Speaking clearly … 10 years on: The case for an integrative perspective of self-talk in sport

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  • Alexander T. Latinjak
    University of Suffolk
  • Antonis Hatzigeorgiadis
    University of Thessaly
  • Nikos Comoutos
    University of Thessaly
  • James Hardy
Over a decade ago, Hardy (2006) published his literature review that contained a working definition that has shaped subsequent studies about self-talk, contributing to the noticeable expansion of this research area. The rapid development of the self-talk literature in sport since then has bred the need to rethink how self-talk is conceptualized. The purpose of the present article was twofold: (a) to review how conceptualizations of self-talk and the associated research perspectives have changed during the past decade and (b) to introduce a new integrative conceptualization of sport self-talk. We identify two main developments that alter our view of what self-talk is, reinforcing the need for a new conceptualization: The identification of two distinct self-talk entities (organic self-talk and strategic self-talk); and the distinctions between spontaneous and goal-directed self-talk, as these emerged within organic self-talk. Consequently, we propose a new integrative conceptualization of self-talk. We believe that for such a conceptualization to be sufficient so as to guide future research, several attributes of self-talk ought to be recognized: the necessary and sufficient attributes that define self-talk, and important descriptive attributes, including overtness, interpretation, origins, and functions, which facilitate the understanding and the study of the self-talk phenomena.


  • Athletes, Thoughts, Private Speech, Conceptualization, Cognitive processes
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-367
JournalSport, Exercise, and Performance Psychology
Issue number4
Early online date28 Feb 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2019

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