Bruce Lee was the shiz… we all know that. He is a cultural icon 4 decades after his passing. Beyond his mastery of the martial arts and making them mainstream, his wisdom was unparalleled. Reading quotes from him now shows that he also had a mastery of performance psychology before it was even a thing. For example:
He nailed it! On a practical and scientific level. One of the main pillars of sport psychology is self-talk. What we tell ourselves affects what we think, feel, and do down to a neurological level.
Research showed that words prime the brain for action or inaction (Radel, Sarrazin, Jehu, & Pelletier, 2013). A list of low motivation words was shown to decrease motivation and performance when heard by an athlete.
These words were:
On the contrary, a list of high-intensity words was shown to increase performance, they were:
These words were shown to increase an athlete’s motivation on the task at hand.
For athletes, motivating language primes the brain for performance. If the language heard in their own head is positive, motivational and action-oriented, there will be a long-term increase in motivation and performance. External verbal messages have the same effect. Make sure the language chosen around performance is high intensity and action oriented.
If you are an athlete, what are you telling yourself consistently. Does it help you or harm you? Would it fit better in the first list of the second?
For the coaches, same question about how you speak to your athletes.
For the parents, what is the language in the car and at the dinner table like? Which list would it fit into?
For everyone: What words come to mind for you to make a shift to high performance language? If you need help, use list 2 as a cheat sheet.
I am Dr J. I help folks get their “Mind Right” through my sport & performance psychology practice. I work face-to-face or through Zoom. I also offer comprehensive online sport psychology programs, one for athletes, and one for parents of athletes.
Check our my website getyourmindright.us, for more info, or email me at email@example.com