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Can talking to yourself improve performance?

Self-talk in sport has been widely researched with somewhat conflicting results (Van Raalte et al., 1995; Perkos et al., 2002). The purpose of this study was to assess the effectiveness of three different self-talk interventions on endurance performance. Participants were nine cyclists who performed a 20-minute cycling ergometer workout two times per week for five weeks. At each workout participants were requested to cycle as far as possible. A multiple-baseline design was utilized, which after varying baseline lengths allowed for the implementation of one out of three self-talk interventions: self-regulated positive self-talk, assisted positive self-talk, and assisted negative self-talk. Results revealed a performance increase in all groups with the greatest increase being found in the assisted positive self-talk condition.

Source: “Assessing the Effectiveness of Self-Talk Interventions on Endurance Performance” from Journal of Applied Sport Psychology, Volume 19, Issue 2, 2007, Pages 226 – 239

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