see our problems clearly and
prepare to deal with them positively and effectively. Repetition
is one of the keys to success with affirmations
so it is important to say them several times each day. It is
often said these days that "You can achieve what you believe." If
that is true, it is also true that repetition builds belief. If
you hear often enough that you are a worthless individual, you will
likely believe it eventually, even if you pretend not to. Let's
offset the negative things we think, feel, say, or hear with positive
statements that will give us the inner strength to overcome those
~ On a 3X5 note card, write 5 general (side 1) and 5
sport-related (side 2) Affirmations
(following the rules: Personal, Positive, Present Tense) that will help
make your life better. The general ones should be related to
individual qualities about yourself that you would like to
improve. The sport-related ones should be designed to help you
overcome what you perceive as the obstacles that most often prevent you
from performing your best. Read the "general" card first thing
each morning, and last thing each day. Read the "sports" card
just before each practice and game, and again immediately
afterward. Of course, you may also read or repeat them any other
time when you think you need a little positive boost.
(Your teacher will
ask to see these at some time.)
the Strategy page