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"I THINK I CAN"

WORKS FOR ATHLETES-MEN'S FITNESS MAY 1999

THE CONCEPT OF POSITIVE THINKING HAS BEEN SO THOROUGHLY CO-OPTED BY SELF-PROMOTING MOTIVATIONAL GURUS THAT NOBODY WOULD BLAME YOU FOR HAVING, WELL, LESS THAN POSITIVE THOUGHTS ABOUT ITS REAL WORLD APPLICATIONS, ESPECIALLY FOR SPORTS. BUT A NEW CANADIAN STUDY SUGGESTS THAT MENTAL SKILLS REALLY CAN IMPROVE PERFORMANCE: ATHLETES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF MANITOBA WERE LED THROUGH RELAXATION TECHNIQUES (INCLUDING PROGRESSIVE MUSCLE TRAINING, "CENTERING" WHILE STRETCHING BEFORE A COMPETITION, AND TENSION REDUCTION DURING COMPETITION); VISUALIZATION; SELF AFFIRMATION; AND BOTH DAILY AND LONG TERM GOAL SETTING. THE ATHLETES WHO RECEIVED THE TRAINING IMPROVED THEIR TIMES IN A 1,600 METER RUN; THE REMAINDER, WHO DIDN'T RECEIVE THE TRAINING, SHOWED NO SIGNIFICANT IMPROVEMENT.

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