The Value of Affirmations

Updated: October 11, 2011

By Dennis Hall

What is an affirmation?  It Is an idea that you believe to be true.  I became aware of the power of affirmations through a good friend of mine, the late Beasey Hendrix.

Dennis Hall, a ten-time national champion in Greco-Roman, won a World championship in 1995 and also appeared in three Olympics.

Beasey was my mental skills coach throughout much of my career.  He made me a believer in affirmations when he asked me one question:  “Have you ever told a lie when you were a kid so many times that you started to believe it?”

My answer was yes to that question.

He then had me write down ten affirmations on the way I wanted to wrestle.  We had to rewrite some of them so there were no negatives in them.

Some of my affirmations were:

1. I will always make first contact.

2. I am the strongest wrestler in my weight class.

3. I am in the best shape of my life and will tire out all my opponents.

4.  I will create scrambles and win them.

5. I will get to my opponent’s body and score.

6. I will tire out my opponents in par terre and refuse to get turned.

Beasey wanted me to read these affirmations three times a day.  He said the more you read these the more you will believe them.  I would read my affirmations in the morning, before live wrestling practice, and right before I went to bed at night.

Within a month I felt a change in my overall confidence level and how I felt about practices.  My practices were used now to reaffirm my affirmations and it took my training to another level.  Practices became fun again, focusing on creating the style of wrestling that I wanted to achieve.  By working on my affirmations daily, my goals were within reach.  Within one year of reading my affirmations, I won my first Senior World medal.

I continue to pass on the value of affirmations to the athletes that I coach regularly.  When I was coaching at the U.S. Olympic Training Center at Northern Michigan, I had my athletes write out their own affirmations.  I would challenge them to make it a habit to read their affirmations daily.  I could tell which of my athletes read them based upon how they practiced and their motivation throughout practice.

As an athlete we train our body both physically and technically, but rarely train the most important part of our body, our mind.  A strong mind and body is a hard thing to beat.  Best of luck this season!

• Dennis Hall, 40, was the 1995 World champion in Greco-Roman wrestling and captured a silver medal in his second of three Olympics in 1996. The native of Plover, Wisc., also competed in the 1992 and 2004 Olympics.

Dennis Hall is a co-owner of World Wrestling Resource, an on-line resource offering coaches and athletes all kinds of technique and training help. Click their banner below for more information.