Mental Skill: Self-Talk (R.O.O.T. Statements)

One of the most important Mental Skills I help develop with athletes is Self-Talk. That’s the voice in our head that’s always talking. We can’t ignore, but we can control it. We can keep it positive, reassuring, and full of confidence. That’s a choice we can make! In order to weather the storm of fear and pressure during competition, I encourage athletes to have a script of positive and confident statements they can say to themselves to get their mind right (G.Y.M.R.)

I call these R.O.O.T. Statements. “Readying Our Optimistic Thoughts.” Think about a tree during a wind storm. They sway back and forth, and yes, same may fall, but most hold their ground! And that’s because of their ROOTS. Their roots are their core, their base, their stabilizer during tough times. The stronger the roots, the stronger the tree.

Just like the tree in the storm, R.O.O.T. statements can keep us confident, focused, and stable during competitions.


We want our statements to be short and sweet. Keep it simple. They can be mini pump-up speeches like “I got this!” “I’m the man!”

They can be calm and relaxing. “Smooth and easy.”

They can be present minded. “One pitch at a time.” “One shift at a time.” “One play at a time.” “One Point at a time.”

Whatever, you need to GET YOUR MIND RIGHT! Think about what works best for you and try to come up with 2-3 R.O.O.T. Statements to ready your optimistic thoughts for your next competition!

Ben Kaplan