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Budding Squashletes
15 January 2014
story by Olivia Vivian: WAIS Gymnast, Olympian
When you’re a younger athlete climbing up the state team ranks, it’s a pretty special thing to attend your first Developing Champions foundations core workshop. You are there because you have promise, talent and a drive to be at the top level of your sport.
The selected squash athletes in this particular workshop were invited from all over WA; including up north, down south and the eastern hills. Taking this into consideration, I think it’s very important for the kids to know how special and exceptional they are.
Positive self-talk was one of the many points covered in this session but it stood out as a key message that was repeated in many segments.  Lead facilitator Jesse Phillips did an excellent job of constantly reminding these kids that without belief in themselves, they have already lost the match. The reason for positive self-talk is to build confidence, a skill every champion possesses in one-way or another.
Some comments were made regarding the fear of confidence being portrayed as cockiness, and like any kid their age, being liked by others is of high concern to them. Having gone through this period of life our-selves, Jesse and I completely understand this natural concern.
There is a fine line between confident and cocky and it’s a matter of understanding ways to have self confidence without coming across as arrogant and self absorbed.  Simple examples would be to highlight the things you are good at and like about yourself. You can do this in your head, in a journal or in front of a mirror. Cutting out any self-doubt and negative talk is also a good way to start building a more positive direction for you.
When someone pays you a compliment, don’t respond with thoughts or words that are contradicting that compliment or shutting it down. Take it on board, say thank you and pay them back with something positive. Everyone loves encouragement and hearing something nice about themselves.
With a positive and optimistic mind-frame, you will excel twice as fast and reach those goals that once seem unobtainable. Think like a champion, train like a champion and perform like a champion.
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