You have probably caught yourself muttering some encouragement to yourself, perhaps when you were facing a particularly difficult physical challenge, or experiencing some sort of stress; “Come on, you can do this!” or “I know I can do this!” Sports psychologists have now found that speaking to yourself in the second person: “You need to dig deep!”, is actually more effective than speaking to yourself in the first person, “they need to dig deep!”
The sports psychologists
In a new study, sports psychology researchers at Bangor University found that participants told to use the second-person pronoun ‘you’ when encouraging themselves while cycling creat a superior power output than those told to use the first person pronoun. This was the first study to show that how athletes use self-talk makes a difference. The research could provide coaches and others with a new element to consider when developing effective self-talk interventions.
Self-talk enhances physical performance. Nothing is known however about the way that a subtle grammatical difference in self-talk; so using first or second person pronouns, may effect performance. As second person self-talk supports self-regulation in non-exercise populations; so they hypothesize that 10 km cycling time-trial performance would be superior following second versus first person self-talk.
James Hardy of the University’s School of Sport, Health and Exercise Sciences and one of the paper’s authors explain: “Sports psychologists have long known that self-talk can be useful for aiding enhance performance. However, nothing was know about the way that a subtle grammatical difference in self-talk, using first (“I can do this”) or second (“You can do this”) person pronouns; so it can effect performance; that is, until our recent research.”
The endurance tasks
“There are of course different types of tasks associate with sports; also much less is know about endurance tasks; which is why they apply this to cycling.” “Our findings from 16 active males indicate that second person self-talk generate significantly; so greater power output and faster time trial performance than first person self-talk. Interestingly, the participants did not report noticing any difference in ratings of perceive exertion. So they were able to do more work but didn’t notice any difference in workload.”
This is the first evidence that strategically using grammatical pronouns when implementing self-talk can influence physical performance providing practitioners with a new aspect to consider when developing interventions. This is the first evidence that strategically using grammatical pronouns when implementing self-talk can influence physical performance providing practitioners with a new aspect to consider when developing interventions. They discuss findings in the context of a self-distancing phenomenon induce by the use second person pronouns.