All sport psychologist use self-talk techniques. But they don’t say anything about the emotional tone of the self-talk. I am talking about the emotional tone of the inner voice.
There is the spoken voice and there is the inner voice in the hand.
The spoken voice has acoustic features that the human can recognize to identify the emotional state of the speaker. The inner voice has the same characteristics related to emotions.
I it is an important detail of the self-talk. If you inner voice sounds confident, you will be confident. Despite of the positive verbal content (words or sentences) in your inner voice, if your Inner voice sounds nervous, you will be nervous.
The inner voice can sounds confident, calm, motivated, happy, energizing and so on. But it can sounds sad, angry, depressed…
When you are copying with competitive stress, you can identify the bodily response associated to this emotional state. For example, a basketball player can feel a hand tremor triggered by free throws. But he (she) can use different positive emotional tones in his (her) inner voice. So the player can identify the most appropriate positive inner voice to reduce the tremor in his hands. So he (she) can improve his (her) free throws performance. It was my master degree research project.
That’s a great point you make about considering how self-talk is delivered rather than just considering the content. “It’s not what you say but the way that you say it” so to speak. Definitely something to be considered if working with an elite athlete to improve self-talk.
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