Stop the Negative Thinking by Crushing the Ants.
A Common Term used to describe an athlete's constant negative thinking is an acronym called ANTS. ANTS stand for Automatic Negative Thoughts. In science we know that athletes who are very low in confidence often experience ANTS on a regular basis. Some examples athletes have given in the past during our early sessions are responses such as, "I just don't believe I can win, I am always telling myself that I don't have what it takes." "I get this automatic thought about missing that just comes up at the wrong times." First, athletes must recognize that these thoughts are real and often become wired deeply within the athlete's limbic system. In many cases, athletes first develop ANTS from a combination of at least one negative person in their environment along with a perfectionistic mindset that does not allow for mistakes at any level. Below I want to list a few tips on how to start overcoming ANTS and start taking back control of your thoughts in competition.
Remember that thoughts are just thoughts, NOT facts. Many times athletes go about their practices and competitions feeding into their ANTS as if they are telling the truth. Instead of believing the ANTS, make sure to challenge them and tell them that they are wrong!
Challenge the ANTS by writing them down in a journal and then writing down a positive response that will replace the ANT and explore the possibilities of that positive thought.
Surround yourself with positive people. ANTS have a tendency to thrive in the most negative environments and with negative people such as a negative coach, teammate, friends, and even a parent. Make sure to surround yourself with those who will help you expand your potential and not those who will try to limit it.
Overall, the more athletes go after ANTS, the faster they will be able to become more positive and start to increase their confidence. In the beginning, many ANTS may roam an athletes mind but the more time and effort an athlete dedicates to removing and replacing the ANTS, the faster they will start to disappear.
For a more in-depth understanding and more solutions to improving positive thinking and confidence in sports and in life schedule a complimentary meeting below.