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Wednesday, May 7, 2014

AFFIRMATIONS, FROM WITHIN AND WITHOUT, IMPORTANT FUEL FOR AN ATHLETE'S TANK

After listening to Kevin Durrant's MVP acceptance speech, it reaffirms my belief in the importance of teammates and the confidence they can instill in you.  It was ironic that I came across this quote this morning:

“It’s the repetition of affirmations that leads to
belief. And once that belief becomes a deep
conviction, things begin to happen.”
– Muhammad Ali

While at LSU, we had a young lady named Tillie Willis.  She was a great teammate that was actually a starter.  She was unselfish and did whatever the team needed her to do to win.  She was a starter for us in the post and if she had one fault, it was that she didn't believe in her gifts and skills as much as the rest of us.

I had been reading about the power of positive affirmations and gathered our team up individually and in small groups and told them over the next week or so, I wanted them to go out of their way to compliment Tillie and point out what she meant to our team.  While most of it was verbal, some wrote notes and left them in her locker or even in her shoes.  The result was her turning in a double-double effort.  When she was asked what had gotten into her, she responded "My teammates."

Of course even more important is personal affirmations -- self-talk.  What messages are you sending yourself?  What type of fuel are you putting into your own engine.

In his book, "The Champion's Mind," Jim Afremow talks about the importance and keys of personal affirmations:

·         Attitude is the key source for peak performance. Develop a list of power phrases or positive affirmations to ignite your inner champion. Make sure each statement is meaningful so it really speaks to you. Then write your statements down on index cards and read them for a mental boost as needed. The more often you repeat your power phrases with meaning and conviction, the more concrete they will become in your mind and allow you to manifest change in your life.

·         “As a single footstep will not make a path on the earth, so a single thought will not make a pathway in the mind. To make a deep physical path, we walk again and again. To make a deep mental path, we must think over and over the kind of thoughts we wish to dominate our lives,” wrote author and philosopher Henry David Thoreau.

·         Keep to the present tense in creating personal affirmations. For instance, say, “I am” rather than using the future tense, “I will become.” Why? Because we always live and perform in present time, not in the future. The subconscious mind does not recognize the future; it only understands the here and now. Here are some power phrases that you can repeat to help you perform at a champions level:

o   I think, feel, and perform as a champion.

o   The next play will be my best play.

o   I play with purpose and passion.

o   I quickly forget mistakes because all athletes make them.

o   I have the courage to face and overcome my fears.

o   I am the player who is the best prepared.

o   I will go through fire to accomplish my goals.

o   I strive to be my best in all conceivable ways.

o   I bring it every day.

o   I start strong and finish stronger.