Much like Karin explained, it is important to recognize the importance of positive self-talk, as well as practice it on one’s self. Moreover, there are various ways to encourage that within one’s clients; you may find each way is very specific to each client.
One thing I do with some clients, is make sure to emphasize what they did correctly before I begin to critique them on what I would like to have them improve on. Often times, I found this to be very relevant to senior and youth populations. There are great articles and materials out there on the psychology of training various populations.
Sometimes, rephrasing and starting with praise isn’t enough. For the clients who get caught up, and often distracted, with self-criticism over movement or nutrition I will ask them about the root of their negative mentality. If a client shakes their head during a movement, I’ll stop them and ask them why. That may lead to something like “well, it didn’t feel right” or “I forgot to use my glutes.” Then I’ll make sure to praise them for having gained the body awareness to recognize that they “forgot to use [their] glutes”. I’ll have them start the set again and focus on what they already know needs to be done, or we will go through the steps of how to do the movement correctly and what about the movement makes it “feel right.” In summary, I try to get the client to realize that the ability to correct themselves is within them, and that THAT ability is inherently a positive thing!
Moreover, I agree with Karin that it is important to clarify to the client that the complexity of a movement is truly a compliment to the client and in their favor. In other words, if making the movement more challenging is what’s next, it’s because they’ve aced all else and they are essentially ready for progression! And we, as trainers, wouldn’t be doing our jobs if we didn’t program to progress the client.
Great idea on the blog!