“I think I had about eight names for the one that went straight” – Shane Warne
Master the words you use and you get more results from your game. Your subconscious thinks in images and symbols, so you need to structure the language you use to create images in your mind about what good things you want to happen or what you desire. Pay particular attention to your thoughts and the words you use as twenty percent of them have strong emotional undertones, having either a positive or negative effect on you.
In her book, Every Word Has Power, Yvone Oswald tells us the overall impact of productive, high-energy words such as better, fine, good, great, healthy, welcome and wealth is that they resonate at a higher frequency and give you a better quality emotion than limiting, low-energy words like difficult, hard, nasty or problem. You can begin to realise how much more positively you speak when the high-energy words become more liberating.
Words you must be careful about using consist of the following:
But. Using but implies judgement. It also cancels out any sentence used before it. So, if you’re coach says, ‘You played well today, but you bowled too many no-balls,’ the coach need not have said anything. ‘You played well today and perhaps you can avoid no-balls’ is more encouraging. But is also often followed by an excuse for not doing something. ‘I wanted to train, but… ‘ If you replace but with and it gives a far better perspective.
Can’t. Don’t. Not. Your subconscious does not understand a negative. Don’t think about your team captain. What did you think? Did your captain come into your mind? Don’t think of an umpire with green hair. What happened? Your subconscious responds to the key words you give it, so has difficulty processing the negative. The subconscious mind has the maturity of a seven-year-old. Tell a seven year-old not to touch something and see what happens. Which is the better sentence: Don’t take your eye off the ball, or Keep your eye on the ball. The first sentence has you thinking about what you don’t want to be happening, while the second has you knowing what to do. For coaches, do your best to avoid telling a player what you don’t want.
Two more words to lose from your vocabulary are try and hope for the confusion they create in your subconscious. You either do, or you do not, do something. When you try or hope you are telling yourself it’s going to be difficult and setting yourself up for failure. Here’s why. If I ask you to try to pick up a bat lying at your feet and you do, you have failed! Why? Because I did not ask you to pick up the bat, I asked you to try. Have you ever felt uncertainty when someone asks you to try to do something? Now you know where the feeling of uncertainty comes from. Read these two sentences: I will try to improve my fielding. I will improve my fielding. Of the two sentences, the second resonates with the intention to improve and sounds more convincing. Put it like this, plants don’t try to grow, they grow. Birds don’t try to fly, they fly. Do you try to pay your club’s fees, or do you pay them? When you hope for something, your subconscious automatically puts it into the unreachable section of your mind.
How about changing why to how or because. Use when instead of if.
Should or must give people a feeling of guilt when they ‘should do’ or ‘must do’ but don’t. ‘I should/must concentrate when fielding.’ ‘I should/must practise leg spin.’ How does that make you feel in your body? Turn them into want so they become ‘I want to concentrate when fielding’; ‘I want to practise leg spin’. Is that want feeling different from should and must? Does it make you more determined? Does it give you a desire to achieve? ‘Want’ power can be as good as ‘will’ power. Whenever you realise you have made a negative statement, restate what you said as a positive statement by beginning the sentence with ‘in the past’. So ‘I’m always lbw against left-armers’ can now become ‘In the past I used to be lbw by left-armers’.
As I’m sure you now realise, there are never any problems when you reframe them as challenges or opportunities. You’re in the process of thinking with belief.