PERFORMANCE YOGA – 12.8.14 (MASTER THE MENTAL SKILLS – Self-Talk: Feed the Good Wolf)

I’m was never a professional athlete.  I was never a collegiate athlete.  I’m the kid that worked his tail off and didn’t amount to much in the eyes of ESPN or FOX Sports or even the local paper.  I worked hard to support my teammates, to make my family and friends proud and for the simple love of competition.  At age 33, I still participate as much as I can.  This year saw me get back into USTA tennis and continue playing beer league hockey.  Sports will always be a part of my life and I love it :).

The mascots I’ve had over the years have been a Yellow Jacket, Red Raider, Camel (shout out to Campbell University in Buies Creek, NC), Panther, Bullpup, Old Hole, Ice Hole and an All-Star (my current school of Allen Jay Preparatory Academy).  I have yet to be a wolf.  Until I read the passage I included below, I never thought of such an analogy.  I never thought about the lasting effects of negative thought.

Scientific Proof That Negative Thoughts Harm Health

I’m here to remind or tell you for the first time … feed the good wolf.  Yoga has allowed me to focus on the Now.  And in the Now, there are so many opportunities to accentuate the positive aspects of life.  Within athletics and life, there are so many NEXT opportunities.  The next practice, the next game, the next failure, and the next success are always available in the Now.  Feed the good wolf.  Feed the positive thoughts in the moment and see what happens.  Let the other wolf starve and die.

MASTER THE MENTAL SKILLS – Self Talk: Feed the Good Wolf

There is an old Cherokee legend known as the tale of the two wolves.  A grandfather explains to his warrior grandson that there are two wolves within each of us:  One wolf is positive and beneficial, while the other wolf is negative and destructive.  These two wolves fight for control over us.  The grandson is curious and asks, “Which wolf will win?”  The grandfather replies, “The one you feed.”

If thoughts determine feelings, then feelings influence performance.  That being the solid-gold truth, learn to think more positively about yourself and your game.

FIRST.  Learning to identify your own negative and self-defeating thoughts.  Typical negative thoughts an athlete can have include “I suck at this,” “I’m not good enough,” or “I don’t belong on the team.”  We all have these thoughts at times, so take a moment right now and identify some common negative thoughts about your athletic capabilities that run through your mind while you are at practice or in a game.

SECOND.  Challenge these self-critical thoughts with encouraging statements.  Mentally beating on yourself does you no good.  Instead, gain clear control  of your thinking process.

Repeat these two winning steps to build mental muscle, improve your mood, and advance your athletic performance.

BOOK – “The Champion’s Mind:  How Great Athletes think, train and thrive.” by Jim Afremow  (BUY IT!)

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