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Posted 08 September 2004 - 04:42 PM

Dennis Hall was riding in a pickup truck one afternoon after a workout session with Tom Brands. Hall turned to Brands and said, "You know Tom, I think I must be crazy. Everyday I tell myself that I am a world champion." Tom Brands looked across the cab of the truck and said, "You only tell yourself that once a day? I tell myself at least 15 times a day that I am a world champion!" As a result of the hard physical training, tough competitions and by believing in themselves, Dennis Hall and Tom Brands reached the goal of being world champions in freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling.
Athletic Principle
Confidence plays an important part in what and how you do in athletics. If you are not confident in your abilities or your preparation you will have problems with your performance. To be the best at what you want to be, you must believe that you are the best! To be a champion, you must train like a champion, work like a champion, act as a champion and think like a champion. You must believe in your ability and use this belief to fuel your confidence.
How do you develop and keep this "best in the world" attitude? Today many sports psychologists suggest that elite athletes begin a program of affirmations. They say that positive self-statements are a powerful weapon that the athlete can use to combat the destructive self-beliefs and talk that they use in workouts and more specifically during competitions. Affirmations will short circuit negative self-talk.
Athletes can compile a series of "I am" statements that can help focus on their skills in different areas of competition. These statements are nothing more than simply reminders of what you can do.
"I am" Statement
You may think that making "I am" statements can would be a little embarrassing. By saying, "I am the best in the state," when actually, you have only qualified for the state competiton once may be hard to believe. But that is okay. Your brain will learn to believe and your body will follow.
Start with ideas that you can readily accept. Then, as you become comfortable with the concept start using statements that you think you are close to reaching. Most experts suggest that the athlete should make statements that are in the present. By saying "I am..." you tell yourself that you have already achieved this goal. If you tell yourself "I will be the best" it places the statement into the future and leaves room for doubt.
"I looked at my affirmations list every night before I go to bed. To be the best in the world you must think you are the best in the world, and I have taught myself to believe that. 'I am in the best shape. I am going to pummel his head. I am going to wear him down.' I know that, say that and believe that, and it becomes true." - Dennis Hall, 1995 Greco-Roman Wrestling World Champion Using Affirmations
Affirmations are statements that build self-confidence and allow you to believe in yourself. Below is a list of general affirmation statements. Read them, select the ones you would like to use, make up some of your own, then incorporated them into your training program. It may takes some time to get used to saying the affirmations, but you can train yourself to believe by repeating the statements over and over again.
You can also use these statements to identify areas that you need to work on. As you read your affirmations to yourself, mark the ones you feel are not true. Decide if they need to be true for you to be successful. If they need to be true, then examine your training plan and look for ways to improve in that area.
I am in better shape than anyone.
My endurance is unbelievable.
I am focused in competition.
I train harder that anyone.
I am going to set a personal best.
I am in the best shape of my life.
I am sure.
I have the best coaching.
I am getting plenty of rest.
I have great workouts.
I have put in more time.
I am ready.
My training is just right.
I am big. I have courage.
I work hard and am smart.
I have done this before.
I have a great offense.
I have a great defense.
I stay in good position.
I am in control.
I battle till the end.
I wear my opponents out.
I take advantage of mistakes.
I have a great strategy.
I am mentally tough.
I can break everyone mentally.
I am prepared.
I am going to win.
I feel better than ever.
I am confident.
I recover properly.
I am eating right.
I am unbeatable.
I have done the most work.
I have sacrificed the most.
I am strong.
I am fast.
I am the quickest.
I am determined.
I believe in myself.
I feel good.
No one can stop me.
I am totally ready.
My technique is sharp.
I can keep the pressure on.
I never get tired.
I know what to do.
I think clearly.
Write down some of these affirmations and some others that specifically relate to you and your sport. Read them aloud each day! God's Performance Principle
In Proverbs, King Solomon writes: "For as a man thinks within himself, so he is." (Proverbs 23:7) This is why our affirmations are so important. What we say, what we think has a direct bearing on who we are!
Too many athletes think negatively. They walk around saying, "I can't do this technique"..."I can't do that"..."I can't...I can't...I can't." And you know what? They won't either! Why? For as an athlete thinks within themselves, so they are! Wow! Do you see why affirmations are so important? A negative affirmation means failure. A positive affirmations means victory. That is why our words and thoughts are so important to our ultimate athletic success. For the Christian athlete, the number one affirmation in the Bible was written by the apostle Paul:
"I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13) Paul sums up all the affirmations in one sweeping statement. Begin reciting this verse every day. Memorize it. Speak it aloud. Let it soak in to every fiber of your body. It will make an immeasurable difference to your entire life when you believe it as true.
But let's not stop there. The world is filled with negative talk. All round us people are trying to tear us down, filling our heads with "can't," laughing at our dreams, telling us why we are foolish. Too often we listen to the wrong voices; voices of defeat, voices of failure, and to the father of lies, Satan. We need to tune in to the voice and words of God and listen to what he has to say. Make these verses affirmations of who you are as members of God's team.
"You dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world." (1 John 4:4) Affirmation: Greater is He that is within me than he that is in the world. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." (John 3:16) Affirmation: I believe that Jesus died for me and my sins, and I have eternal life. "A righteous man may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all." (Psalm 34:19) Affirmation: God delivers me from all my problems. "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze." (Isaiah 43:2) Affirmation: God is with me and protects me. "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose." (Romans 8:28) Affirmation: In every circumstance God is working in my behalf. "If you can?' said Jesus, 'Everything is possible for him who believes." (Mark 9:23) Affirmation: I believe in the power of faith through Jesus Christ.

"Fast Larry" Guninger
The Power Source Traveling Pool School. To see my web page come alive click here: www.fastlarrypool.comicon_smile.gificon_biggrin.gificon_surprised.gificon_surprised.gificon_razz.gif

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