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3.6 Personalised Self Talk Guide

Negative or Positive??

Let’s talk Negative, just for a minute. Did you report any negative self-talk in the previous exercise? If you did, it’s not unusual. Van Raalte, Brewer, et al reported in 1994 research that negative self-talk was reported twice as often as positive self-talk in junior tennis players.

How do you feel negative self talk impacts on your performance?  In 2006 Peters and Williams reported increased proportions of negative self-talk resulted in reduced performance for American-born darts players.  Although the evidence isn’t all completely clear cut, we feel that, on the whole, negative self-talk should be discouraged, so from now on we’re going to look at the types of self-talk and focus on positive.

Exercise: Watch the Prezi // Duration: 4 mins

You know what works for you.

Exercise: My Self Talk // Duration: 15 mins

Purpose: The purpose of this exercise is to identify self-talk examples to create your own personalised plan with ready-prepared statements  to help increase your focus, boost your confidence and increase your performance when climbing.


Part a:  Identify one self-talk statement from each category below. Write them down on a flash card to take with you to the climbing centre, if you think you’ll need a reminder. You can use examples you’ve already discovered or create new ones which fit with your goals.

  • 1. Task-specific statements relating to technique
  • 2. Encouragements and effort
  • 3. Mood words

Use your journal if you want to map out your ideas first, then go and use them in your climbing. If you want to share your experience of using self talk, do so in comments below.

Part b: Add this task to your ongoing action plan, to remind yourself to use this practice every time you go climbing.