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TUESDAY TIP: Stop Negative Self Talk In Its Tracks

by Pickleball Superstore February 14, 2023

pickleball insights - tuesday tip for mental focus on the pickleball court

"Do not allow negative thoughts to enter your mind for they are the weeds that strange confidence." - Bruce Lee


Tuesday's Tip is two words to use when negative self-talk or judgment passes thru your mind. There are only two, so they will be easy to remember..., "STOP IT!"

I learned it from a funny Bob Newhart clip years ago, which I shared with my kids (and clients), and they have used it on and off the court.

During one tournament, my son wasn't playing the best game, and his coach pulled him aside and said, "Get over yourself and play!" My son knew exactly what he was talking about; he was taking the game personally and allowing his thoughts to promote self-judgment, which created an unstable foundation for competition. 

So as a thought would enter, he would silently say, "Stop It!" to put the brakes on the thought; then he would relax into the moment and say, "I got this!" He repeated this whenever an unhelpful thought came in, and very soon, he was back in a flow state. 

The above process is not to bypass feelings, and it's not encouraged to resist the thought; once you are aware, you are simply saying I see you, and I'm busy right now, so "no, thank you!" relax and replace. 

All too often, we tend to take the voice inside our head as fact, when in reality, the thoughts are not true most of the time. Left unchecked, self-judgment and the negative voice will follow you wherever you go. Think of them like a hitchhiker; you don't ever have to pick them up, and if you don't pick them up, they don't have a ride to become part of your life's story.

There are many practices to build your "observer muscle" off the court, which we will discuss in later Tuesday Tips. Over time, these skills become second nature, and the internal noise chatter becomes quieter and quieter. And this frees you from being strangled by the weeds of negative self-talk and judgment Bruce Lee was referring to in his quote. 

So why not practice tuning out these unreliable thoughts and let go of their hold on you? Just say, "STOP IT," Relax and Replace. And for fun, embody a little Gandalf from "The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring" and declare, "You shall not pass!” 



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Pickleball Superstore
Pickleball Superstore