Try it now….. think of a word that has more meaning to it than the word itself. For example you might say ….. “game” which really can mean…. re focus back on the field or playing surface and listen for sounds of the game and your opponents or teammates to stop the elements outside of the game from distracting you. These are cue words.
What are Cue Words
You might use cue words for skill execution. “quick” might be a word that you could use to remind yourself to get rid of the puck quickly if there is a defender checking you as you receive the puck from your teammate. A softball player might use the word “snap” to remind herself to snap her wist at the end of the throw to improve the velocity of the throw. A 10 year old soccer player might use the word “follow” to remember to follow through on their striking the ball at the net.
Most people are talking to themselves more than they might realize. So consciously talking to ourselves can be helpful in sport and can then even transfer over to our daily lives. How many times have you been in a tense situation at work or among friends. Using a cue word as simple as “breathe” can allow you to take a second and put things into perspective.
When to Use Cue Words
We use cue words sometimes without even knowing it. Making sure we remember to do something we will use a word like “keys” to tell ourselves to make sure we put them in the same spot all the time so that we always know where to retrieve them when we need them. We can do the same thing in sport.
Using a single word to remind us of a few things we want to remember in a skill will be helpful during a competitive or training situation when we are solidifying them during our season. They can also be used in assisting us with relaxation. We might use a word like “breath” to remind ourselves to relax our shoulders and take a big breath and let it out slowly to relax.
We might use a word to help when we are learning a new tactic in our sport to remind ourselves of what we have to do during the execution.