The Power of Positive Language

Posted on Jun 1, 2010 in Competitions, Practices, Technique

I’m fortunate to stay in touch with my high school wrestling coach who inspired me to pursue wrestling beyond high school and, ultimately, to become a coach myself. We met last week, as we do every once in a while, to catch up and the talk turned to wrestling – our history at Portland High, his coaching experience and mine. While talking about some of the things he learned as a coach he brought up the power of positive language and I realized he had hit on an important lesson in wrestling and life.

I’m a huge believer in positive thinking and taking a positive approach to reach any goal. Our conversation reminded me how something as simple as the way we talk can impact the way we think and perform. Here are some examples:

Instead of saying, “don’t wrestle with your head down” we should say, “wrestle from a good base position on bottom.” Instead of saying, “don’t shoot from far away” we should say, “get close and take a good shot.” Although it may seem like a subtle difference, we want our wrestlers focusing on the positive approach rather than the negative.

When you take that way of thinking to another level, you can see incredible results. When an athlete doesn’t even consider losing but focuses all of his or her energy on positive actions and outcomes, great things will happen.