Body Language – Motivation By Mark Schwab

Body language in training and competition / Keep your head up

It’s estimated that up to 90% of language comes from the body. It has been proven that the way you use and move your body has an effect on the way you feel and consequently what you will or will not do. The movement of your body creates emotional responses within you on a biochemical level. You can feel strong and confident simply by using your body in a specific way. Get your head up and keep it up.

About Mark SchwabWe’re all familiar with the fact that the way we feel emotionally commands certain corresponding postures and patterns of breathing, facial expressions, etc. When your head’s up, you can actually create the corresponding emotion; the outward appearance affects the inward condition. You cannot overlook this powerful and controllable advantage.

Internal thoughts and feelings are expressed through body language. Having a physical presence during training and competition is crucial in being a tough-minded competitor. You have to look the part to play the part. Never allow your opponent to see you suffer or display negative emotion while performing; this is not effective behavior. Whether the body speaks in assertive or subservient language, it is speaking, and speaking is behaving.

To drop your head is to enlist in the army against yourself. Poor body language equals reduced performance. Get your head up! Don’t allow your head to be held down by the gravity of doubt; some call it “self image poverty.” Our image of ourselves is more important than our talents and abilities; our body language reflects this image. I’m not talking about walking around like a pimp or a punk. I’m talking about behaviors that facilitate confidence in you.

Affirmative body language is something you can practice daily in a variety of situations. Body speech is as important as any aspect of your training. Monitor your body words in training situations, situations where there is fatigue, adversity, and the likelyhood of frustration and defeated body language to appear. Have awareness of what kind of message you’re sending; body language indicates attitude and many times will dictate behavior. In tough situations, we will go to the behaviors and body language that makes up our practice room habits; we will go back to what we practice, so practice keeping your head up.

As a competitor, you cannot ignore constructive body language. Often times it will not go your way. The test will be how you respond to such circumstance. You can rise above it or sink below it. Your body language will indicate whether you are in the process of enriching or burying yourself. Ideally, your appearance does not vary during competition or training. Remember, consistent optimistic body language leads to unswerving performance.

Make a decision that you refuse to be fazed or rattled in competitive or training situations. Wall Street tumbles, no trouble! Cancerous cells discovered at your check up, yawn. World War 3 started, is storage wars on yet?

Regardless of what’s happening around you, the external does not penetrate. You are focused like Einstein. You see only what’s in front of you, nothing outside the lines, to the left or right. Your constitution will not be washed away with the rain. You know a win is never assured and a loss never absolute. Falling behind will not do you in, but falling apart will. Your body language is critical in all situations. You may ask,”What is effective body language?” In its simplest form, I would say staying the course until time runs out with your head up. You will never be misunderstood when your head’s up. Remember, were always speaking. Our body language makes more noise than our words; keep your head up!

The Guillotine will be featuring motivation by Mark Schwab throughout the season. Look for Mark’s advice every other Monday.

Mark Schwab is an assistant coach at the University of Northern Iowa. Schwab has a Masters Degree with an emphasis on Sport Psychology and is currently writing a book entitled “Opportunities to Succeed-Common Sense but Not Common Practice.” Schwab also gives a 40 minute presentation on opportunities to succeed. To know more you can email him at for details.

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