Study: Self Talk: Review and Sport Specific Model
Self-talk is a key component of the sport psychology canon. Although self-talk has been widely endorsed by athletes and coaches as a performance enhancement strategy, a comprehensive model of self-talk in sport that might be used to guide systematic research has yet to be developed. This purpose of this paper is to: (a) review theory and research related to self-talk in sport; and (b) present a sport-specific model that builds upon existing theory and research, and addresses key questions related to self-talk. The paper begins with a definition of self-talk, developed with consideration of the discursive nature of inner speech and dual process theories. Extant self-talk models related to self-talk in sport are reviewed and serve as a foundation for a sport-specific model of self-talk. Components of the model (i.e., self-talk, System 1, System 2, behaviour, contextual factors, personal factors) are presented, the reciprocal relationships among model components are explored, and implications of the sport-specific model of self-talk are discussed.
Judy L. Van Raalte, PhD, is a certified consultant for the Association for Applied Sport Psychology (AASP) and listed in the United States Olympic Committee Sport Psychology Registry. She has presented at conferences in 18 countries and published over 90 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Her research has been funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health, the NCAA, and the International Tennis Federation. Van Raalte served as president of the American Psychological Association's Society of Sport, Exercise & Performance Psychology (APA Division 47) and vice president of the International Society of Sport Psychology. She is a fellow of APA and AASP.
“If we already know everything that we know, then why would we talk to ourselves?”
“When you ask people after the fact, they tend to be pretty poor at remembering what they were thinking, or what their experiences were.”
“So people who think they are not really great, and say I’m not really great, and then are told to think ‘No your awesome’, sometimes get stuck in thinking and actually feel worse, and up performing worse.”
“You don’t have to act on every thought you have. It just might be part of the process and normal because sport can be frustrating.”
“How much self-talk is too much?”
“So what I think is new is looking at all the relationships between these factors and then opening things up to really consider peoples own private experiences with system one self talk.”