Pre-Game Self Talk

As the NBA playoffs approach, I read an article quoting Brooklyn Nets guard, Caris LaVert, on the first round matchup against the Toronto Raptors:

If we move the ball well, if we play good defence, if we’re locked into the game plan, we can win that series. We truly believe that.

Historically, the american media doesn’t give the raptors the respect they deserve even after winning the championship. In this series, the raptors are the better team then the nets in nearly every category. So at first I thought that LaVert was a little delusional.

And then I remembered that this is how athletes think.

As another example, I read an article yesterday of boxing heavyweight champion Deontay Wilder boasting that he can knock out a prime Mike Tyson.

I also thought this was a bit delusional.

But what’s Wilder supposed to say?

There’s no way I can beat a prime Mike Tyson.”

What’s LaVert supposed to say?

I don’t think we’re going to win the series against the Raptors.”

I’ve never heard of a successful athlete speaking like that before. If they can’t visualize the win in their minds, then they already lost.

Yet, I hear this self-talk all the time at Waterloo, especially before an exam. Sometimes I’ll eavesdrop on a conversations before we’re about to enter the exam room. And I often hear others talk about how screwed they are, or how they’re going to fail the exam. Whether they’re joking or not, they’ve already lost.

August 11, 2020

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