Baseball Magazine

Talk to Yourself but Don’t Listen

By Meachrm @BaseballBTYard

How many times have you heard that little voice in your head say things like “You suck!” or “How could you not throw a strike?” or “0 for 4… You’ll never be any good at this game.” or “How did you miss that pitch?”  

I don’t know about you but that inner demon inside my head never shut up.  If the voice inside your head never spoke like that then consider yourself lucky.  I’d be willing to bet, however, that many of your players or teammates have that demon too.

These are the times you need to be talking the most

Tame that demon with proper talking

Negative self-talk is one of the most soul-sucking parts of the human mind and is often by far our toughest opponent .  For baseball players, negative self-talk is often worse since the game is so mental and involves so much failure.  Those that can keep that voice under wraps have a huge advantage.  I wrote a post a while back explaining the easiest way I know to turn negative self talk around to make it positive.  Click HERE for that post.  

Another way is to stop listening to the demon voice and start talking instead.  The human brain is not good at multitasking.  It really can only focus on one thing at a time.  Try this if you don’t believe me (I do this in my AP Psychology class).  Look straight ahead and have two people on either side of you start talking constantly for one minute in both ears about something random.  What you will find is that you will only be able to pick up bits and pieces of each speaker because your brain shifts attention back and forth from one speaker to another. It cannot listen simultaneously to both at the same time.  It has to pick one at a time.

Knowing about this can provide a different strategy to combat our demon voice.   Start talking to yourself in a positive way.  When you talk, you force your brain to concentrate on what you are saying.  If it does, it cannot put any attention towards your inner demon voice.  If you do it out loud it is even more effective.

I’ve come to the conclusion that my inner demon voice will never go away.  What I do now is just talk above it using words I get to choose.  More positive words.  

In short … I talk to myself more so I can listen to myself less.  

You probably should to.

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