An Athlete's Self Talk

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist who works alongside some of the leading players, teams, coaches and organizations in the world. He is a regular contributor to Amplified Soccer Athlete.

It’s not just your feet. It’s not just your ability to control or strike a ball. It’s not just your eyes. It’s not just your ability to see space or see a move ahead. Your words are important too. Not just to direct others, but also to direct yourself, To motivate yourself, To focus and to play with confidence. Your language, your words are important too!

Athletes need to talk their way through the game. Their words can lead to excellence, to high performance and to the kind of consistency that typifies a champion.

Their self-talk can be action based – their inner voice can keep them physically driving forward, physically strong, physically tough, physically working hard.

Keep working, keep moving, keep working, keep moving

Their self-talk can improve their psychology – their inner voice can keep them playing front foot rather than back foot football, with freedom and not with fear, playing to win and not to avoid losing, with focus, with confidence, at the right intensity, with passion and desire, with intellect and want and will.

Stay free, stay loose, stay confident

The best soccer players are a keen cocktail of raw emotion and dynamic intelligence. They use their feelings to keep stretching themselves when logic and reason says enough, enough, enough. But they also use their intellect to harness their emotions in the right way. They channel feelings into the execution of ball skills and effective decision making.

Their self-talk can speed them up or slow them down…it can help them take control when chaos is happening all around them and when things might not be going so well.

Relax, calm, patience – good decisions

Their self-talk can help them execute the plans the coaching staff have laid out.

Stay with my man…keep with him, tight, tight, man and ball

Self-talk can leverage and it can exploit.

Keep finding space, keep looking, keep working, keep sharp, stay alert, alive and lively

Self-talk can pick up the nearly broken…it can help you forget the worst!

Two down, ten to go, keep fighting, keep with my processes, stay focused - this can be turned around

Self-talk works. Self-talk is the internal wiring of a champions sports competitor. Self-talk wins Gold medals and comes from far behind. Self-talk wins unlikely games. Self-talk builds an addictive confidence that can feel so far away. Self-talk nurtures. Self-talk appeases and eases.

Do you have world class self-talk? Do you speak to yourself in a manner that helps you execute your game, with confidence under pressure? If not, why not/ If not start practicing now. If not start implementing your self-talk on the pitch. No excuses…learn to be relentless with your self-talk. Relentless! Relentless with your inner voice. Relentless!


Dan Abrahams

Dan Abrahams is a global sport psychologist who works alongside some of the leading players, teams, coaches and organisations in the world. He is known for his passion and ability to de-mystify sport psychology, as well as his talent for creating easy to understand and simple to use techniques and performance philosophies. A former professional golfer and PGA golf coach Dan has a First Class Honours degree in psychology and Masters degree in sport psychology. Academically he is visiting lecturer at several universities and he holds registration with the HCPC (meaning he is legally safe to practice as a psychologist). Dan works in all sport but specialises in football/soccer and golf. He is Lead Psychologist for England Golf and he works with players from leading amateur through to Tour players. In football/soccer psychology he is regarded as a leader in the field. He has some of the leading turnaround case studies in Premier League history and he has written two international bestselling books. One of these books, Soccer Tough, has been heralded one of the most important books in football. He currently works with players, teams and organisations across 'Planet Football.' Dan also works in the Corporate Sector delivering his sport psychology techniques and philosophies to individuals and groups.