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Four children encouraging running child by Quirky Kid

Sports Psychology Tips to Stop Negative Self-Talk

By Facilitators, Participate, Self-Talk No Comments

This post was initially posted on

When it comes to improving performance. building self-esteem, good sportsmanship, and camaraderie, one of the most important aspects of sports psychology is positive self-talk. Research suggests that positive self-talk is associated with better performance. In fact, the Australian Sports Commission has carried out research that demonstrates the detrimental impact negative self-talk has on performance and having a positive attitude when it comes to athletic endeavours improves performance.

Young people, in particular, can benefit from learning more about positive self-talk. Improvements in their inner dialogue can improve both their attitude and performance and can have a positive influence on their interactions outside the sporting sphere. Quirky Kid has developed a program designed at young people aged 10 to 16, called Power Up. 

A common presentation for our young athletes is an inner dialogue that is dominated with doubt and negativity. Common expressions we hear from our young athletes are

“I’ll never be able to do it!”,
“I am no good at it,”
“there is no point trying.”

This type of negative self-talk can prevent a young athlete from performing well and create a negative cycle of poor self-esteem and poor performance. If a child feels they can’t be successful at a task, they often accept, and even expect failure. Negativity can turn a child’s insecurities into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

The good news is that positive self-talk is a skill that children can learn and utilise with practice. By using positive self-talk, young athletes can build the confidence they require to accept new challenges, maintain a healthy self-esteem, and build on new skills, even when the task is personally challenging. The first task in helping children challenge and change their self-talk is to support them in recognising negative self-talk patterns and identifying unhelpful language such as “can’t” or “never” in their internal dialogue. Some children put themselves down by referring to themselves as “stupid” or by using other put-downs. Once a child has identified negative self-talk, they can be assisted in challenging and replacing those thoughts.

Like many habits, the process of replacing negative self-talk can take some time. Children need to learn to interrupt patterns of self-doubt with more realistic and helpful thinking. For example, a young soccer player who tells herself, “I’ll never score this goal,” can replace this thought with a more helpful and realistic thought such as  “I’ve made the goal many times during practice and I can do it again!”. Just saying happy things is not enough, children must believe the positive thought and thus the key is to replace negative thoughts with thoughts that reflect reality and that are helpful.

One way to practise positive thinking is through practising self-talk out loud each morning in front of the mirror. Write a daily affirmation on a Post-It note and stick it on the child’s mirror so they can start each day in a positive frame of mind. Ask them to say the affirmation out loud in the morning, and to remind themselves of it whenever they’re thinking negatively throughout the day.

Interrupting and replacing negative self-talk can be a challenging task for children who suffer from low self-esteem, but with practise, young athletes can learn to accept challenging situations without putting themselves down and can and learn to feel good about both their strengths and weaknesses.

If you’re interested in learning more about how sports psychology can help children develop their self-esteem and athletic skills, and be positive teammates, please contact us.

Support network:


Austin, M (2016). Listening to the voices in your head: identifying and adapting athletes’ self-talk. Volume 28 Number 4

Bunker, L, Williams, JM and Zinsser, N 1993, ‘Cognitive techniques for improving performance and self-confidence’, in JM Williams (ed.), Applied sport psychology: personal growth to peak performance, Mayfield, Mountain View, CA.

Carlson, R 1997, Don’t sweat the small stuff, Bantam, Milson’s Point, NSW.

Carlson, R 2005, Easier than you think, HarperCollins, New York, NY.

Hardy, L, Jones, G and Gould, D 1998, Understanding psychological preparation for sport: theory and practice of elite performers, John Wiley and Sons, West Sussex, UK.

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Power Up Online: what facilitators need to know.

By Facilitators No Comments

As you all probably know, we recently launched the online version of the Power Up! program. If you have note yet seen it, you can read the blog post at the Quirky Kid website. In this article however, we will explain the online version of the program to our facilitators.

What is the online version?

The online version is a rich multimedia addition to the workbook. This version is delivered via a website that is organised in sections just as the workbook and program content are. Each section includes  animated videos with instructions and key concepts of performance psychology explained.  The videos speaks directly with the participant and guides them to complete each section of the workbook.

Below you can see some screen shots of the tutorial videos:

Each time a participant purchases a workbook they also receive access to the online content via a username and password. This also includes the participants attending the workshops you offer privately. This makes the offer much more attractive. Access is for 6 months only.

One key aspect of this version is that it is constantly evolving as more content and animations are added regularly.

How do Facilitator access the online version?

Currently facilitators do not have access to the online content offered to participants.  This is soon to change and you will find a new option in the menu bar when you log it, called: Learn.

Only facilitators that have completed the training and accreditation will have access.

[Update] We have now included most of the videos and tutorials directly to the Lesson Plan sections for facilitators. There are still a couple missing and we are just finalising the edition process.

The material can be used to ‘polish off’ key concepts participants are expected to obtain, as well as during your workshops as a learning resource. We encourage you to use this as a complementary exercise to assist with generalisation between workshop or class sessions.

Can we offer this version to our clients?

The good news is yes. This version of the program can be offered without the need of a facilitator or a workshop.

It is an ‘off the shelf’ product. We are calling this sale model ‘affiliation’. An affiliate is a person that is not an accredited facilitator: eg can’t offer classes, workshops or courses’ but sells the online program. For each sale, Quirky Kid pays a commission of 20%.

Facilitators will also receive the status of an affiliate automatically. So you too can offer the online program as a product OR as the workshop. There are a range of ways to ensure we know you referred or sold the item (so you can claim your commission) and we will write a post just about that. The best way to start, however, is to use the marketing material we offer, display some items in your office and offer it in your office or on your website.

What is the benefits for us?

Some of the benefits are stated above like the 20% commission on sales. However we believe there are many more, like:

  • Increase credibility for the program;
  • Provision of reach learning resources that will support your brand and service
  • Added value for workshop sessions and offerings
  • Easy to access learning material for use during sessions
  • What are the other values you see?

How does this impact on the workshops we offer?

We think it makes them better. This is a win situation for us, for you as a facilitator and for the clients accessing the program. Our experience demonstrates that the online program is bringing more conversion for the workshops.

Getting Started as a Facilitator

By Facilitators No Comments

If you are reading this post it is very likely because you have made an important step to become a licensed Power Up! facilitator. This article will discuss useful information about getting started as a Facilitator.

First of all, thank you for joining us in this program. We are committed to ensure you receive a very high standard of support to enable you to offer outstanding workshops for participants around Australia and abroad.

The first steps

Just like any other program, there are important administrative steps to ensure the day-to-day of a Power Up! facilitator is easy, productive and stress free. The items below should all be completed by now:

  1. Initial registration and facilitator’s fee paid;
  2. You have provided us with documentation e.g cover letter, CV, working with children check, ABN and signed contract;
  3. You have a user name and password to access the program manual;
  4. You have access to your online folder on BOX;
  5. You have received your Letter of Acceptance;

If you have not completed or received any of the above please contact us.

Accreditation Process

The next step is to complete your training and accreditation. This step provides integrity to the program and ensures sessions will be offered consistently across facilitators. As you would expect, there is huge amount of trust placed on facilitators not to deviate from the program content. However, this does not mean that we are not keen to hear about your feedback on how to make sessions and lesson plans better. We will soon post another article providing information on how to provide feedback on the content (basically by making comments on the articles).

You should follow these steps towards your accreditation.

  1. Log in to the Power Up! Website.
  2. Navigate around the website to become familiar with the structure.
  3. Review the Terms and Conditions as this document explains your rights and obligations as a facilitator
  4. Review the presentation for the Educational and Developmental Conference about Power Up!
  5. Review the pages within the facilitator section
  6. Review the background Information 
  7. Review the Suggested Structures
  8. Review the Notes for Facilitators
  9. Review the Intro Video
  10. Review ALL lesson plans and sections within.
  11. Complete your supervision session.

These are an important 11 steps. Please ensure you take the time to go through each one. Soon after you complete step 10, please contact us to arrange a supervision session. The are two kinds of supervision session. One is a clinical session and the second is the business and administrative session. You are eligible for both supervisions free of charge.

Please note that you can’t offer Power Up! sessions until you complete all steps above.

Offering your first workshop

Soon after you complete your accreditation and training you are ready to offer your first session. The steps below will assist you in designing your first session.

  1. Decide on the workshop format. Class, Workshop our Course. See suggested structures for more information.
  2. Decide on a date and time
  3. Decide on the age group you would like to engage
  4. Decide on the venue
  5. Decide on your rate
  6. Order the workbooks
  7. Send us an email to with the summary above so we can advertise and register your workshop for you.

You may not be aware, but we can manage all the registration processes for you (payment, booking forms, confirmation and reminders). Our automated process will make your workshops really easy. Please make use of this resource as it is free of charge (excluding booking fees).

Remember we are here to help!